Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Reaction to post on academia and social media

"Should social media accomplishments be recognized by academia?" a post of mine from October 4th, generated some lively discussion on Twitter.

Here are a few of the more interesting responses:

@ashishkjha Important question from @Skepticscalpel Should academia value impact on social media? Yes. And it's coming. Slowly.

@MartinSGaynor Science comes 1st, 2nd, 3rd.. MT @ashishkjha Important Q: @Skepticscalpel Shld academia value impact on social media?

@ashishkjha agree how to measure impact a key question. Eye balls can't be enough. But too important a question to ignore.

‏@DoctorTennyson Yes-I think social media has a role for #publichealth, #education, and fosters collaboration. More than obscure journals

@NirajGusani still you add value to your dept -how do/should they measure it?

‏@gorskon Heck, at @ScienceBasedMed, we get 1M page views a month, but I get no credit.

@gorskon I agree though. For the most part, social media harms, not helps, academic career.

@gorskon Cranks complaining to my chair & cancer center director don't help.

@gorskon If I ever want to change jobs, Google searches will likely harm, not help, prospects

@Nadia_EMPharmD We actually asked this very question in a study we published this past year:

‏@JBMatthews Academic tracks have been modernized in many places including ours; beyond # of publcns.

@JBMatthews As a journal editor and department chair, I believe it's starting to "count"

‏@nataliestavas We should study what has more meaningful impact, # of twitter followers or an article in the @NEJM

Most agreed that social media activity should count for something, but quantifying that something may be difficult. A certain number of followers or page views would not necessarily signify value.

Via email, Dr. Jeffrey B. Matthews, Dallas B. Phemister Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago, said his school of medicine created a new track for faculty that does not require traditional scholarship for academic promotion. It is non-tenure (tenure still requires traditional discovery and traditional measures of impact and importance), but there is otherwise no distinction of title.

To advance to professor requires evidence that the faculty member is outstanding. The chair and faculty committee must define what "outstanding" means, whether it is distinction in clinical practice like a high-volume, high-complexity specialty or a national draw of patients, in educational leadership such as a program director with leadership roles at APDS, ABS, RRC, or "other."

He added, "I would have ZERO trouble convincing our promotions committee that a high visibility blog with high traffic views that had evidence of thought leadership in the public domain would qualify as high impact and outstanding. And that is at the University of Chicago."

What do you think of the University of Chicago's progressive stance?

Have any other schools taken such steps?


Dr. Mahesh Devnani said...

No doubt that the questions are many and are valid also. I think the starting point would be to define the impact of social media and what all does it include?

‘Is a large number of viewership an impact? Or the number of discussions it generate? Or how does it help in further evolving the topic and stimulate future research or a mix of all these plus many other things?’

The next step would be to deal with possible manipulations with the data. And third step would be to determine what percentage of overall assessment should the social media impact constitute?

I was thinking, can a scoring system like the ‘Credit Score’ be created to assess the social media impact? Interestingly there are a few scoring systems already available to gauge the social media impact. How good are they? I have no idea but Klout seems to be the front runner. But is it useful for academia? Needs further examination.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Mahesh, thank you for the comments. I don't think Klout is the answer as it takes into account your Facebook presence and God knows what else.

Dr. Matthews tweeted that blogging is more valuable than Twitter because blogging is more of a stimulus for deep thought while Twitter is a limited conversation.

frankbill said...

Yahoo groups works quite well. I am in a group hyperaldosteronism Run by a Dr. Clarence E. Grim, MD. He trained with Dr Conn's and has done much research on hyperaldosteronism. There have been 1050 members in this group. Would be a good place for any one looking to learn about what it takes to get Dx and why so many Dr just never look for it.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Frankbill, Thanks. I had not heard of medical topics being discussed on Yahoo groups. Do you know if they are closed groups for doctors only or can the public see the discussions?

frankbill said...

Can be set up how ever you want it to be. Ours is a restricted group but any one that has an interest in hyperaldosteronism is welcome to join. If fact would welcome more from the medical field to join. We have members from many countries.

Part of group description

A support group for anyone who has or is being tested for Conn's Syndrome or Conn's Disease. Conn's is also known as Hyperaldosteronism and is caused by one of several abnormalities in the adrenal glands. If there are tumours causing the abnormality they are usually not malignant (not cancer) and may be in one or both adrenal glands.

Conn's is the most common cause of diffiult to control hypertension. It is likely the cause of high blood pressure in 10% all with high blood pressure. If you have Conn's Disease you are a very special person and you can benefit from the many on this site who have Conn's and from Dr. Grim's long term experience in this problem. Indeed, he trained with Dr Conn at the Univ. of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Our long term goal is to train you and your health care team how to diagnose and manage folks like you so they don't miss the next Conn's in their practice. Remember that is likely one in every 10 they see with high blood pressure.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Frankbill, thanks for the detailed information.

frankbill said...

Your Welcome. Think you should join us and see what you can learn. Might give you ideas for this blog. Do not have to stay if you do not find it interesting. Can provide link if interested,.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Please give me the link. Thanks.

frankbill said...


You will need one of the following accounts to use yahoo groups. yahoo, facebook. google.

Groups work two ways. can log on and post and reply on line I find this to work for me. Other way is do every thing through Email. Can tell you can get 30 emails a day at times as we are a very active group. If you do not want to receive all the emails then can turn off getting emails at any time.

Note this is a good place to someone looking to due research. as they can learn from patient point of view of what it is like to have hyperaldosteronism what it took to get Dx or if not yet Dx why.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Thanks for the link. I will check it out.

frankbill said...

If you have any questions about our yahoo group can email Dr Grim using this address.

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