Reflections on the Inaugural LATmetrics Conference

This November, the city of Niterói in Rio de Janeiro received the first edition of LATmetrics, an international conference dedicated to the advancement of altmetrics and open science research in Latin America. Bringing together researchers, science communicators, librarians, and other stakeholders, the event featured a diverse array of speakers on everything from social media metrics and open data to the impact of science in society.

ScholCommLab co-director Juan Pablo Alperin was on the scientific committee for the conference, and co-presented the closing keynote. Here’s what he had to say about this landmark event and the future of Latin American metrics research.

ScholCommLabbers Juan Pablo Alperin and Germana Barata enjoying the sun at LATmetrics 2018

LATmetrics’ website says we are experiencing “a moment of effervescence for both scientific communication and the geography of science”. What makes 2018 such an important time for a conference like this to take place?

There’s two parts to it. One is the growing number of researchers from Latin America who are interested in open science and metrics, and in particular, altmetrics. There’s an opportunity to create a new community around these folks—one that is not immediately tied to open science and altmetrics in the so-called “global” context, which is essentially based in North America and Europe.

But it’s also an opportunity to see what is unique about the region when it comes to these issues. LATmetrics was a first attempt to explore whether there are challenges or opportunities related to altmetrics or open science that are specific to Latin America and may not be coming up in other discussions, and whether there are ways of analyzing and thinking about those issues from within the region itself.

Juan Pablo Alperin presenting at LATmetrics 2018

You were on a closing ceremony panel about the “Impacts of Open Access in Latin America”. Can you share what you discussed?

There were two of us on the panel, Dr. Sarita Albagli and myself. Both of us, without having coordinated about it at all, gave slightly different perspectives on the same message: the need for Latin American independence when it comes to how we see open science and calculate scholarly metrics. I mostly addressed this from the metrics perspective, with the core message of my talk being that I don’t want Latin American metrics to become global metrics done by people from Latin America. I want them to be metrics that are purposefully trying to strengthen Latin American science. Dr. Albagli gave a similar talk around independence and the intellectual liberation of Latin America science, speaking from an open access and open science perspective.

“I don’t want Latin American metrics to become global metrics done by people from Latin America. I want them to be metrics that are purposefully trying to strengthen Latin American science.”

I think it’s telling that we both chose to close off the conference speaking about regional independence rather than giving a more research-oriented talk. There are a number of relevant projects we’re working on here at the lab that I could have highlighted, but I didn’t want to talk about data or results. I wanted to drive home a message: I really don’t want Latin American metrics to become a community that just replicates Northern metrics.

What sets Latin American metrics apart from other metrics communities?

There are still contentious debates about what metrics should use to assess research. If we adopt the Northern research evaluation culture, I don’t think it’s going to lead to better science. There is an opportunity to develop metrics that make the region more conscious of what it does have. For example, Latin America already has a scholarly owned and operated publishing infrastructure in place, while the rest of North America is still looking for one. Yet Latin America is selling its journals. We should be developing and encouraging the use of metrics that highlight this. I hope we can create a community that appreciates what will make Latin American science thrive, instead of metrics that see us give up the our science sovereignty.What was a highlight of the conference for you?

Rio is such a beautiful place, so we were surrounded by this amazing environment. But there was also this warm, social connection between folks at LATmetrics that I think is lacking at many of the conferences I go to in North America. It was a similar feeling I had with the Latin American group at OpenCon. While I’m friendly and have fun at conferences everywhere, there was a sense of community at this event that really drew people together.

"For me, at all these conferences, it’s never about the talks. It’s about the social connections you make."

For me, at all these conferences, it’s never about the talks. It’s about the social connections you make. By building communities of people who share similar concerns, these events create friendships and bonds that drive collaboration and idea sharing.

Friendly faces at LATmetrics 2018, including future Visiting Scholar Iara Vidal Pereira de Souza

Two other ScholCommLabbers were at the conference as well: former Visiting Scholar Germana Barata gave a talk on the social performance of medical journals, and future Visiting Scholar Iara Vidal de Souza presented work on the advantage of open access and Brazilian publications. Why are international relationships so important for the lab?

