UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Archive for November, 2012

Announcing IWMW 2013

Posted by Brian Kelly on 28 November 2012

I’m pleased to announce that next year’s Institutional Web Management Workshop, IWMW 2013, will be held at the University of Bath on 26-28 June 2013.

The Roman Baths. From Wikipedia:

The annual IWMW event has taken place in Bath previously: IWMW 2000 and IWMW 2006. We know that participants welcome the opportunity to visit our beautiful city, which has been a World Heritage Site since 1987. The combination of Georgian architecture and Roman remains make Bath a city well-worth revisiting. We have already booked the Roman Baths for the IWMW 2013 reception which promises to provide a memorable occasion for all participants.

The theme of IWMW 2013 is “What next?“. This will provide participants with an opportunity to consider the challenges facing the higher education sector in light of the economic downturn, and also the opportunities provided by the continuing technical developments we see in our online networked environment. The final session at the event will provide an opportunity to reflect on the challenges which lie ahead and strategies for addressing those challenges.

The call for submissions is now open. We welcome proposals for plenary talks, workshop sessions and other ideas you may have (for example, it might be timely to revisit the debates which took place in 2002, 2003 and 2006).

If you are unfamiliar with the IWMW event and the format, it would be useful to visit the IWMW 2012 Web site to see the timetable and view the abstracts for the plenary talks and workshop sessions.

If you would like to discuss ideas for a proposal, feel free to contact me, the IWMW 2013 chair. In addition I would welcome the opportunity to make contact with potential sponsors for the event.

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Posted in Events | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Disappearing Conference Web Sites: Learning From the EUNIS Experience

Posted by Brian Kelly on 27 November 2012

EUNIS Conference Resources

Back in June 2005 I presented peer-reviewed papers on Let’s Free IT Support Materials!, IT Services – Help Or Hindrance To National IT Development Programmes? and Using Networked Technologies to Support Conferences. I also, I’ve just noticed, facilitated a half-day workshop session on Supporting Technology-Facilitated Learning In The Conference Environment – this was, I think, the first time I gave a workshop on what subsequently became better known as ‘amplified events’.

But what of the context of this work? The papers were presented at the EUNIS 2005 conference, with the workshop being one of several pre-conference sessions. The conference was held at the EUNIS 2005 conference at the University of Manchester on 20-25 June 2005. But recently I noticed that the conference Web site, which was hosted at, was no longer available.

Does this matter? The conference, which is organised annually by the European University Information Systems Organization, took place over 7 years ago. Might it not be argued that the sharing of best practices and innovation across IT support services departments across Europe does not need a record of best practices dating back to the mid 1990s?

EUNIS does provide information about its previous conferences, as illustrated. This shows that conferences were held in Düsseldorf in 1995 and Manchester in 1996. However the EUNIS 1997 conference, held in Grenoble, is the oldest EUNIS event for which Web resources are still available.

From the list of papers presented at EUNIS 1997 (which is hosted on the main EUNIS Web site) I discovered a paper on Information Services – the Convergence Agenda by M Clark, IT Services Director at the University of Salford, about mergers at Salford University.

The other papers with authors from UK institutions were Preservation of the Electronic Assets of a University by Alex Reid, University of Oxford; “Applying Risk Analysis Methods to University Systems” by W R Chisnall, University of Manchester; Managing Information for Management by John Townsend, Edge Hill University College and Information Strategy – a Tool for Institutional Change by Andrew Rothery, Worcester College of Higher Education and Ann Hughes, University of Nottingham.

Ironically all of these papers have some relevance to the disappearance of the EUNIS 2005 Web site. The conference took place shortly after a merger of the University of Manchester and UMIST, which led to the integration of the IT Service departments from both of these institutions, with subsequent changes in staffing, departmental names and responsibilities. It seems that Manchester Computing no longer exists, with the URL now being redirected to Research Computing at

It would appear that there is still a need for the sector to be able to develop strategic responses and use of risk analysis methods to held ensure the preservation of digital resources arising from mergers. It would seem that all of the papers from the EUNIS 1997 conference still have some relevance!

Preserving Conference Resources

If, as had been suggested, old conference Web sites have value, how should one respond to the disappearance of sites such as the EUNIS 2005 Web site?

For me the first port of call is the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. It seems that the EUNIS 2005 Web site has been crawled 52 times, going all the way back to November 19, 2004.

The earliest archive contains a record of the call for papers and therefore does not contain any of the papers. It is therefore the latest archive, which was carried out on 5 May 2008, which should be of the most relevance. However in order to ensure that this archive contained relevant information I ensured that it contained a copy of the final programme. As illustrated, the final programme is available in the archive, but I noticed that this page had been archived on 8 October 2007; there had been 14 captures of this paper between 3 March 2006 and 8 October 2007.

I also found that my papers on Using Networked Technologies To Support ConferencesLet’s Free IT Support Materials! and IT Services – Help Or Hindrance To National IT Development Programmes? were also available in the archive. It was interesting to note that the archive included the PDF versions of the papers as well as the HTML resources for the conference Web site.

The Internet Archive appears to have been successful in keeping a copy of the key resources on the conference Web site. However when I followed a link to “Photographs from the Conference: (registration staffsessionsconference dinner)” I found that the archive appeared to simply contain a copy of an error message, as shown below.

This may have been a failing by the Internet Archive’s software but, looking at the path name, I suspect the crawler simply captured an error message generated by the EUNIS 2005 Web server software.

Next Steps

When I noticed that the EUNIS 2005 Web site had vanished I informed the EUNIS organisers and suggested that they may wish to provide a link to the Internet Archive’s copy. This has now been done. I have also updated the links to the conference Web site from my list of papers and presentations.

There are clearly operational decisions which need to be take in order to minimise the risk of loss of content (and context) when intellectual content is deposited on conference Web sites. But what are the implications as we look to the future? For my content, I had previously ensured that the papers were deposited in the University of Bath repository so, for me, it was the loss of context which had the greatest significance. But what is likely to be the more sustainable resource in the future: the conference Web site hosted on an established, viable and trusted University Web site or the Internet Archive? I can’t help but feel that I should be looking to ensure that the Internet Archive contains a working copy of content currently hosted on areas of institutional Web sites which may not be sustained in light of policy or organisational changes. And what of EUNIS? Might they find it useful to provide links to the copies of previous EUNIS conferences held on Internet Archive, in addition to the existing conference Web sites?

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Posted in Events, preservation | 3 Comments »

Why You Should Do More Than Simply Claiming Your ORCID ID

Posted by Brian Kelly on 19 November 2012

Background to ORCID

Last week the SpotOn London 2012 conference (#solo12) included a session entitled ORCID – Why Do We Need a Unique Researcher ID? As described in the abstract for the session:

Open Researcher & Contributor ID (ORCID) provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher. Through integration with key research workflows and other identifiers, ORCID supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities, ensuring that your work is recognized. The ORCID service launched in October 2012 and in this hands-on workshop we will demonstrate the different tools that already use the ORCID identifier, from manuscript submission to altmetrics for your publications. The focus will be on working with these tools so that at the end of the workshop you will have registered for your personal ORCID (if you didn’t have one already), started creating your ORCID record, and explored cool ways to use your ORCID to connect your research back to you. Wide usage and adoption of a researcher naming standard is a key component of effective research communication. Such a standard is fundamental to improving data quality and system interoperability, and ultimately will reduce the amount of time individuals spend maintaining their professional record—freeing time for research itself.

As described in a recent post on Observing Growth In Popularity of ORCID: An SEO Analysis we can already observe take-up in use of ORCID since its launch last month.

Claiming an ORCID ID

Shortly after the launch I claimed my ORCID ID: 0000-0001-5875-8744. As suggested on the ORCID home page this is a painless exercise, taking about 30 seconds to complete.

I then added addition information including details of my research papers. Citation information for my papers were added automatically once I had associated my ORCID ID with my Scopus account. I then had to individually change the visibility of these items from Private to Public in order that the records were including in the public display of my ORCID profile.

The final thing I did was to add links to my key Web resources, including the UKOLN Web site, my UK Web Focus blog and my LinkedIn profile.

If you a researcher and have published peer-reviewed papers I would recommend claiming of your ORCID ID. But beyond investing 30 seconds in claiming the ID I would also suggest that you should associate your ORCID ID with your papers and then make them public (note it has been suggested that the display should be public by default). I would also recommend that your ORCID record should provide links so that others can find out more about you and your research activities, including your current contact details.

