Daniel Pascual presented at the 39th AESLA (Asociación Española de Lingüística Aplicada) conference that was held in the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) from 27th to 29th April. His paper, titled “The self-branding of international research projects in Twitter: Pragmatic strategies to promote research groups’ investigation and identity” examined the way international research groups employ different pragmatic strategies in their Twitter accounts to promote their projects. For this, Pascual designed a data-driven taxonomy of promotional pragmatic strategies researched in the EUROPROtweets digital corpus. Pascual’s study helps us understand the strategies used by international research groups to acquire visibility in Twitter.
The full abstract of Daniel Pascual’s talk can be consulted as follows:
The self-branding of international research projects in Twitter: Pragmatic strategies to promote research groups’ investigation and identity
A paradigm change in research practices has been triggered by the rapid growth of digital genres and media, resulting in academics and professionals needing to take new roles and challenges. A patent transition is taking place from a one-way and top-down model of scientific communication to a model where public engagement and dialogicity are fundamental (Smith, 2015). Such a model seeks to foster excellent science and innovation, and requires effective and planned communication and dissemination to bring research outcomes to the attention of (non)specialised audiences, policymakers and potential business partners (The European IPR Helpdesk, 2018). Analysing digital scientific writing practices discursively, linguistically and pragmatically helps understand “how scientific discourse is taking shape in a context of civil science, where policies are increasingly undertaken to make science accessible to the public” (Lorés, 2020: 8). International research groups endorse this tendency towards Open Research and knowledge dissemination and find in social media, particularly microblogging platforms like Twitter, fruitful venues where to share pertinent information and periodical updates about their projects, and recontextualise information from their project websites. Hence, Twitter is an interactional online forum used to build and maintain professional networks and advertise researchers’ investigations, publications and events (Mahrt, Weller and Peters, 2014). It is a site where research groups can make their communicative intentions visible and accessible to a diversified audience.
This paper analyses the promotional pragmatic strategies employed by international research groups in the Twitter accounts of their research projects. The spectrum, frequency and usage of promotional strategies is researched in the EUROPROtweets digital corpus (Pascual, Mur-Dueñas and Lorés, 2020), containing 20 Twitter accounts created by Horizon2020 research projects. A data-driven taxonomy of context-situated pragmatic strategies was designed to depict the intentions of international research projects when disseminating scientific knowledge and research outcomes in web-mediated and social media settings. Three overriding pragmatic foci of strategies were identified (informative, promotional and interactional), and the present study looks into the promotional ones. Corpus codification and analysis was carried via the CAQDA software NVivo12. An intra-reliability test was performed to ensure the validity and rigor of results.
Promotional pragmatic strategies salient in research project Twitter accounts include “Spreading a piece of output”, “Accounting for project productivity” and “Highlighting members’ contribution to the project”. Other promotional strategies are actually realised by the affordances of this social medium (e.g. “Acknowledging external praise or self-praising” through retweets). Strategies with a lesser frequency show, though, a clearly purposeful deployment to maximise the project impact (e.g. “Hyping data and accomplishments”). Implications from the pragmatic analysis are drawn as for the self-branding purposes of research projects in Twitter communication and in connection with knowledge dissemination and identity construction, to further understand research groups’ intentions and digital scientific practices. The results of this study will allow us to gain insights into how international research groups achieve their main aims of promoting and giving visibility to their research projects in Twitter by identifying their strategic pragmatic intents and exploring how they operate in combination to achieve those aims.
Twitter, international research projects, promotional pragmatic strategies, self-branding, digital identity and visibility
Lorés, R. 2020. Science on the web: The exploration of European research websites of energy-related projects as digital genres for the promotion of values. Discourse, Context & Media 35, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcm.2020.100389
Mahrt, M., Weller, K. and Peters, I. 2014. Twitter in scholarly communication. In Katrin Weller, Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, Merja Mahrt, and Cornelius Puschmann (eds.) Twitter and Society. New York: Peter Lang, 399-410. https://doi.org/10.3726/978-1-4539-1170-9
Pascual, D., Mur-Dueñas, P. and Lorés, R. 2020. Looking into international research groups’ digital discursive practices: Criteria and methodological steps in the compilation of the EUROPRO digital corpus. Research in Corpus Linguistics 8 (2), 87-102. https://doi.org/10.32714/ricl.08.02.05
Smith, A. 2015. “Wow, I didn’t know that before; thank you”: How scientists use Twitter for public engagement. Journal of Promotional Communications 3 (3), 320-339.
The European IPR Helpdesk. 2018. Making the Most of Your H2020 Project. Accesed from: https://www.ecsel.eu/sites/default/files/2018-10/EU-IPR-Brochure-Boosting-Impact-C-D-E_0-1.pdf