My upbringing in scholarly communications started within a Latin American context. But being based here in Canada, it’s so easy for me to tackle projects and problems that are “global” in scope—that is, largely focused on North America or Europe.

So when Germana joined the lab, it was an opportunity to put down one more anchor in Latin America. It’s important for me to maintain that connection, to keep in contact with people who are really on the ground, with the lived experience of being in Latin America that I lack.

Hosting Germana also paved the way for future collaborations with Brazil. Her stay allowed other Brazilian scholars to realize that working in a lab in Canada was an achievable thing. So when we put out our call for the visiting scholar program, we were excited to see we had seven or eight really strong proposals from Brazil. As soon as you forge these kinds of connections, you open up channels for collaborations.

What’s next for LATmetrics?

Next year, the organizers are hoping to repeat the conference again in Peru. I’m already looking forward to the next event. LATmetrics is at the intersection of all of the things that I do: open science, metrics, and Latin American issues. I’m curious to see where this community goes, and I think this conference was a great foundation.

To find out more about LATmetrics, visit latmetrics.com.


ASIS&T Delegates Visit the ScholCommLab Vancouver

ScholCommLab Welcomes Visitors from ASIS&T

ASIS&T Delegates Visit the ScholCommLab VancouverLast week, the ScholCommLab welcomed some smiling new faces to Vancouver. On Friday, Nov 9, attendees of ASIS&T’s 2018 Annual Meeting joined us from Dusseldorf, Detroit, Ottawa, and beyond for a quick lab tour, some dinner and conversation, and one very crowded, very happy selfie.

At the conference, speakers and attendees from around the globe met in Vancouver to discuss the latest advances in information science. Over the course of the four-day event, delegates heard presentations about new research findings, digital ethics, innovative methodologies, and more. The Annual Meeting was preceded by the well-known Workshop on Information and Scientometric Research (SIG/MET), which featured research by ScholCommLabbers Rodrigo Costas (Visiting Scholar), Juan Pablo Alperin, Fereshteh Didegah, and Stefanie Haustein.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for a fun and thought-provoking evening!

For more information about ASIS&T, visit asist.org.


Join Us for Open Science Beers YVR

The inaugural Open Science Beers YVR: dim lighting, bright smiles.

During this year's FORCE11 conference, the idea was born to recreate Montreal’s popular Open Science Beers event right here in our very own Vancouver. As of this November, that idea has become a reality.

Starting this fall, we’re bringing together friends of Open Science* once a month for a casual evening of drinks and conversation. Tell us about your new project, make a new connection, or simply sit and enjoy your beer/wine/nonalcoholic-beverage-of-choice with like-minded people in a friendly environment.

Of course, like the best Open Science, this event is free (well, other than your bar tab) and open to all.

Join us for the next Open Science Beers YVR on Thursday, December 13 at 6 PM at the LOCAL Gastown (3 Alexander Street). Find out more on Twitter (#OpenScienceBeersYVR), Facebook, or the ScholCommLab calendar

*and Open Data and Open Education and Open Humanities and Open Source and Open Access and ...


ScholCommLab to be a “Force” at FORCE2018

Taking place from Oct 11 to 12 in Montreal, QC, FORCE 2018 is a multi-disciplinary conference dedicated to creating a more open future for scholarly communications. This year, the conference will bring together a diverse mix of publishers, librarians, students, and policy makers—as well as several members of the ScholCommLab! Stefanie Haustein, Juan Pablo Alperin, Asura Enkhbayar, Tristan Lamonica, and lab collaborator Erin McKiernan will all be in attendance, and ScholCommLab research will be featured in a total of four talks throughout the event. 

“I am excited to have so many of us from the ScholCommLab present at the FORCE conference,” says Alperin, lab co-director. “That so many of our submissions were accepted for presentation is a sign that we are working on issues that are the community is interested in, and, hopefully, that they value.”