Using An ORCID Record

Maintaining Links, As Author Affiliations Changes

I would suggest, however, that researchers should do more than simply claim their ORCID ID. I recently realised recently that I was in danger of losing contact with people I have co-authored papers with since writing my first peer-reviewed paper back in 1999. This has always been a danger in light of the turn-over in affiliations for those working as researchers and will become even more relevant in light of cutbacks in higher education.

I have therefore started to make contact with co-authors and have invited them to claim their ORCID ID. I will include this information in citation records which I maintain. As an example the papers tab on this blog contains details of papers I have published and includes links to further information for each of the papers.

I have recently begun updating the citation details with links to the ORCID ID for my co-authors when I have been notified of their ORCID ID.

An example for the paper on A Challenge to Web Accessibility Metrics and Guidelines: Putting People and Processes First is illustrated, for which ORCID IDs for three of the four authors are available.

In this case the co-authors are still based at same institution. However for a paper on Developing Countries; Developing Experiences: Approaches to Accessibility for the Real World written by three of the four same authors, Sarah Lewthwaite was at the time based at the University of Nottingham. The page containing the citation information has Sarah’s institutional details from when the paper was published (and the paper itself will have the email details for this institution which will no longer work). However the ORCID ID will continue to be valid, and can be updated with any new organisational details and email address.

Supporting Resource Discovery

Since claiming my ORCID ID I have found that a Google search for ‘Brian Kelly ORCID includes my ORCID record in the first page of results, as illustrated. And whilst finding the page probably reflects a personalised view of my Google search results, it did occur to my that a search for ‘researcher’s name ORCID’ may become a quick way of finding research publications for an individual. Since my initial experiments tended to find results related to the Orcid flower I realised that use of ‘ORCID ID’ may provide a useful disambiguation term. I have therefore decided to use this structure in my Web resources, even if pedants point out the redundancy in use of ‘ID’ since ORCID stands for Open Researcher & Contributor ID. After all, we talk about the Sahara Desert even though Sahara means desert.

If a search for ‘name ORCID ID’ becomes a means of helping to find details for a researcher’s publication record might it also be useful for finding the papers themselves?

As illustrated, a Google search for ‘A Challenge to Web Accessibility Metrics and Guidelines: Putting People and Processes First finds the item in the institutional repository, an article posted on this blog and, in third place, the information provided in my ORCID record.

Although it should again be mentioned that these findings may be skewed by Google personalisation features (I was logged into Google when carrying out the search and used the PC in my office) the point to be made is that content held in ORCID will be found by Google.

In addition, the visibility of the ORCID Web site is likely to be enhanced as more people link to ORCID from their Web sites, especially high-ranking Web sites. This may mean that the early adopters who claim an ORCID ID in its early stages of development will gain benefits through their peers finding their published research papers – something likely to be of particularly important within the UK higher education sector in the run-up to REF 2014.

Why would you not claim your ORCID ID? Why would you not make use of your ORCID record as I have suggested? And if any of my co-authors read this post, feel free to get in touch and let me have details of your ORCID ID.

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Posted in Identifiers, search | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

Observing Growth In Popularity of ORCID: An SEO Analysis

Posted by Brian Kelly on 15 November 2012

The ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) service was launched recently. From the ORCID Web site we learn that

ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized

We would expect all public networked services to have an interest in monitoring take-up of the service, especially in the period after the launch. The ORCID team will be monitoring registrations on the service, but it is also possible to monitor the growth of a networked service by monitoring the links to the service.

The MajesticSEO tool can be used to monitor links to a Web site, and provide information on the number of links and domains as well as providing additional information such as the Alexa ranking the domains, link text used, resources linked to, etc.

The findings from the MajesticSEO tool taken on 15 November 2012 are illustrated. As can be seen there are currently 521 domains linking to the service, with a total of 11,923 links, 2,295 of which are from educational institutions.

The current findings can be viewed on the MajesticSEO Web site (a free subscription is needed to view the findings). The findings for the top ten referring domains are shown below.

# Referring Domains Backlinks Alexa Rank Flow Metrics
1 2,462      N/A 24 26
2 2,086 279,286 27 22
3 2,049   21,837 63 65
4    755        N/A 17 10
5    410 718,279 47 49
6    351        N/A 33 25
7    241        N/A   9   5
8    197        N/A 30 26
9    170        N/A 22 16
10    144        22 95 93

The domains appears to me an anomaly.  Following discussions with the owner of this domain, a researcher at the University of Manchester it appears he is not carrying out any ORCID development or harvesting activities, so perhaps there was a flaw in the data collection carried out by the MajesticSEO service. The other entries in the table give an indication of the organisations which seems to be early adopters of ORCID or, perhaps in the case of, suggest where blog posts about ORCID are being discussed.

Sorting the table by Alexa ranking shows the most highly ranked Web services which contain links to the ORCID site.

# Referring Domains Alexa Rank Backlinks Flow Metrics
1   2    1 99 99
2  11   37 98 94
3  22 144 95 93
4 177     1 79 77
5 192     6 91 88
6 238     4 62 52
7 281     1 82 69
8 290     2 64 55
9 317    21 87 83
10 342      4 67 54

The presence of two popular cloud-based blog platforms, and, suggest that researchers are either talking about ORCID on these blogs or perhaps even linking to ORCID records from blog posts. However the number of links are currently too small to draw any significant conclusions from the findings.

But perhaps of most interest is the geographical display of take-up of ORCID IDs.  The global map probably reflects the location of leading research institutions and publishers of research journals. But zooming in on the UK provides a more interesting view of the location of Web sites which have links to the ORCID domain.  Bath is currently represented by 22 links from the UKOLN Web site and one from the Ariadne ejournal. As mentioned above, the map is skewed by the large numbers of links from the domain which is based in Manchester which has 2,462 links. Two locations for Scotland are shown: 9 links from the Edinburgh University Web site, 3 from EDINA and 3 from the DCC. The other location is the city of ‘Heriot’ (which actually refers to Heriot-Watt University which is based in Edinburgh).

It will be interesting to observe how this map develops as ORCID takes off.

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Posted in Data, Evidence, Identifiers | 1 Comment »

Reflections on Event Amplification and the #SOLO12 Conference

Posted by Brian Kelly on 14 November 2012

About the #SOLO12 Conference

On Monday evening I returned home, tired but feeling exhilarated after a great #SOLO12 (Spot On 2012) conference. This two-day conference, formerly known as Science Online, is part of “a series of community events for the discussion of how science is carried out and communicated online“. After the two opening plenary talks delegates could then attend one of three parallel sessions covering (1) science communication and outreach; (2) online tools and digital publishing or (3) science policy. In total there were 27 parallel sessions, with participants being able to attend up to 9 sessions, in any of the three tracks.

In reality we could also eavesdrop on sessions we weren’t attending as participants made extensive use of Twitter over the two days which helped the participants renew old connections, establish new ones, share resources and engage in discussions. I have been informed that there are were 6,900 distinct tweets for the event (and over 10,000 if you include retweets). The conference organisers will shortly be providing access to the archive of tweets, together with a range of visualisations.

Since I have an interest in archiving and analysis of tweets, especially at events, I made use of a couple of freely available tools in order to illustrate approaches which others may find useful.

I set up an Epilogger archive of the conference tweets on the afternoon of the second day of the conference and therefore this does not provide complete coverage. However, as shown below, that there have been 1,977 tweets to date posted using one of the ~28 conference hashtags (the #solo12 hashtags was for the conference in general, with separate hashtags, such as #solo12open, being used for the parallel sessions.

Epilogger statistics for Twitter usage at the Spot On 12 conference (10-14 Nov 2012)

It should be noted I set up the Epilogger archive halfway though the conference after realising that it could be used to provided an aggregation of the session hashtags. This was a feature of Epilogger I was previously unaware of. The service is one I would recommend to others, particularly if they wish to make use of multiple hashtags at an event.

Using Social Media at Conferences and Other Events (#solo12SMC)


In addition to participating in the workshop sessions, Tony Hirst (@psychemedia) and myself facilitated a session on Using Social Media at Conferences and Other Events: Backchannel, Amplification, Remote Participation and Legacy.

This was a very relevant topic for Tony and I to facilitate: back in 2005 I was the lead author of a paper on “Using Networked Technologies to Support Conferences” which described approaches to exploiting what later became known as ‘Amplified conferences’ – and after Lorcan Dempsey coined this phrase I set up the corresponding Wikipedia entry. Since 2005 UKOLN’s annual IWMW (Institutional Web Management Workshop) has been amplified, through video-streaming of plenary talks and support for discussions, initially using IRC and later Twitter. Our experiences in providing amplified events, and advising others on best practices, led to joint work with ILRT, University of Bristol for the JISC-funded Greening Events II project. Our key deliverable (illustrated) was the Greening Events II: Event Amplification Report (available in PDF and MS Word formats). The report, which provided case studies from a number of amplified events organised by UKOLN, was written by Kirsty Pitkin, who runs the Event Amplifier blog, together with Paul Shabajee, ILRT, University of Bristol.

