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Abstract

Purpose: Many health researchers and practitioners use Twitter to stimulate scientific dialogue and collaboration among peers, as well as the general public. In 2018, the Clinical Exercise Physiology Lab (CEPL) undertook a year-long scientific Twitter campaign (#365Papers) where one peer-reviewed publication related to cancer and exercise/physical activity was tweeted per day. Features of this campaign included Throwback Thursdays (selected article published before 2018) and guest tweeters (article chosen by other exercise oncology researchers). We report on the impact of the #365Papers campaign based on Twitter Analytics data (i.e., engagement rate). We also explore how engagement rate differed depending on publication features (e.g., type of research, journal impact factor, Altmetric Attention Score) and campaign features (i.e., Throwback Thursdays, guest tweeters). Methods: Campaign data were obtained from Twitter Analytics (Twitter, 2020: San Francisco, USA). Publication information (i.e., type of research, journal) was extracted by screening titles and abstracts, while each publication’s Altmetric Attention Score was obtained using the Altmetric Bookmarklet (Digital Science, Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, 2020: Stuttgart, Germany). Twitter Analytics data were summarized using descriptive statistics. Differences in engagement rate were analyzed based on research type (e.g., randomized controlled trial), journal impact factor, Altmetric Attention Score, and if the publication was posted as part of a Throwback Thursday or by a guest tweeter. Results: The #365Papers Twitter campaign received a total of 688,117 impressions and 22,124 engagements, with a median engagement rate of 3.2% and the majority of engagement from URL clicks (n=8279; 37%). The mean monthly increase in CEPL Twitter account followers was 48 (±18). Engagement rate did not differ based on type of research (p=0.53), journal impact factor (r=-0.06; p=0.27), Altmetric Attention Score (r=0.01; p=0.80), nor if the tweet was part of a Throwback Thursday (p=0.97). However, guest tweets had significantly higher engagement rates versus non-guest tweets (median: 3.6% vs. 3.1%; p=0.01). Conclusion: Our findings suggest the potential of a daily scientific Twitter campaign to stimulate peer and public engagement and dialogue around new scientific publications, especially when prominent figures in the research field are incorporated into the campaign process.

Author Bio(s)

Kendra Zadravec, MSc, is a Master of Physical Therapy and PhD student in the Clinical Exercise Physiology Laboratory at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Sarah Weller, BAppSci, MSc, CSEP-CEP, completed her MSc degree in 2019 in the Clinical Exercise Physiology Laboratory at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She is also a licensed clinical exercise physiologist in Canada.

Logan Meyers, MSc, completed his MSc degree in 2019 in the Clinical Exercise Physiology Laboratory at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Kirstin Lane, PhD, CSEP-CEP, is an assistant professor in the School of Exercise Sciences, Physical and Health Education at the University of Victoria in Victoria, BC, Canada. She is also a licensed clinical exercise physiologist in Canada.

Jeffrey Kong is an undergraduate student in the School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He is also a research assistant in the Clinical Exercise Physiology Laboratory at the University of British Columbia.

Kristin L. Campbell, BSc PT, PhD, is a professor and associate head of research in the Department of Physical Therapy and the Director of the Clinical Exercise Physiology Laboratory at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She is also a licensed physiotherapist in British Columbia.

Acknowledgements

KZ is supported by the Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control (ARCC). ARCC receives core funding from the Canadian Cancer Society (Grant# 2015‐ 703549).

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