It seems like almost everything and everyone has a Twitter account these days. One area that has not adopted the social media service though is science, where more traditional means of dissemination are used. Researchers from the University of Miami though, have recently studied the benefits of scientists using Twitter, and found it could have a great impact.
Before the Internet, research papers were primarily circulated through regularly published journals. These media still exist for that purpose today, but with the Internet it is much easier for any interested party to find and read the results of recent studies. Twitter however can work as a means of outreach, and spread word of a recently published study to more people than would normally seek it out.
To support the case for using Twitter, the Miami researchers put together some interesting statistics, including that tweets with links to peer-reviewed PDFs are retweeted 19% of the time, and that the median Twitter following is over seven times larger than the median university department size. Both stats show how much using Twitter can increase dissemination, but it can also encourage post-publication conversations, which could lead to new interest and new ideas.
Source: University of Miami