Tony Hirst has been active in analysing and visualising Twitter discussions on events, as well as providing broader observations on the relevance of technologies to support events, which he has described on his OUseful blog. This has included posts on So What Do Simple Hashtag Community Visualisations Tell Us?Structural Differences in Hashtag Communities: Highly Interconnected or Not?Small World? A Snapshot of How My Twitter “Friends” Follow Each Other…, Visualising Twitter User Timeline Activity in RBlogging Academic LecturesTwitter Powered Subtitles for Conference Audio/Videos on Youtube and Searching the Backchannel – Martin Bean, OU VC, Twitter Captioned at JISC10.

Reflections on the Session

I had produced some slides and uploaded them to Slideshare in advance of the workshop but, since the conference organisers had asked the workshop facilitators to keep the presentations to a minimum, I didn’t make significant use of the slides. Instead I asked the participants to address the questions “What is an Event?“, “What are the main purposes of an event?” and “How can technologies enhance these purposes?“.

As the session was being live-streamed we were able to engage a remote audience in these discussions. And since there was a local and remote audience we encouraged people to ensure that discussions taking place in the room were also shared on Twitter.

I had previously set up an Epilogger archive for the #solo12smc tweets. The service reports that there were 384 tweets, with 80 links and 4 photographs shared. In addition to the Epilogger archive, as a backup I also created a Twubs archive. Shortly after the workshop was over I manually curated the tweets using Storify. I also manually curated the tweets using Chirpstory in order to be able to compare these two manual curation Twitter tools.

Reading the archive of the tweets posted during the session was very valuable in being able to have a broader view of the discussions than was possible through participation in the smaller discussion groups. The resource is also useful not just for the workshop participants but also others with an interest in the evolving best practices for the provision of amplified events.

I will therefore summarise some of the key points made in the Twitter discussion and give my thoughts.

Key Points

At the start of the workshop Tony Hirst tweeted “If you’re in the #solo12smc session, please send a tweet using the tag.” There was a purpose for this request: to provide an identifier (the Twitter user’s ID) which, used in conjunction with the session hashtag, will enable Twitter analysis tools to identify those who participated. It should be added that such ‘checking in’ will also be helpful for others who see the tweet as this can be useful in building new connections or restablishing existing ones (along the lines of “Are you in the same room? We’ve only met on Twuitter – fancy coffee later?“).

I have found that having people summarised what I have said can provide useful insights which may not have occurred to me previously. I therefore found the following observation from @nailest useful:

@BrianKelly in #solo12smc trying to get away from idea of “one to many” plenary talk and get us all sharing opinions & expertise. 

It was also useful to get feedback on the decision to move away from the planned structure for the session and let the participants help set the agenda:

“I had planned a structure but decided to throw it away” Yay!! #solo12smc

I then asked people to describe why they were attending the session and what they hoped to gain. The responses included:

#solo12smc here to find out how to optimise @SfAMtweets effectiveness online at conferences – how to get critical mass “talking”

In the #solo12smc session to find out how to boost the SM activities of @britsciassociat and it’s various events and programmes

#solo12SMC Social media use creates a parallel, virtual conference which frees content to the world. How do you measure conference impact?

Why are we at #solo12SMC ? I want to understand best practice to help when planning/attending future conferences #solo12

I find it interesting why some conference have a lot of twitter activity and others none. I wonder why this is. #solo12SMC
As an occasional conference organiser, I’d like to know how to maximise social media use and my responsibilities re archiving. #solo12smc

We also received comments from remote participants:

Watching @briankelly talk about soc media and conferences at #solo12SMC ‘Tis lovely to feel involved from my bathroom.

which led to some discussion in the room which was relayed to Twitter:

Are people who listen to events on twitter freeloading by virtually lurking? #solo12SMC

A number of other concerns about event amplification were raised:

#solo12SMC Is using twitter at conferences more alienating than helpful? Not everyone has a device to tweet from!

If you have gone to the trouble to get everyone in one place at one time, they should talk to each other, not tweet in isolation #solo12SMC

I have to admit that since I was the session facilitator, I was not able to engage with this Twitter discussion at the time. The use of Twitter seems to provide a higher bandwidth at such events, in which discussions would normally have to be mediated by the facilitator or speaker. An advantage of having an archive of tweets, rather than regarding tweets as disposal and not to be viewed after they have been posted, is being able to see the issues raised, reflect on them and respond to them.

Responding to the Issues

The amplified event ‘free-loaders’

Are those who participate in amplified events ‘free-loaders’? Does the time and energy spent in setting up an amplified event environment detract from effort which could be spent in supporting the local audience, especially if the local participants have had to pay to attend? This topic was addressed earlier this year in a post entitled Streaming of IWMW 2012 Plenary Talks – But Who Pays?

The post gave an example of how one former attendee at IWMW events was unable to attend last year’s event as she was away on maternity leave. However since a live video stream was available she was able to keep up-to-date with developments and engage in discussions on Twitter whilst, as shown, still holding her baby. Rather than free-loading, this provides an example of how amplification of an event can help members of the community to maintain their links with the community. This example was for someone on maternity leave, but it could equally apply for those may may be too ill to attend or even those who do not have the finances to pay the event fee or the associated travel

Equality of access?

Is using Twitter at conferences more alienating than helpful, since not everyone has a device to tweet from? I suspect this may have been a rhetorical response to my request for examples of possible barriers to event amplification. Should we ban people using laptops at conferences as not everyone will have a laptop?

Lack of Engagement?

A more relevant concern relates to the dangers that participants at an event will fail to engage with others if they spend their time looking at the screen of the mobile devices. This issue was commented on by @MCeeP in his Notes on my brief time at SpotOn 12:

At one sessions (Assessing social media impact) I was standing right at the back, because it was so popular, and I could see the entire audience (and their many screens) throughout. At a conservative estimate I would say that around 75% of the audience were simultaneously tweeting/facebooking and at one point 2/3 of the presenters were tweeting as well! Now I am all for social interaction and communication but I did think that it was a little bizarre, presenting anything to a room full of people staring at screens is not the best experience and I am not convinced that they were all discussing/live tweeting the actual talk.

As can be seen from the accompanying photograph (taken from a IWMW event), this does provide an accurate description of technology-focussed events which take place in the sector.

This was a topic addressed in a recent post on Sharing (or Over-Sharing?) at #ILI2012 under the heading Does Sharing on Mobile Devices Hinder Real World Discussions? The sentiment expressed in the comments reflects my feelings – tweeting at events can help develop and strengthen connections. And just because people are looking at their screens or typing comments doesn’t mean they aren’t concentrating.

Perhaps the differing views simply reflect differences in our personal styles of working. I’ve expressed my thoughts in this post. However I’d be very interested in the opinions of others, as such feedback may help shape the plans for future Spot On events.

NOTE: Shortly after publishing this post I noticed that a video-recording of the session has been published on the Spot On 2012 Conference Web site. The video is also available on YouTube and is embedded below.

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Posted in Events, Twitter | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The ‘Altmetrics everywhere – but what are we missing?’ #solo12impact Session

Posted by Brian Kelly on 10 November 2012

I’m looking forward to attending the session on “Altmetrics everywhere – but what are we missing?” which takes place on Monday at the SpotOn London (#SOLO12) conference.

In a post entitled Altmetrics everywhere – but what are we missing? #solo12impact #solo12impact Alan Cann, the workshop co-facilitator, has provided a taster for the session.  In the post Alan describes how:

In the last couple of years altmetrics (the creation and study of new metrics based on social media for analyzing and informing scholarship) have popped up across the web. 

Alan refers to a recent guest post on this blog entitled Social Media Analytics for R&D: a Catalan Vision which suggests a range of parameter which may be relevant. However Alan feels that:

The reality is that this is too complex for those of us with lives and jobs. We need services / dashboards to provide and digest this information.

I agree, the research community will need similar dashboards which can provide indications of engagement and outreach. Alan mentions a number of possible solutions. He is dismissive of Klout (which I would agree is not appropriate in our context although if you are an advertising agency and wish to decide which Twitter star to employ to post sponsored tweets this might provide useful information to assist the selection process). Alan is more positive about  Kred, but his preferred tool seems to be CrowdBooster. Alan’s post includes screen shots which illustrate the data visualisation provided by the tool.

