Saturday, May 12, 2012

An Orgy of Self-Referential Blogging...



...may follow from a new PLoS ONE paper on bloggers whose posts are aggregated at ResearchBlogging.org (Shema et al., 2012):
The average RB blogger in our sample is male, either a graduate student or has been awarded a PhD and blogs under his own name.

The Neurocritic has never been one for meta-blogging.1 I don't like to draw attention to my existence as an actual person, and I don't have time to discuss things like the pros/cons of blogging, scientific outreach, gender imbalances, scientist bloggers vs. science writer bloggers, commenting policies, and blogging networks. It's not that these aren't worthwhile topics, it's just that it's not my thing.

For those issues, I recommend reading Scicurious, who has blogged thoughtfully (and extensively) about them. As you can see in the figure below, she's a major player in the RB science blogging tweeting universe.


Figure 3 (modified from Shema et al., 2012). Twitter interconnections – followers.


In a way, I feel like this article is the peer-reviewed equivalent of a link bait site that names you as a Top Fifty Psychology Blog, just asking for egotistical bloggers to post about it.

Well I'm not falling for it...


Footnote

1 That said, The Neurocritic's last post jokingly mentioned self-referential processing in the context of linking to oneself, but that was only because I actually have written extensively on spindle neurons, aka von Economo neurons.


Reference

Shema, H., Bar-Ilan, J., & Thelwall, M. (2012). Research Blogs and the Discussion of Scholarly Information. PLoS ONE, 7 (5) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035869

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5 Comments:

At May 13, 2012 6:22 AM, Blogger Neuroskeptic said...

According to that graph, Ed Yong is the red giant star around which the rest of us orbit.

I don't understand the positioning though. Why am I in the corner? Does that mean anything? Hmm.

 
At May 13, 2012 11:37 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

I don't know either. The text about that figure doesn't explain color or position, and there are some obvious errors:

"In Figure 3 only the Twitter account names of users that were followed by 10 or more followers from our sample are displayed (38 accounts), the size and color of the nodes are proportional to the number of followers."

There are only 31 user names displayed (see my subtle hover text over the figure), for instance. And I'm not positive that only 30% of the sampled blogs have Twitter accounts with at least 10 followers [that's 38% of the 101 blogs that do have Twitter accounts.]

They don't include a color scale, though one might assume it goes from bluish to red (highest). All they say about nodes is:

"The directed edge from node A to node B represents that A follows B."

The text mentioned that five blogs are in the "Technorati Top 100" for science blogs (which has been meaningless for a while). Three of these with sizable Twitter followings are not labeled in Fig. 3. Perhaps they're among the 7 missing accounts?

 
At May 13, 2012 2:27 PM, Anonymous scicurious said...

From what I understood, they only displayed the twitter account names of the users that were followed by the people in the sample. So you had to be followed by the other science bloggers you were looking at, rather than other people. Which is an odd metric to me, and I don't think it's adequately explained why they used it that way, as a metric of influence among other science bloggers is not a metric of influence on the rest of the internet.

Clearly it's good I wasn't a reviewer for this paper. :)

 
At May 13, 2012 3:10 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Right, it shows an insular level of connectedness. And I still find it hard to believe that some of the unnamed accounts did not have 10 followers from the sample.

 
At May 18, 2012 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it's a PLoS ONE article after all...
Neuroskeptic, you are in the corner because you are peripheral, obviously :)

 

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