In anticipation of this exciting event, the team shares their thoughts on the upcoming conference and the changing nature of scholarly communication.

The theme of this year’s FORCE conference is engagement. What does “engagement” mean to you?

Juan Pablo Alperin

Alperin: This word has different meanings depending on the both the context and the time in which we use them. At this moment, I am completely absorbed in conversations about the need for scholarly communications to be managed from the academy itself. In this sense, I see engagement as the process of getting scholars themselves involved in the ownership and operations of scholarly communications, especially around the infrastructure.

Haustein: When I am thinking about engagement in the context of scholarly communication, I think about how academics or the general public interact with research objects, such as peer-reviewed journal articles. In that context, engagement can be any type of interaction: reading an article's title, downloading the PDF, posting its link on Facebook, citing it in the literature review of another publication, discussing its theory in a blog post or using its method in a new study.

Asura Enkhbayar

Enkbayar: Some people enter engagements while they're (still) in love, artists and speakers might look for engagements, and countries engage in war too. This word with many different meanings is similarly used ambiguously in science. Researchers engage with each other’s ideas in the writing process, are supposed to be engaging and have societal impact, and also engage with the public themselves. The common theme I am curious about is interaction.

Lamonica: Engagement to me means the fostering of the increasingly important aspect of collaborative research and discussion. It allows researchers to push the status quo by including perspectives and insights from multiple disciplines and areas of study. The more we collaborate, the better our research becomes.

Engagement means going outside the classroom, leaving the lab, to give something back to the community.

McKiernan: For me, engagement means going outside the classroom, leaving the lab, to give something back to the community. Engagement means reaching out beyond academic circles to the public who often finances our research and may benefit from it. And it means listening to the public, to hear what they're interested in and learn how you can help as a teacher and researcher.

How does this theme relate to your talk?

Alperin: I am going to be presenting about the consortium that we helped establish—the Substance Consortium—which brought together groups that share common goals and values: PKP, Erudit, SciELO and eLife. We are all building platforms for scholarly publishing and have a need for an open source online editor (like Google Docs, but open!) that is specific to scholarly works. We have trusted each other in the hopes that our work will build an engaged community that supports this project beyond what we can do ourselves.

Haustein: My talk at FORCE is entitled "Metrics Literacy: Educating Researchers and Research Support Staff Regarding Scholarly Metrics" and presents my new research project, for which I just received seed funding from the University of Ottawa. It relates to engagement in two ways: on the one hand, scholarly metrics are based on engagements, as I describe above. On the other hand, the aim of the Metrics Literacy project is to improve the ways in which people use bibliometric and altmetric indicators by increasing their understanding of how and what they do (and do not) measure.

Enkhbayar: In my talk, I draw a tentative image of a theory of scholarly communication inspired by Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophy of language. Wittgenstein's later philosophy is known for the emphasis of the social interactions of our very lives. According to him, the meaning of words is in their usage. Similarly, I want to discuss the idea of a meaning of citations (and science itself) which is rooted in our usage of them. I want to contrast this idea to the often cited theory of concept symbols introduced by H.G. Small in 1978.

McKiernan: I'll be presenting results of a study we conducted to analyze the content of university review, promotion, and tenure documents. We wanted to learn how the public dimensions of faculty work are incentivized and valued in evaluation processes. Unfortunately, we found that words related to public and community were associated with service—the least valued group of activities.

If you could change one thing about how scholarly information is communicated, shared, and used today, what would it be?

Alperin: Oh, so many things to change, it is impossible to pick one. Instead of shooting high, I will pick the most basic change that I believe we need: Every single piece of scholarship should be freely available to the public. Every piece, without exception. Moreover, authors should not have to pay to publish them (at least not directly). If you'll grant me a second thing to change, I would say that all scholarly communication should be managed and supported by the academic community.

Every single piece of scholarship should be freely available to the public. Every piece, without exception.