I have also recently started to make use of Crowdbooster. However I feel that the dashboard provided by the Twentyfeet service is better.

The screen illustrates one of the dashboard views of  my Twitter engagement during October 2012.

However Twentyfeet (also known as is not popular in some quarters as the free version sends a singly weekly tweet summarising the data over the previous week.

It is possible to disable this alert for a small annual fee (of, I think, ~$12 per year), although since this is only a single weekly tweet it is not be too intrusive.

I will be making comparisons between these services once Crowdbooster has aggregated a sufficient number of my tweets to make valid comparisons. For now I hope this contribution to the #solo12impact session will be of interest to the participants.

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Posted in Evidence | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Using Social Media at Conferences and Other Events: Backchannel, Amplification, Remote Participation and Legacy

Posted by Brian Kelly on 9 November 2012

The #solo12SMC at the SpotOn London (SOLO) Conference

On Monday 12 November 2012 Tony Hirst and myself are facilitating an hour-long session on “Using Social Media at Conferences and Other Events: Backchannel, Amplification, Remote Participation and Legacy” at the SpotOn 2012 London conference (formerly known as Science Online London).

The guidelines for session organisers encourage “community-led discussion sessions. The aim of these sessions is to create an engaging forum for open and dynamic conversation“. We are also encouraged to blog about the session in advance, encourage use of the session hashtag (#solo12SMC) to make it easier to create an archive of the discussions using tools such as Storify as well as exploring ways of crowd-sourcing ideas and sharing of relevant resources.

We has also been asked to avoid use of PowerPoint in order to maximise the contributions form the participants. However since our session is about event amplification we may have the need to have an online resource which describes the session, the structure and the objectives available for a remote audience to access.

“The notepad is a silo”

The workshop session is very timely since it follows on from a talk I gave at the University of Dundee on Wednesday on “Being a ‘connected educator': the Role of Social Media in Facilitating Collaboration and Enhancing Impact“.

During the talk I encouraged participants to make use of the seminar’s hashtag and suggested that “the notepad is a silo“. After the event I used Storify to keep a record of the tweets posted about the talk. As can be seen this suggestion resonated for a couple of the participants at least.

After I had given the talk I had a number of useful conversations. Normally this would result in an exchange of business cards but (dare I admit this?) shortly after the event I would have forgotten the details of such chats. Nowadays, however, rather than exchanging business cards after talking to people with similar interests I tend to follow them on Twitter, so our discussions can continue in an lightweight fashion. For example, when I arrived at Edinburgh airport on my way home I noticed the tweet:

would you mind reminding me the title of the London conference you mentioned earlier at #inspired12? :)

and was able to give the response:

@nlafferty @AnnalisaManca @notanna1 It’s the Future of Academic Impacts conference –… #inspired12

Email, I feel, would have felt too heavy-weight for asking such questions.

Amplification of WWW 2003

My first experience of what we now refer to as ‘event amplification’ occurred at the WWW 2003 conference. As described in an article entitled ‘Hot’ or Not? Welcome to real-time peer review written by Paul Shabajee, ILRT, University of Bristol we saw an example of how the experience at a research conference was enhanced by what Paul referred to as ‘real-time peer-reviewing’. The article highlighted some of the concerns the audience may have when experiencing use of networked technologies at a conference:

about 10 per cent of the audience had laptops – one person was heard to say that the noise of tapping keyboards drowned the speaker out at the back of the room. … it can be very distracting having someone typing quickly and reading beside you, rather than watching the speaker

 and concerns for the speaker:

It is probable that the speakers will find it hardest to adjust. It may be disconcerting to know that members of your audience are, as you speak, using the web to look at your CV, past work and checking any data that seems a bit dubious

But Paul concluded on an optimistic note (emphasis added):

The added possibilities for collective learning and analysis, comprehensive notes with insights and links, often far more extensive than the speaker might have, are advantages previously unimaginable.

Perhaps the richest potential lies in the interaction between members of the audience, particularly if you believe that learning and the generation of knowledge are active, engaging and social processes.

Paul’s article showed great insight. I felt, into ways in which the amplification of events would start to transform conferences.

Plans for our #soloSMC Session

Tony and I plans for the session are based on the following structure:

  • Exploring what is meant by an ‘event’ and what the purposes of an ‘event’ are.
  • Discussing how technologies can enhance the purposes.
  • Understanding how data analysis can provide a richer understanding of the effectiveness of use of technologies.
  • Discussing potential barriers to the provision of amplified events and how such barriers can be addressed.

However since we wish the session to be responsive to the interests of the participants, we may not follow this plan! But in order to make the most effective use of the sixty minutes we have for the session we’ll be inviting participants to summary their interest in the session and what they hope to gain from the session on the Google Document which has been created (with the URL Since the workshop itself will be amplified we welcome comments from people who may not be physically present.

Posted in Events | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Understanding the Limits of Altmetrics: Slideshare Statistics

Posted by Brian Kelly on 8 November 2012

About AltMetrics

Cricketers like statistics, as we know from the long-standing popularity of Wisden, the cricketing almanack which was first published in 1854. Researchers have similar interests with, in many cases, their profession reputation being strongly influenced by statistics. For researchers the importance of citation data is now being complemented by a new range of metrics which are felt to be more relevant to today’s fat-moving digital environment, which are know as altmetrics. The altmetrics manifesto explains how:

Peer-review has served scholarship well, but is beginning to show its age. It is slow, encourages conventionality, and fails to hold reviewers accountable. 

and goes on to describe how:

Altmetrics expand our view of what impact looks like, but also of what’s making the impact. 

However the manifesto concludes with a note of caution:

Researchers must ask if altmetrics really reflect impact, or just empty buzz. Work should correlate between altmetrics and existing measures, predict citations from altmetrics, and compare altmetrics with expert evaluation. Application designers should continue to build systems to display altmetrics,  develop methods to detect and repair gaming, and create metrics for use and reuse of data. Ultimately, our tools should use the rich semantic data from altmetrics to ask “how and why?” as well as “how many?”

Altmetrics are in their early stages; many questions are unanswered. But given the crisis facing existing filters and the rapid evolution of scholarly communication, the speed, richness, and breadth of altmetrics make them worth investing in.

As I described in a post on “What Can Web Accessibility Metrics Learn From Alt.Metrics?” there can be a danger in uncritical acceptance of metrics. I therefore welcome this recognition of the need to explore the approaches which are currently being developed. In particular I am looking forward to the sessions on Altmetrics beyond the Numbers and Assessing social media impact which will be held at the Spot On London 2012 conference to be held in London on 11-12 November.  In a blog post entitled Altmetrics everywhere – but what are we missing? #solo12impact Alan Cann touches on the strengths and weaknesses of some of the well-known social analytics tools:

It astounds me that Klout continues to attract so much attention when it has been so thoroughly discredited – Gink is a more useful tool in my opinion ;-)

The best of this bunch is probably Kred, which at least has a transparent public algorithm. In reality, the only tool in this class I use is CrowdBooster, which has a number of useful functions.

But beyond Twitter analytics, what of metrics associated with the delivery of talks about one’s research activities? This is an area of interest to the Altmetrics community as can be seen from the development of the Impactstory service which “aggregates altmetrics: diverse impacts from your articles, datasets, blog posts, and more“. As described in the FAQ:

The system aggregates impact data from many sources and displays it in a single report, which is given a permaurl for dissemination and can be updated any time.

The service is intended for:

  • researchers who want to know how many times their work has been downloaded, bookmarked, and blogged
  • research groups who want to look at the broad impact of their work and see what has demonstrated interest
  • funders who want to see what sort of impact they may be missing when only considering citations to papers
  • repositories who want to report on how their research artifacts are being discussed
  • all of us who believe that people should be rewarded when their work (no matter what the format) makes a positive impact (no matter what the venue). Aggregating evidence of impact will facilitate appropriate rewards, thereby encouraging additional openness of useful forms of research output.

In addition to analysis of published articles, datasets, Web sites and software the service also aggregates slides hosted on Slideshare.

Metrics for Slideshare

Metrics for Slide Usage at Events

In May 2011 a post entitled Evidence of Slideshare’s Impact summarised use of slides hosted on Slideshare for talks which have been presented at UKOLN’s IWMW events from IWMW 2006 to IWMW 2010.

