Social Media, Collaboration, and Scientific Organizations

Murthy, Dhiraj and Lewis, Jeremiah P.. 2014. Social Media, Collaboration, and Scientific Organizations. American Behavioral Scientist, ISSN 0002-7642 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The use of social media by collaborative organizations has been studied in a variety of contexts, including virtual teams, enterprise organizations, and social movements. However, social media are not often examined within the context of scientific organizations. This article explores how an organization of 122 life scientists and science-related professionals—anonymized as Science City Network (SciCity)—combine monthly symposia with social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. Using an online survey, we found that younger SciCity members are more interested in using social media to support a collaborative community, whereas older members are more interested in social applications. Social media use was not found to significantly differ by gender. Using social network analysis, we found that the SciCity Twitter network hubs of information who keep the network alive, but the hierarchical structure of the network reveals that it is better suited for information dissemination than innovation and collaboration. Our examination of this scientific organization ultimately offers insight into how a coalition of multiple social media technologies is used differentially by organizational members and that there is ultimately no general consensus of the utility of social media to scientific collaboration. This finding tempers some claims of the utility of social media for collaboration.

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collaboration; social media; virtual organizations; scientific organizations; meetups; virtual science

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4 July 2014Published

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Date Deposited:

20 Jun 2014 14:47

Last Modified:

26 Aug 2014 14:20

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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