Stefanie Haustein

Haustein: Ideally, barriers to access scientific knowledge would be removed. This, of course, includes open access to the literature and removing paywalls to content, wherever possible. But I'd also like to see more transparency in academia in general. At the ScholCommLab, we value open science and try to be as open as possible. I am especially looking forward to participate in OpenCon in Toronto this fall to learn more about open education.

Enkhbayar: More interaction and linking! Citing someone shouldn’t mean that you're simply increasing the word count, but actually connecting to a paper, a passage in the text, and most importantly to the author(s).

In a dream world, what would scholarly communication look like?

Tristan Lamonica

Lamonica: In a dream world, scholarly communication would be accessible and integrated to a broader public outside of academia. Much of the research being produced is of public interest and incredibly important, but is never disseminated widely for people to consume outside of the usual social bubble.

McKiernan: I think we as academics have to place more importance on sharing and public engagement. In an ideal world, all the results of our research, teaching, and other academic activities would be publicly shared. However, they are many barriers to this, not least of which is the way we are evaluating faculty. We have to reward sharing and public engagement if we want it to be more prevalent.


FORCE2018 takes place from October 11 to 12 in Montreal, QC. For more information and a full list of presentations, visit www.force11.org/meetings/force2018.

Visiting Scholars at the ScholCommLab

The ScholCommLab is pleased to welcome three visiting scholars to Ottawa this fall: Kate Williams, Enrique Orduña Malea, and Rodrigo Costas. Each of these visitors will spend a short stay at the lab, working with the team on a research project of their choosing. The hope is that these partnerships will pave the way for future collaborations, and interesting research in the long term.

Visiting Scholar Kate Williams at the ScholCommLab with Stefanie Haustein and Tristan Lamonica 

“Collaborative research is always better,” says Stefanie Haustein, co-director of the ScholCommLab. “From my own experiences, I’ve learned that research stays are an ideal way to get new projects started.” That’s why we initiated the Visiting Scholar Program, which invites academics from all over the world to join the lab for a collaborative research stay.

“It’s easier to collaborate on a research project after an initial connection has been made,” Haustein explains, “but to really think about, discuss, and develop new ideas, it makes sense to work on things together in the same space.” Haustein says she was lucky enough to do a few research stays herself as a postdoc, which has instilled a strong belief in the power of collaborative research. “I’m still co-authoring and working with many of the people I met through these programs,” she says. “We’re hoping to achieve something similar through our Visiting Scholar Program.”

Kicking off the program, Kate Williams visited the lab from September 20 to 27. Currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Weatherhead Centre, Harvard University, Williams is also an Economic and Social Research Council Future Research Leaders Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge and a Research Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College Cambridge. During her time in Ottawa she kicked off a collaboration with the ScholCommLab about the structures and cultures of evaluation in policy research, and how altmetrics might be used to assess the societal, cultural, or economic “impact” of research.

Stefanie Haustein with Visiting Scholars Enrique Orduña Malea and Rodrigo Costas

Rodrigo Costas, a senior researcher at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University, will join the lab from Oct 5 to 16. Costas, who holds a PhD in Library and Information Science from the CSIC in Spain, leads the research line in ‘altmetrics’ at CWTS, where he focuses on developing new theoretical and analytical approaches to study the interactions between social media and science. Costas has been collaborating with members of the ScholCommLab for many years, and the team looks forward to continuing and strengthening that relationship this October.

Finally, Enrique Orduña Malea will complete a longer research stay from October 1 to 26. Malea is a Technical Telecommunication Engineer and an Assistant Professor at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) in the Department of Audiovisual Communication, Documentation and History of Art (DCADHA). His main research lines are focused on Web Scientometrics, the analysis of Science and its main agents through the Web.

The ScholCommLab is thrilled to welcome these three distinguished scholars to the lab this fall, and to continue the Visiting Scholar Program with several new faces in the new year.

To find out more about the Visiting Scholar Program, visit scholcommlab.ca/join-us/visiting-scholar-program.