A year later, following a tweet in which @MattMay asked “Why does everybody ask for slides during/after a presentation? What do you do with them? I’m genuinely curious” I published an updated post on Trends in Slideshare Views for IWMW Events. In the post I suggested the following reasons for why speakers and event organisers may wish to host slides on Slideshare:

  • To enable a remote audience to view slides for a presentation they may be watching on a live video stream, on an audio stream or even simply listening to the tweets (and a provide a slide number on the slides to make it easier for people tweeting to identify the slide being used.
  • To enable the slides to be viewed in conjunction with a video recording of the presentation.
  • To enable my slides to be embedded elsewhere, so that the content can be reused in a blog post or on a web page.
  • To enable the content of the slides to be reused, if it is felt to be useful to others. Note that I provide a Creative Commons licence for the text of my slide, try to provide links to screenshots and give the origin of images which I may have obtained from others.
  • To enable slides to be viewed easily on a mobile device.
  • To provide a commentable facility for the slides.
  • To enable my slides to be related, via tags, to related slideshows.

The usage statistics for talks given at IWMW events in order to demonstrate the interest and accessing such slides in order to encourage speakers and workshop facilitators to make their slides available.  But beyond the motivations for event organisers, what of the individual speaker?

Metrics for Individuals

My interest in metrics for Slideshare date back to December 2010 when I published a post which asked What’s the Value of Using Slideshare? In August 2010  Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) tweeted that:

Ironically there were 15 people in my audience for this Web 3.0 slideshow but >12,000 people have since viewed it

As can be seen, there have now been over 58,000 views of Steve’s slides on Web 3.0: The Way Forward?

In light of Steve’s experiences and the growing relevance of metrics for Slideshare suggested by the development of the Impactstory service, where a paper by myself, Martyn Cooper, David Sloan and Sarah Lewthwaite on “A Challenge to Web Accessibility Metrics and Guidelines: Putting People and Processes First” was accepted for the W4A 2012 conference earlier this year the co-authors agreed to ensure that our professional networks were made aware of the paper and the accompanying slides in order to maximise the numbers of downloads which, we hoped, would increase the numbers of citations in the future,  but also facilitate discussion around the ideas presented in the paper.

We monitored usage statistics for the slides and found that during the week of the conference there had been 1,391 views, compared with 3 and 351 views for other slides which used the #W4A2012 conference hashtag.  To date, as illustrated, there have been 7,603 views.

I used this example in a talk on Using Social Media to Promote ‘Good News’  which I gave at a one-day event organised by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) which took place at the same time as the W4A 2012 conference. I was therefore able to observe how interest in the slides developed, which included use of the Topsy service. This service highlighted the following tweets:

stcaccess STC AccessAbilitySIG Influential
Enjoyed “Challenge to Web Accessibility Metrics & Guidelines” slides from @sloandr & Co. #w4a12 #a11y #metrics
04/17/2012 Reply Retweet Favorite 7 similar tweets
nethermind Elle Waters
We need more of this = #W4A slides by @martyncooper @briankelly @sloandr @slewth – Learner analytics & #a11y metrics:
04/19/2012 Reply Retweet Favorite 2 similar tweets
crpdisabilities Bill Shackleton Influential
A Challenge to Web #Accessibility Metrics & Guidelines: Putting People & Processes First #A11y #Presentation
04/16/2012 Reply Retweet Favorite 2 similar tweets

I’ve used this example to illustrate how analysis of use of Twitter at conferences can help to see how people are engaging with talks. In this example the Twitter IDs STCAccess and CRPDisabilities indicated that those working in accessibility were engaging without paper and spreading the ideas across their networks.

Do the Numbers Add Up?

In a series of talks given during Open Access 2012 week I described the importance of social media in raising the visibility of research papers, including papers hosted on institutional repositories. However when I examined the statistics in more detail I realised that the numbers didn’t add up. According to Slideshare there have been 2,881 views of the slides from the post on A Challenge to Web Accessibility Metrics and Guidelines: Enhancing Access to Slides in which they had been embedded.However, as shown, there have only been 472 views of the blog post itself. Strange!

I subsequently realised that a Slideshare view will be recorded when the post is accessed, even if the individual slides are not viewed. And since the blog post will continue to be shown on the blog’s home page ( until 30 subsequent posts have been published, each time someone visited the home page between the 19 April (when the post was published) and 5 July 2012 (30 posts later) this would have seemingly have registered as a view of the slides- even though most users will not have scrolled down and seen even the title slide!
What, then, do Slideshare usage statistics tell us? Clearly if the slides have been embedded in a blog they don’t tell us how many people have viewed the slides – although if slides are not embedded elsewhere or have been embedded in a static Web page they may provide more indicative statistics. If the slides have been embedded in blog posts or other curated environments this might give an indication of the popularity of the containing blog or similar environment. In Steve Wheeler’s case the popularity of his slides provide evidence of the popularity of Steve’s Learning with E’s’ blog, the Damn Digital Chinese language blog, the Building e-Capability blog and the and curation services – together with a spam farm.

Lies, Damned Lies and Altmetrics?

Where does this leave services such as Impactstory? Looking at the Impactstory findings for my resources I can see that the slides for on a paper on “Accessibility 2.0: People, Policies and Processes” seem to be the most highly-ranked, with 73 downloads and 2,989 views.

But how many of those views were views of the slides, rather than the containing resources? And how many views way have taken as the result of views from a spam farm?

I don’t have answers to these questions or the bigger question of “Will the value of Altmetrics be undermined by the complex ways in which resources may be reused, misused or the systems gamed?

This is a question I hope will be addressed at the Spot On London 2012 conference.

View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy]

Posted in Events, Evidence | Tagged: , , | 10 Comments »

Social Media Analytics for R&D: a Catalan Vision

Posted by Brian Kelly on 5 November 2012

Social Media Analytics for R&D: a Catalan Vision

In this guest post Xavier Lasauca i Cisa reviews how institutions that are part of the Catalan R&D environment make use of social media and described the benefits of this approach. Xavier also discusses the metrics  used by the Catalan Administration to evaluate and measure the impact of the government’s presence in this area and their benefits for the public.

This guest blog post builds on previous posts on this blog which have described use of social media in the UK higher education sector, including posts on Social Analytics for Institutional Twitter Accounts Provided by the 24 Russell Group UniversitiesUse of Facebook by Russell Group Universities and Links to Social Media Sites on Russell Group University Home Pages.

The post has been published in the run-up to the Spot-On London (SOLO12) conference which includes sessions on Assessing social media impact (#solo12impact), Altmetrics beyond the Numbers (#solo12alt) and Using Twitter as a Means of Effective Science Engagement (#solo12Twitter). The post aims to provide a wider view on approaches to use of social media and evaluation of its impact beyond the UK.


The Directorate General for Research is the unit of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) responsible for promoting science and technology research centres, planning training and career development of researchers, promoting Catalan participation in national, European and international research programs, and designing actions on science communication and dissemination in Catalonia, among other functions. This unit, along with the Directorate General of Universities, is part of the Secretariat for Universities and Research, which at the same time is part of the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge, headed by Minister Andreu Mas-Colell. The parallels with the British political system lie in the fact that the Directorate General for Research is the equivalent to the Government Office for Science within the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

As the person responsible for Knowledge Management and ICT on R&D, I am in charge of the management of R&D computer applications at the Directorate General for Research, of the technical coordination of the research website of the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge, and of an electronic newsletter (RECERCAT). I am also the person responsible, in conjunction with the Communication department of the Secretariat, for  the administration of  the Directorate General for Research profiles on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc.). In addition, I maintain a personal blog (“L’ase quàntic” or “The quantum donkey“) where I write about innovation in Public Administration, the use of social media in universities and research, the Open Galaxy (Open Access, Open Science, Open Data, Open Courseware…) and the issue of women in science, among others.

This article focuses on the use of social media by the units within the departments of the Catalan Government (specifically the Secretariat for Universities and Research), research centres, large research support infrastructures and the reference networks in Catalonia. I would like to thank Professor Miquel Duran, from the University of Girona, for his support in the preparation of data on the number of Twitter, Klout and Kred followers of the organisations analyzed during the second week of October this year.

A General Overview of the Catalan R&D System

The Catalan public R&D system is primarily composed of universities, research centres, large research support infrastructures, hospitals, science and technology parks, networks of reference and research groups.

