Plo-Alastrué, Ramón, and Herrando-Rodrigo, Isabel: “Disseminating academic knowledge through digital interactive genres: Are Spanish scholars meeting this social challenge?”
Researchers are nowadays encouraged to meet certain social challenges, posed for instance by H2020, in order to increase their reputation, visibility and, eventually, funding. To be internationally competitive, calls favour research projects that disseminate and transfer knowledge to society. In other words, academics should make sure their findings are transferred, communicated and disseminated not only among their colleagues and scholars from related disciplines, but also among lay readers since researchers are expected to boost citizens’ concern about science (https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020- section/societal-challenges).
This paper takes an ethnographic approach to the use of new digital interactive genres and social networks – such as Twitter and Facebook- made by two European research project webs. The exploration of two case studies, one from the Social Sciences and the other from hard science disciplines, may cast light onto how scholars are transferring reliable knowledge and promoting their own visibility and the visibility of their projects and findings. Ethnographic data will be obtained from face-to-face interviews and observations so as to find out who produces and administers the content of this set of interactive digital genres (Crowston & Williams, 2000; Tardy, 2003; Giltrow & Stein, 2009) and the scholars’ objective for Twitter or Facebook use (Ciprut et al., 2017; Herrando-Rodrigo, 2017). Then, a detailed content analysis will be performed to characterize the shared content together with the number of followers, tweets, etc.
In line with previous research (Ciprut et al., 2017), this study indicates that there is a correlation between Twitter and Facebook activity and reputation scores. Although data validation and further research is planned, it could be suggested that these digital interactive genres provide a convenient mechanism for scholars all around the world to communicate about shared topics of interest. Thus, the engagement provided by digital interactive genres and social media enhances visibility and reputation, successful knowledge reception, and overall, effective communication.