 


Public Dimensions of Scholarship

Now Available: Results from the Review, Promotion, and Tenure Study

Public Dimensions of Scholarship

The review, promotion, and tenure (RPT) process is one of the cornerstones of academic life, influencing how and where faculty focus their attention, direct their research, and publish their work. In a recent study, the ScholCommLab analyzed this process from a new perspective—textual analysis of a representative sample of RPT guideline and policy documents—to understand the incentive structures that reinforce traditional publishing practices and the use of citation-based metrics at the expense of publicly oriented scholarship.

Our full results are available at Humanities Commons, and have also been profiled in Nature, Inside Higher Ed, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. But we're sharing some of the key findings right here on the ScholCommLab blog.

Key Takeaways from the RPT Study

  • 75% of research intensive institutions mention citation metrics
  • 90-95% of all institutions, across institution types and disciplines, mention traditional research outputs (e.g., articles, book chapters, conference presentations, etc.)
  • 75% of all institutions mention the term "public", but only 64% mention the concept of "public and/or community engagement"
  • Life sciences are more concerned with "Impact" and "Community Engagement" than the other disciplines; Physical sciences and Math are more concerned with citation metrics (Social Science and Humanities, which are the least)
  • The words surrounding mentions of "public" emphasize that working for the public is a service activity; words surrounding "community" emphasize that it is the academic community that is of primary concern

Overall, we conclude that while universities speak about their desire for public engagement in broad terms, they give faculty few specifics on how pursuing public scholarship, including publishing in open access journals will be recognized in their career progression. It seems that, "in order to be successful, faculty are mostly incentivized towards research activities that can be counted and assessed within established academic conventions."

For more information about the study, visit scholcommlab.ca/research/rpt-project or read up on the latest media coverage at scholcommlab.ca/media.


Q&A with Asura Enkhbayar: Looking Ahead to STI 2018

How do we measure the impact of research? And how can we learn to do it better?

From September 12 to 14, the ScholCommLab’s Asura Enkhbayar will attend STI 2018, an international bibliometrics and scientiometrics conference dedicated to answering these questions. Hosted by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University in collaboration with the European Network of Indicator Developers (ENID), the conference will cover a diverse array of topics from reproducibility in scientometrics to evaluation of open scholarship and everything in between.

Here, Enkhbayar tells us more about the conference, the research he’ll be presenting, and what he’s most looking forward to about visiting the beautiful city of Leiden.  

Tell me about STI. What’s the focus of the conference?

The STI is the biggest conference for scientiometricians and bibliometricians. We are attending especially because of the track dedicated to challenges of social media data for bibliometrics.

The theme of this year’s conference is “indicators in transition” and their role in driving more comprehensive, socially oriented forms of Science, Technology and Innovation evaluation. What, in your opinion, are some of the most important “indicators in transition” we’re seeing today?

That’s a big question! Well, I guess it’s the big question that everyone’s trying to answer at the moment. There’s a large demand for—I’ll just put it this way—better indicators, because people are spotting problems with the current status quo.

Some years ago, the big focus in this field was altmetrics, which is supposedly a better indicator of social impact. But, now, with all the big developments in social media and digital communication, people are critically investigating the nature of many new indicators. It’s an ongoing development, and I feel like there’s a new critical perspective coming into play, which is being emphasized more and more in research. I think that’s a great thing.

So I have no concrete answer for you, just support for the questions around new indicators that researchers are starting to ask.

You’ll be presenting some work you did with the ScholCommLab about Facebook metrics. Can you tell me, briefly, what it was about and how it fits with STI?

It was an obvious choice to submit our paper to the STI this year. The conference, and its focus on technical challenges, is a perfect fit for the research I’ve been doing with Juan Pablo Alperin at the lab. In our study, we looked at Facebook as a data source for scientometrics. We wanted to figure out, in the beginning, how different approaches for collecting engagement data would influence the results of various the collected metrics. But in the process of doing this research, we uncovered a number of technical challenges within altmetrics that make this kind of work difficult. We realized that a very big chunk of the work we had to do was about fundamental technicalities that needed to be figured out in order to get to reliable data. We ended up investigating some of those challenges instead.