The central topics in science policies applied in Catalonia in recent years are, on the one hand, talent attraction and retention, with excellence and internationalization as their benchmarks (a good example of this line of action is ICREA, Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies), and on the other hand, a sustained increase in research funding, with the bulk of the spending allocated to research structures, both research centres and large facilities (such as the Alba synchrotron light facility or the MareNostrum supercomputer).
A good sign of the health status of the Catalan scientific system is that, if we consider that the size of the population in Catalonia represents 1.5% of the EU-27, the system has managed to attract 2.2% of the financing available from the European Union Seventh  Framework Programme, and has obtained 3.4% of European Research Council (ERC) grants. Another relevant fact is that 2.9% of scientific publications in the EU-27 have been written by Catalan researchers. You can find these data and more information on the Catalan research system in the article by the Secretary for Universities and Research of the Catalan Government, Antoni Castellà, published in the issue 1 of the journal Global Scientia.

Institutional support

Three social media accounts are being managed from the Secretariat for Universities and Research: the Directorate General for Research account ((@recercat), the Directorate General of Universities (@universitatscat) and the Secretariat for Universities and Research (@coneixementcat).

The Twitter account of the Directorate General for Research is used to disseminate the scholarships and research grants funded by the unit, as well as the publications of the institution (for example, the most important news published in the newsletter RECERCAT). It is also used to post news and updates from the web, to promote the scientific dissemination activities from the unit and from the Recerca en acció (Research in action) website, as well as events, awards, scholarships, publications and other information from the system related agents. Apart from this public information service, the Twitter account also serves to promote government action (with links to press releases) and to share institutional statements from events or interviews of policymakers.

The institutional account management of the Secretariat for Universities and Research, as well as of other departments of the Catalan government, is based on the Style and usage guide of the Government of Catalonia’s social networks, produced by the General Directorate for Citizen Services and Publicity (GDCSP), at the Ministry of the Presidency of the Government of Catalonia. This publication establishes common guidelines for a consistent presence of the Government  of Catalonia on social networks and lists the different social media utilities, their various uses, the purpose of each network, recommendations for an appropriate and productive presence, and criteria for finding the best communicative style for each tool.

One of the most important chapters in the guide is dedicated to metrics, an essential tool to monitor the activity that is being done and to assess and measure the impact, in this case, of the presence of the Administration in this environment and the benefits it represents for citizens. Metric indicators are based on the following key concepts:

  • Dialogue: measures the degree of dialogue that the Government of Catalonia maintains with citizens on different social networks.
  • Reach: information on the distribution of the Government of Catalonia contents to the people who are part of the social network.
  • Action: indicates whether the content shared on the networks promotes activity.
  • Interaction: shows the global relationship between an account and its audience.
  • Acceptance (Applause): quantifies the degree of satisfaction.

For each of these key concepts, the indicators shown in Table 1 (List of indicators for Twitter and Facebook) and Table 2 (List of indicators for YouTube, Flickr and Slideshare) are used:

Concept  Twitter Facebook
Audience Followers Friends
Tweets sent Entries
Interactions Mentions Comments
Retweets (RT) Shares
Clicks to links Likes
Interest Dialogue Mentionts/tweets Comments/entries
Reach RT/tweets Shares/entries
Action Clicks to links/tweets
Applause Likes/entries
Interactions (Mentions+RT)/tweets (Comments+shares+likes)/entries
Commitment Dialogue Mentions/followers Comments/friends
Reach RT/followers Shares/friends
Action Clicks to links/followers
Applause Likes/friends
Interactions (Mentions+RT)/followers (Comments+shares+likes)/friends

Table 1: List of indicators for Twitter and Facebook

Tool Indicator
Youtube Total number of videos uploaded
Videos uploaded during the month
Number of views of all the videos uploaded
Visits to the channel
Flickr Total number of photos published
Photos published during the month
Number of views of all the photos
Slideshare Total number of presentations and documents published
Presentations and documents published during one month
Number of downloads of all the presentations and documents published
Number of visits of all the presentations and documents published

Table 2: List of indicators for Youtube, Flickr and Slideshare

In order to facilitate a better interpretation of the metrics, the GDCSP prepares a quarterly report that shows the evolution of these indicators graphically and sends it to each of the units responsible for corporate social media accounts. These reports help the units to evaluate the effectiveness of their activity on social media and to consider whether the previously defined objectives are being achieved. In addition, the information obtained can serve as a basis for predicting future actions and planning campaigns. After all, assessment in the Administration must serve to identify public policies that work, knowing the impact and to what extent it is attributable to the intervention of Public Administration. Table 3 shows the number of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube followers of the institutional accounts of the Universities and Research areas in the Catalan Government, as well as the Klout and Kred reputation indices:

Secretariat for Universities and Research accounts Twitter FB YT Klout Kred
Directorate General for Universities (@universitatscat) 3,300 859 52 718 5
Directorate General for Research (@recercat) 2,970 538 53 697 5
Secretariat for Universities and Research (@coneixementcat) 1,467 49 656 4
Research in action (@RecercaenAccio) 1,438 87 49 616 3

Table 3: Social Analytics for Institutional Twitter Accounts of  Secretariat for Universities and Research of Catalan Government

The Twitter and Facebook accounts of the Universities area lead the classification ahead of the Research accounts, probably because their target audience is considerably larger. The Twitter account of the Knowledge area of the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge of the Government of Catalonia ranks third, whereas the account of the science dissemination website Research in action closes the classification.

Research Centres in Catalonia: Increasingly Intensive Use of the Social Web

As regards research centres in Catalonia, it has to be mentioned that the CERCA Institute  is the Government of Catalonia’s technical service and its means for supervising, supporting and facilitating the activities of the 47 research centres in the CERCA system. These research centres are independent entities with their own independent legal status, partially-financed by the Government of Catalonia (which provides them with stable funding through programme contracts) and their main aim is excellence in scientific research. They follow a private sector management model that is totally flexible and based on multi-year activity programmes within the framework of a strategic plan and ex-post supervision  that respects the autonomy of each centre.

The aim of this model is to encourage co-ordination and strategic co-operation between  centres, to improve the positioning, visibility and impact of the research carried out and to facilitate communication between public and private agents. To illustrate  the efficiency of the system, out of the 60 ERC Starting Grants awarded in Catalonia during the 2007-2012 period, 34 were awarded to researchers from the CERCA centres (56%), whereas in the case of the ERC Advanced Grants, the percentage rises to 63% (19 out of 30) for the 2008-2011 period.

Out of all the 47 CERCA centres, 25 use social media tools, primarily Twitter, as part of their communication strategy. Table 4 summarises the most important indicators of their presence on social media:

CERCA centres accounts Twitter Facebook YouTube Klout Kred
1 IJC – Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute >2,344 >44,758 >245 >50 >730 >3
2 i2CAT – Internet and Digital Innovation in Catalonia 1,503 44 638 4
3 CTFC – Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia 1,195   957    21 49 650 3
4 CREAF – Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications 1,191 51 681 5
5 IPHES – Catalan Institute for Human Palaeoecology and Social Evolution 1,097 1,048    29 49 677 5
6 IGTP – Health Sciences Research Institute of the Germans Trias i Pujol Foundation   923 50 667 5
7 CRG – Centre for Genomic Regulation   905  449    58 50 675 6
8 IDIBELL – Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute   777  234     3 52 685 5
9 IDIBAPS – August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute   772  185 43 597 2
10 ISGlobal-CRESIB-Barcelona Centre for International Health Research   758  353 52 694 6
11 IMIM – Municipal Institute for Medical Research Hospital del Mar   744    24 44 583 3
12 VHIR – Vall d’Hebron Research Institute   734  301    62 47 644 3
13 ICCC – Catalan Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences   617  217 39 595 4
14 ICIQ – Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia   499  428    12 45 600 4
15 IRB Barcelona – Institute for Research in Biomedicine   295  448    13 43 576 3
16 IRSI-CAIXA – Institute for AIDS Research   283 46 597 5
17 ICP – Catalan Institute of Palaeontology Miquel Crusafont   258 2,683    20 42 545 3
18 CVC – Computer Vision Center   252    93 43 577 4
19 ICFO – Institute of Photonic Sciences   228  197 45 619 3
20 IMPPC – Institute of Predictive and Personalized Cancer Medicine    70 31 434 2
21 IC3 – Catalan Climate Sciences Institute    33  218 31 351 2
22 CTTC – Catalan Telecommunications Technology Centre    29    12     1 25 344 1
23 CMR[B] – Centre of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona    21    21   52 0
24 IBEC – Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia  265     7
25 CReSA – Centre for Animal Health Research     6

Table 4: Social Analytics for Institutional Twitter Accounts Provided by CERCA centres

As for the number of Twitter followers, the Josep Carreras Foundation, on which the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute depends, leads the account classification with 2.344 followers. At a certain distance, and above 1.000 followers, we find the i2CAT Foundation (Internet and Digital Innovation in Catalonia), the Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia and the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications.

