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Journal Article

Scientific communication strategies of microbiologists in the era of social media


Ansorge,  Rebecca
Department of Symbiosis, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Romano, S., & Ansorge, R. (2018). Scientific communication strategies of microbiologists in the era of social media. FEMS MICROBIOLOGY LETTERS, 365(23): fny264. doi:10.1093/femsle/fny264.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-B87B-4
Over the last decades, the world of communication underwent drastic changes, and internet and social media emerged as essential vehicles for exchanging information. Following these trends, it is important that scientists adapt to changes and adopt optimal strategies to communicate with colleagues, lay people and institutions. We conducted an online survey to investigate the communication strategies of microbiologists and their colleagues from other disciplines. We collected data from 527 scholars from 57 countries, with similar to 42% of them being microbiologists. We focused particularly on social media and found that >80% of participants used them for work, and that similar to 50% of interviewed actively shared and gathered scientific contents from social media. Compared to colleagues from other fields, microbiologists were less averse to use social media for work and were also less accustomed to use pre-prints as a source and vehicle of information. However, a large proportion of microbiologists declared to have planned pre-print publications in the future. Surprisingly, our data revealed that age is a poor predictor of social media usage, but it is strongly associated with the type of social media used, the activity undertaken on them and the attitude towards pre-print publications. Considering the kaleidoscopic variety of scientific communication tools, our data might help to optimize the scientific promotion strategies among microbiologists.