So what was supposed to be a quick project turned out to be months of work on technical details related to the general structure of the web and scientific publishing, but also to Facebook’s internal algorithms, which are still a black box for us.

"What was supposed to be a quick project turned out to be months of work on technical details related to the general structure of the web and scientific publishing, but also to Facebook’s internal algorithms, which are still a black box for us."

So Facebook data could have the potential to be a really good indicator, but all of these technical issues are getting in the way?

In this particular approach, yes. As always, it depends on many things, but it’s important to figure out these details before using any new indicator. This is still a work in progress, but we are trying to answer the question: How much do these technicalities affect the outcomes? I think it’s a very essential question to address, if one uses Facebook as a data source.

So the next step in your research will be to investigate and understand whether, or to what degree, these technical difficulties affect the outcomes of research that relies on Facebook data?

Exactly. We have now finished the first part of the project, and we’re finally starting to look into the questions that we were initially hoping to answer. We’ve been sidetracked for a long time—well, more than sidetracked, because the challenges that came up were really important—but I’m looking forward to taking this research further.

What are you most excited about seeing or doing at the conference?

I’m really looking forward to some of the presentations about the exact same topic we’ve been investigating, to figure out what other people are doing to overcome these challenges. Because I think these are questions that have been surfacing for many researchers recently.

But obviously, the conference is bigger and broader than that. I recently attended the CWTS summer school on scientometrics, so I’ve had my first overview and introduction to the field. Now that I have this formal education to build off of, I’m really looking forward to learning more about some of the research that’s being done in this area: seeing the projects and the people doing the work, and really getting a sense of what’s going on in the field.  

Let’s end with one fun question: is there anything you’re really looking forward to doing in the lovely city of Leiden?

I guess what I want to do is go on a proper pub crawl: finding a few bars, trying a few beers. The first time I was there, I didn’t know the city, I didn’t know the people. But now that I’ve already been there once, I feel like I’m familiar with the basics of the city. This time, it will be different. This time I’m ready.

For more information about the conference, visit sti2018.cwts.nl. Read more about Enkhbayar’s research at arXiv.org.


President's Dream Colloquium on Making Knowledge Public

How is public policy shaped by research? How is the public already actively involved in science? How is research and scholarship taken up by the public?

In today’s climate, it is more important than ever for universities and researchers to assert themselves in the public sphere in more purposeful ways. The President's Dream Colloquium on Making Knowledge Public is part of that effort. 

A collaboration between SFU Graduate Studies, the Publishing Program, Public Knowledge Project, and the ScholCommLab, this colloquium seeks to create a conversation between the SFU community and the citizens of Metro Vancouver on the value of university-based research. Through public lectures, readings, and discussions, it will offer a broad overview of the ways in which research makes its way into society, providing a unique opportunity to gain exposure to a cross-disciplinary network of academics, citizen scholars and government officials.

Confirmed Speakers

Most lectures will take place at SFU's Burnaby campus, a couple of lectures taking place at SFU Vancouver. There will be a reception and networking session following each talk.

  • Jevin West, Co-creator of Calling Bullshit Course, University of Washington, Calling Bullshit on Fake News.
    Thursday, September 13, 5:30–7 pm, reception to follow, SFU Vancouver.
  • Mario Pinto, President of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Knowledge Sharing and Social Responsibility.
    October 1, 5:30–7 pm, reception to follow, SFU Burnaby.
  • John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, Collaborating with Indigenous Communities in Research.
    Wednesday, October 10, 5:30–7 pm, reception to follow, SFU Burnaby.
  • Shannon Dosemagen, Executive Director of the Public Lab, Citizen Science.
    Thursday, October 25, 5:30–7 pm, reception to follow, SFU Burnaby.
  • Hebe Vessuri, social anthropologist, Global Participation in Knowledge Production.
    Thursday, November 8, 5:30–7 pm, reception to follow, SFU Burnaby.
  • Robin DeRosa, Professor and Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at Plymouth State University, The Future of Public Mission of Universities.
    Thursday, November 22, 5:30–7 pm, reception to follow, SFU Burnaby.