Regarding the José Carreras Foundation, which also tops the rankings on Facebook (over 44.000 followers) and YouTube (with 245 subscribers), it should be noted that the Foundation probably generates a very significant number of emotional supporters, which may not occur in most other centres.

In the case of Facebook, 18 CERCA centres are present in this network. Apart from the aforementioned first position, the second one goes to the Catalan Institute of Palaeontology Miquel Crusafont, and the third is for the Catalan Institute for Human Palaeoecology and Social Evolution, both of them with over 1000 followers.

About YouTube, the top channels in number of subscribers correspond to the Josep Carreras Foundation, the Center for Genomic Regulation and the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute. As we can see, there is a wide variety of fields of knowledge regarding the top positions of the various social media.

As regards to reputation indices, the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal-CRESIB) lead the Klout ranking (Klout 52), and there are four centres over 50: the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications, the Center for Genomic Regulation, the Health Sciences Research Institute of the Germans Trias i Pujol Foundation, and the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute. Interestingly, when analyzing the Kred index substantial variations are not observed with respect to the centres that occupy the top six ranking positions of the Klout index, except for the entry of the Catalan Institute of Human Palaeoecology and Social Evolution into the Top 6, which moves the Health Sciences Research Institute of the Germans Trias i Pujol Foundation up to the seventh position.

Apart from the 47 CERCA centres, Catalonia has 21 centres from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), which are public state-owned agencies. Among these research centres, we wish to highlight the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (IIIA), with 369 followers on Twitter, the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB), with 306 followers, and the Institute of Robotics and Industrial Computing (IRII), with 144 followers.

Large research support infrastructures

Large research support infrastructures require large investments for their construction and maintenance, with the aim to advance cutting-edge experimental science. Catalonia has basically two major infrastructures: the Alba synchrotron light facility at the CELLS Consortium and the MareNostrum supercomputer at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS).

These major research support infrastructures in Catalan territory are mainly consortia participated by the Government of Catalonia, the Spanish State and other organizations that take a minority stake. Apart from the two major infrastructures mentioned above, there are up to 10 other major research support infrastructures. Only five out of these 12 structures are present on social media as shown in Table 5:

Catalan large infrastructures accounts  Twitter Facebook YouTube Klout Kred
Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS) 385 236 11 45 597 4
Center for Scientific and Academic Services of Catalonia (CESCA) 158  45  0 31 523 3
Ebre Observatory  99 137 38 494 2
National Centre for Genomic Analysis (CNAG)  64 40 395 3
Montsec Observatory 940

Table 5: Social Analytics for Institutional Twitter Accounts Provided by Catalan Large Infrastructures

The Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS) ranks first in the number of Twitter followers, while the Montsec Astronomical Observatory leads the Facebook network.

Reference networks of R&D and innovation

Reference networks of R&D and innovation consist of a series of groups from different institutions that carry out research and innovation projects, and other activities collaboratively. These groups have common goals and the networks aim at promoting collaborative, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary work, as well as the optimization of infrastructure and R&D and innovation facilities in Catalonia. Four out of the eight reference networks are present on Twitter, as shown in Table 6, with the Reference Network of R&D and innovation on Theoretical and Computational Chemistry leading the classification:

Catalan reference networks accounts Twitter Facebook Klout Kred
Reference Network of R&D&I on Theoretical and Computational Chemistry (XRQTC) 117 35 516 4
Catalan Biotechnology Reference Network (XRB) 112 41 498 4
Reference Network of R&D&I on Aquaculture (XRAq)  63 74 23 396 3
Reference Network of R&D&I on Food Technology (XaRTA)  39 17 220 1

Table 6: Social Analytics for Institutional Twitter Accounts Provided by Catalan Reference Networks

How Can We Measure the Reputation of a Research Network?

Is the number of Twitter followers a good indicator of the presence of an institution on the net? In my blog, I regularly analyze the presence of research structures in Catalonia on social media, based on the number of followers. I realized that this indicator may not be a sufficiently complete indicator, so I decided to introduce also the Klout and Kred indicators, in line with the analysis of Professor Miquel Duran, an expert in analyzing metrics in universities of the Catalan-speaking territories, and Brian Kelly, UKOLN,  University of Bath, with his detailed analysis on the presence of the UK Russell Group universities (note the latter also includes indicators such as  Peerindex or Twitalyzer). Both Klout and Kred provide complementary and useful information in order to assess the impact of bidirectional communication.

Klout is a social networking service that measures influence using data points from Twitter, such as the size of a person’s network, the content created and how other people interact with that content. This analysis is also done on data taken from Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, and other sites. Klout creates profiles on individuals and assigns them scores ranging from 1 to 100. Despite being criticized because of its opacity, this service has become quite popular and I believe it is a good complement.

Another interesting measure of influence is Kred. Unlike Klout, Kred provides a fully transparent view of the actions that compose any user’s score and it is the only influence measure to openly publish its algorithm. Kred’s scoring system, which is based on Twitter profiles, is composed of two scores: Influence measures a user’s ability to inspire action from others like retweeting, replies or new follows and it is scored on a 1000 point scale.  Outreach reflects generosity in engaging with others and helping them spread their message and it is scored on a 10 point scale. Outreach score is cumulative and always increases, and it is measured on Twitter by your retweets, replies and mentions of others.

The Importance of Being Present on Social Media

In late May 2012, I gave a presentation at the University of Barcelona on dissemination using Web 2.0 (Com divulgar en el web 2.0). The workshop aimed to provide tools and strategies for scientific knowledge dissemination to researchers and other agents linked to R&D and innovation system, so that they could be in a better position to spread the object of their research.

Although my remarks focused on the importance of having a blog and a Twitter account to disseminate research, I finally mentioned other instruments that could contribute to it such as repositories (Slideshare, YouTube, Flickr) or social networking tools (ResearchGate, LinkedIn, Google+). During the talk it was mentioned that, while Facebook has been considered a very suitable network for personal rather than professional purposes, currently a trend has been detected among young people to use this network to disseminate research. Therefore, it should be considered in future studies.

Twitter and Facebook are the social networking tools where research structures in Catalonia are mostly present, although with slightly different communication strategies. The centres use these media mainly to disseminate research and, in some cases, to make dissemination activities organized by the centre more widely available and to engage with the public, even as a teaching support. Moreover, these tools are often used to post vacancies at the institution. According to Raül Toran, science writer at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), “generally the topics that are forwarded mostly are the ones related to cutting-edge research and job vacancies at the institution“.

Social media at the research centres are basically managed by the Communication Departments at the same institution although in most centres, some researchers use social media mostly for personal rather than professional activity. Cinta S. Bellmunt, Head of Communication at the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES) states that the researchers in the centre “are aware of the value and visibility that social networks provide to research, because quite often I have to refer questions that arise in the group to them, so they realize there is movement, interrelation“. To follow up on the impact of the communication strategy of the centre, tools such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are used.

A good example of the impact of the dissemination activity of social media by the centres is to be found in the increasing traffic to their websites, as well as an increase in the number of job applications for possible vacancies. Inevitably, this communication activity results in a continuous increase in the number of Twitter and Facebook followers. As far as readers’ preferences is concerned, it is highly variable and it depends on the centres: in the case of the IDIBELL, there is more interaction via Twitter (direct messages, mentions, RT, etc.) than via Facebook (Likes or comments), while in the case of IPHES the situation is reversed.

As regards privacy, there is growing awareness that knowledge must flow, but with precaution in order not to affect the privacy of others, respecting authorship and quoting the source of what is being communicated.

Open social network tools such as Diaspora or, are still little known in Catalonia. In contrast, a growing increase in Catalan researchers in the ResearchGate network has been detected.

In summary, we could say that research structures in Catalonia are consolidating and increasing their presence on social media, especially on Twitter and Facebook, which has become part of their communication strategy, increasing visibility. To disseminate the research that is being carried out and to approach society are the main goals. In addition, communication units are progressively incorporating metrics tracking tools designed to evaluate and measure the impact of the communication activity and its benefits to the target audience. And good news is that research, often funded with public money, engages with the whole of society.

About the Author

Xavier Lasauca i Cisa is the person in charge of Knowledge Management and Information Technologies on R&D (Directorate General for Research, Ministry of Economy and Knowledge, Government of Catalonia).

