Public scientific communication on Twitter: visual analytic approach

Victoria Uren*, Aba-Sah Dadzie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to assess high-dimensional visualisation, combined with pattern matching, as an approach to observing dynamic changes in the ways people tweet about science topics.
Design/methodology/approach - The high-dimensional visualisation approach was applied to three scientific topics to test its effectiveness for longitudinal analysis of message framing on Twitter over two disjoint periods in time. The paper uses coding frames to drive categorisation and visual analytics of tweets discussing the science topics.
Findings - The findings point to the potential of this mixed methods approach, as it allows sufficiently high sensitivity to recognise and support the analysis of non-trending as well as trending topics on Twitter.
Research limitations/implications - Three topics are studied and these illustrate a range of frames, but results may not be representative of all scientific topics.
Social implications - Funding bodies increasingly encourage scientists to participate in public engagement. As social media provides an avenue actively utilised for public communication, understanding the nature of the dialog on this medium is important for the scientific community and the public at large.
Originality/value - This study differs from standard approaches to the analysis of microblog data, which tend to focus on machine driven analysis large-scale datasets. It provides evidence that this approach enables practical and effective analysis of the content of midsize to large collections of microposts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-355
Number of pages19
JournalAslib Journal of Information Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2015

Bibliographical note

This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • high-dimensional visualization
  • message frames
  • microblogs
  • public engagement with science
  • science communication
  • visual analytics


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