Making Knowledge Public is both a public speaker series with leading thinkers and a graduate seminar course open to students from the across the university. For more information, or to register, visit the SFU website.  


Highlights from the Brazilian Meeting on Bibliometrics and Scientometrics

This July, ScholCommLab’s Stefanie Haustein attended the sixth ever Brazilian Meeting on Bibliometrics and Scientometrics in Rio de Janeiro. In this short Q&A, she shares highlights from the event, including a keynote presentation about her work on Twitter and scholarly communication, connections with researchers from around the world, and a healthy dose of delicious Brazilian cocktails.

Tell me about the Brazilian Meeting on Bibliometrics and Scientometrics. What’s the conference about? Who attends?

The EBBC is a biannual national conference, where researchers and students from all over Brazil meet to present and discuss their findings on bibliometric and altmetrics research. This year was the sixth time EBBC took place, and it returned to Rio de Janeiro, where the inaugural conference was held in 2008. The conference language is Portuguese with guest speakers presenting in English. I was quite impressed by the number of presentations and the size of the Brazilian scholarly metrics community.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Science in Network.” In your view, how do networks affect or enable the way research is done?

Networks are essential to do research. We’ve come a long way from the lone scholar and most research now is carried out by groups of scholars, which often involve national and international partners. I personally think that any analysis or publication gets better when it is done in collaboration, particularly if collaborators come from different backgrounds and are equipped with different skill sets.

You gave one of the keynote speech at the conference. Can you tell me, briefly, what it was about? Did your work at the ScholCommLab inform your talk?  

Data cleaning with a view: roof top at the hotel with a view on the Copacabana beach

EBBC invited three international speakers. Cassidy Sugimoto opened the workshop on Tuesday with a talk on science in a global society. Cameron Neylon and I presented on Wednesday. My talk was entitled How, when and what does the Twittersphere tweet about science? and summarized findings from my work on scholarly Twitter metrics. It was based on this book chapter (which I also blogged about here) and provided data on tweets linking to scientific articles published by Brazilian authors. Having cleaned geographical data for all tweets from Brazil (with a view of Copacabana), I could show that the majority of tweets came from the South and Southeast of Brazil, where most large cities are located. For the first time I also analyzed emojis used in those tweets. Juan Alperin helped me to extract those from the tweet text using an emoji Python library. At less than 1%, only a small share of tweets contained emojis, but it was nevertheless interesting to explore differences between countries.

What was the highlight of the conference for you?

The whole week was a highlight so it is hard for me to pick one. Since I do not speak Portuguese I probably missed a lot of interesting talks by local presenters, but I had really interesting discussions over coffee during breaks and over caipirinhas during a social event in a salsa bar. I particularly enjoyed meeting people in person who I had previously been connected to on Twitter, sometimes for years. I also managed to take a day off to go snorkeling in Búzios.

What did you take away from the event?

I made a number of new connections at EBBC6, which will hopefully lead to new collaborations and might even bring new visiting scholars to the ScholCommLab. After Germana Barata left SFU last month, it would be great to have another scholar from Brazil come work with us!

I also came home from Rio with a concrete plan to publish the results from the Brazilian Twitter analysis together with Iara Vidal and Fábio Castro Gouveia on the Scielo blog. I am pretty excited about the potential audience, as the blog publishes all posts in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

For more information about the conference, visit ebbc.inf.br.


Summer at the ScholCommLab

Last week, the ScholCommLab was thrilled to welcome Stefanie Haustein to Vancouver. Haustein joined the lab from her home in Ottawa for a brief visit, packed with soccer matches, birthday pie, a lab party—and just a little bit of research too. It was incredible to have so many members of the lab together in the same place. 

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The visit was bittersweet, full of both congratulations and goodbyes. Together, we celebrated Haustein's birthday and Fereshteh Didegah's exciting new position at UBC's iSchool, but we also bid adieu to visiting scholar Germana Barata, who will be returning to her home in Brazil in July. We wish Barata all the best, and hope to see her again soon!