Use of twitter by academics

This post is jointly authored by Don Taylor and Austin Frakt.

The LSE Impact blog has an interesting post on the increasing use of twitter by academics. They find that around 1 in 40 academics use twitter, with 30% of their tweets being related to their scholarship. We at TIE love twitter and the ability to both speak and listen via this important tool. However, the post goes a bit overboard here:

We might do away with journals entirely. The Web can disseminate and archive products for almost nothing. The slow, back-room machinations of closed peer review could be replaced by an open, accountable, distributed system that simply listens in to expert communities’ natural reactions to new work – the same way Google efficiently ranks the Web by listening in to the crowdsourced ‘review’ of the hyperlink network.

We absolutely need the slow, peer review system as the foundation of thoughtful, careful scholarship. Twitter and other social media are important additions that can give scholarly content “reach” and “relevancy”. However, it’s a both/and, not an either/or proposition. Traditional peer review journals should remain the bedrock of the research evidence that can be brought to bear on health policy.

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