Twitter: @xavierlasauca

Image: 2.0, by Maricel Saball (CC BY 3.0), adapted from My social networks

View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy]

Posted in Guest-post, Social Web | 12 Comments »

Sharing (or Over-Sharing?) at #ILI2012

Posted by Brian Kelly on 2 November 2012

Sharing and Online Discussions at ILI 2012

On Tuesday and Wednesday I had a stimulating 2 days at ILI 2012, the Internet Librarian International conference. The 14th in the series got off to a great start with the invited plenary talk on “Stop Lending and Start Sharing” by R. David Lankes, Syracuse University School of Information Studies Director, Information Institute of Syracuse. Although David Lankes was not able to be physically present at the event due to ill health, his pre-recorded video, inm which he argued that the future of libraries is not in our collections or a building, but in our relationships with those we serve, provided a stimulating start to the conference.

David argued that librarians should start sharing. But to a great extent that call simply describes what many librarians who attended the ILI 2012 event are  already doing. It was possible to see the importance placed on such sharing activities at the event by looking at how the event’s hashtag, #ILI2012, was used to support sharing activities.

The Epilogger service currently shows that 106 photographs and 825 links were shared on the conference hashtag in over 4,000 links.

Another Twitter archiving and analysis service, Eventifier, provides similar statistics: the service informs us that to date there have been 100 photographs and 10 videos shared in 4,248 links provided by 548 contributors.

In addition to these two services Martin Hawksey’s TAGS (Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet) service and the accompanying TAGSExplorer tool also provide fascinating analyses of use of twitter at the event. The TAGS service tells us that there were 4,041 tweets containing 782 links, with @infointuitive and @AlisonMcNab posting the largest number of tweets by a significant margin: with 288 and 269 tweets respectively. The visualisation of the network connections provided by TAGSExplorer, together with the top conversationalists, is shown below.

It should also be noted that the TAGS search interface also enables the tweets posted by individuals to be examined. The example below shows all tweets posted by @infointuitive during the period of the ILI 2012 event.


I should also add that in addition to the discussions and sharing which took place on Twitter, additional sharing of resources was also provided by many of the speakers who made their slides available on Slideshare or provided links to their slides and related resources on the event’s Lanyrd page.

Does Sharing on Mobile Devices Hinder Real World Discussions?

But did too much sharing take place at the event? Were the ILI 2012 participants spending so much time on their mobile devices that they failed to talk to each other over coffee and at the lunch break?  A suggestion along these lines was made during the concluding session at ILI 2012 in which people were asked “What horrified you?”. Funnily enough I had made a similar, although tongue-in-cheek, suggestion when I tweeted the following which contained the accompanying photograph:

#ILi2012 – it’s all about meeting new people: 

I should add that I asked permission to publish the photograph, having explained that I wanted to make a joke about participants at the conference seemingly not being willing to talk to others, according to the evidence of the photograph.

In reality, I would argue that use of Twitter at conferences helps to develop new links and strengthen existing connections.  As an example, having noticed, via a tweet, that @MSPhelps (Bianca Kramer) had given “an impromptu presentation on @UniUtrechtLib Twitterbot at#ili2012 workshop” I put her in touch with Gary Green (@ggnewed), who was giving a talk on use of IFTTT:

@MsPhelps Have you met @ggnewed ? Your use of IFTTT seems similar to things Gary has been doing? 

They subsequently exchanged tweets and met.

I have also made use of Twitter whilst giving a presentation. During the talk on “What Does The Evidence Tell Us About Institutional Repositories?” given by myself and Jenny Delasalle I noticed, while Jenny was talking, a tweet from @archelina (Rachel P) which commented:

Struggling here as still have @jamiefreeman‘s Ignite talk about SEO being as effective as homeopathy in my mind… @briankelly #ili2012

I immediately responded:

@archelina let’s chat about that later

and, after the talk was over, we met and I provided further examples of the benefits of ‘white hat SEO’ for raising the visibility of research publications.

On the train home from the conference I saw a tweet from @archelina in which she provided a link to her reflections on the ILI 2012 conference and, in particular, her thoughts on tweeting at conferences. I’ll leave the last significant comment to her:

Speaking of Twitter, there was an interesting comment in the closing plenary today about the fact that so many of us were glued to our mobile devices, even in breaks, rather than interacting with those around us. I agreed with the commenter that sitting in silence round a lunch table all absorbed in our separate online worlds is not exactly healthy, but at the same time I can’t imagine a conference without Twitter. It’s partly the way it extends the reach of the conference itself by letting people follow without attending in person. It’s partly the lively backchannel that it provides in parallel to (and sometimes in opposition to, or spiralling out from) the live conference. But it’s mainly because I’m shy, and Twitter is like a sandbox for social/professional interaction that lets me build relationships (whether based around gin, dresses, The Archers, repositories, cataloguing or all of the above) before actually taking the plunge and introducing myself to someone in real life. In other words, I’m more likely to speak to people at conferences if I’ve ‘met’ them online already, and my professional life is much better now I have this option. (I’d probably never have take the step of actually *presenting* at a conference if it wasn’t for Twitter and my connections and support there.) It works the other way too, with real life events and networking enriching my Twitter life; by the end of today I had a dozen new followers who’d been at the conference. So yes, I’ll still be packing my trusty tablet next time I go to an event. But no ‘tweating’ (tweeting with one hand while having lunch with other), I promise…

These views were echoed by others:

#ili2012 Someone suggest that social interaction in the conference was inhibited by mobile devices. I don’t agree- the networking was great.

although one person suggested that perhaps a compromise could be reached:

Our message to david – we are sharing and building through twitter and online but maybe next year we say no tweeting over dinner? #ili2012

I’d be interested in thoughts from others on this issue.

View Twitter conversation from: [Topsy]

Posted in Events, Twitter | Tagged: | 9 Comments »

The Sixth Anniversary of the UK Web Focus Blog

Posted by Brian Kelly on 1 November 2012

This blog was launched in 1 November 2006. A year after the launch I described The First Year of the UK Web Focus Blog. The following year I provided a summary of  The Second Anniversary of the UK Web Focus Blog) in which I provided a link to a backup copy of the blog’s content, hosted on Scribd. In a post on The Third Anniversary of the UK Web Focus Blog I commented that “with over 600 posts published on the UK Web Focus blog, I can’t recall all of the things I have written about!“. In 2010 a post on Fourth Anniversary of this Blog – Feedback Invited provided a link to a SurveyMonkey form and I subsequently published a post which gave an Analysis of the 2010 Survey of UK Web Focus Blog.

Last year’s anniversary post, entitled How People Find This Blog, Five Years On concluded that “most people now view posts on this blog following alerts they have come across on Twitter rather than via a Google search or by subscribing to the blog’s RSS feed“. I went on to say that “to put it more succinctly, social search is beating Google and RSS“.

Figure 1: Referrer Traffic to this blog, 2011-12

But what do usage statistics now tell us about the previous year? Looking at the referrer statistics for the last 365 days (as illustrated in Figure 1) it seems that has changed how it displays the referrer statistics compared with last year.

Figure 2: Referrer Traffic, 2006-11

Last year’s findings (illustrated in Figure 2) had Twitter in first place, followed by Google Reader and the UKOLN Web site. However this year we find Search Engines in first place, by a significant margin.

This reflects comments made last year by Tony Hirst who felt that the statistics were somewhat misleading:

my stats from the last year show a lot of Twitter referrals, but also (following a three or four day experiment by WordPress a week or so ago), inflated referrals from “”. The experiment (or error?) that WordPress ran was to include RSS counts in the stats. The ‘normal’ stats are page views on; the views over the feed can be found by looking at the stats for each page.

It would appear that last year’s conclusion: “social search is beating Google and RSS” was incorrect. In fact Google continues to be significant in driving traffic to this blog. However I think we can say that “social services, especially Twitter, are beating RSS readers“.

The importance of Twitter is widely appreciated as a means of ensuring that the intended target audience  – those with whom you are likely to share similar professional interests – are alerted to your content. But the thing that surprised me was the importance of Facebook – in third place behind Search Engines and Twitter in referring traffic to this blog.

Perhaps I should not have been surprised by Facebook’s high profile. After all, a post by Daniel Sharkov, an 18 year old student and a blogger, which provided a 9 Step Blog Checklist to Make Sure Your Posts Get Maximum Exposure included the following suggestion:

Did You Share Your Post on Facebook?

An obvious one. What I do is share the post both on my personal wall and on my fan page right after publishing the article.

I appreciate that use of Facebook won’t be appropriate in all cases, but for blogs provided by individuals who have a Facebook account and who wish to see their content widely viewed, it would appear that Facebook can have a role to play in supporting that objective; the evidence is clear to see – even, or perhaps especially, if you’re not a fan of Facebook.

Posted in Blog, Evidence, Facebook | 2 Comments »