Despite the skepticism

Ivkovic, Ana, Institute for Oncology and Radiology of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia


Web 2.0 tools such as Twitter, blogs or social bookmarking tools provide the possibility to construct innovative article-level or journal-level metrics to gauge impact and influence.

 (Gunther Eysenbach)

Sharing new information amongst peers using modern web technologies will help scholars and scientists to increase knowledge and advance their skills.
Lack of access to new research in medicine, has made communication between medical researchers and scholar necessary. The need for science to be put on public display, posted by medical specialists has led to the emergence of scientific publishing in blogs. Scientific blogging has thus become a scientific source par excellence.


Why do medical librarians have so many difficulties in convincing medical researchers to read science blogs? True, it is not always that simple. Are all blogs of scientific value? Data mining is very demanding work. Or is “value” a matter of trust? Science bloggers inform us about their work and the work of other experts in the same field by pointing towards similar topics. A solution to such mistrust is to join scientific community networks. Blog Network Highlights is a good example of how to use science blogs as a media for spreading scientific news and highlights. Bora Zivkovic, one of the most popular bloggers in science and editor of the Scientific American blog, has succeeded in gathering bloggers from diverse scientific fields into one community.


Writing about researchers’ achievements, about highlights in medicine, is of the utmost importance. Creating a science blog with one’s own thoughts, results, and reviews is popular, but by no means easy. Recently, the evidence-based articles such as blog posts, have become very common in researchers’ practice and present a valid form in scholars’ literature. These new media are quickly accessible. Contribution of peer reviews by others in new media should follow the new technologies. Peer review brings criticism and makes important role in science. The numerous scientists move science from traditional journal paper into the web space. Although science blogging is not measured as well as are papers in well-established journals with impact factors. The crucial factor is the evaluation of papers. The citation index, or measure of the quality of a researchers’ work is only determined by the number of citations in the scientific literature in citation index databases. That is why skepticism in blogging is widespread among medical researchers.

Microblogging allows faster communication. Research Gate, a scientific network, has gathered scholars with the same field of interest. It allows researchers to post a clinical case, exchange new ideas throughout a discipline, seek advice, upload recent publications and articles, and share new information with other colleagues.

Over the last few years, the number of medical researchers at Research Gate network has been growing. Some mental barriers are falling as is the prejudice concerning displaying work online. Scholars are more willing to share their scientific work updating their status with achievements. As Research Gate is a researchers’ network, new articles appear every day as well as medical practice case reports. By showing the results of their research, scientists can help other colleagues with new discoveries and highlights. Any medical errors which arose by using outdated protocols can be prevented. Old topics go out and new ideas and questions come in. The greater visibility of scientific work has a reciprocal impact to the career of researchers.

Twitter, a social network, offers more possibilities than does communication alone, by reading, tweeting, retweeting. When a particular topic appears as a highlight at social network, it could be current (hot) for very long time, for days, even months. The phenomenon of visibility encourages people with the same or similar interests to feel free to share the information or to voice their own opinion, often leading to lively debate and energetic discussion. The use of Twitter by scholars is playing an ever-increasing role and many tweets are focused on science. 

Trust is the main component and that leads to recommended literature by tiny URL. A list of hashtags with various topics is ever-expanding. One of the most popular hashtags is #icanhazpdf, which helps to get at the article behind the pay wall, making it readily available. This represents a good way to share and promote a scientific paper, as well as individual research.


Despite the skepticism, a new generation of medical professionals has started medical blogs, even in Serbia. Moreover, information about other researchers’ work can be found on the blogs of colleagues. Citation in blogs is faster than that caught by traditional bibliometrics. It bridges a gap between scholars, researches, and the audience. In addition, it helps build relationships between colleagues. The use of social networks among scholars, especially in the medical community is of great importance.


The possibility for research to be cited on Twitter, with tweeted and retweeted links could change the face of bibliometrics. Bibliometricians and scientometricians still do not focus on research on Twitter, but the number of researchers and followers, and their presence and engagement on Twitter can no longer be ignored. Twitter citations, and linking directly to the information source is faster than the traditional route and could herald a “scientometrics 2.0” as a supplement to traditional scientometrics.


Many thanks to our colleague William Russell-Edu for linguistic assistance.

Science 2.0, Blogging, Social networks, Scientometrics, Researchers
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