You are here2015: #icanhazpdf? User Requests for Medical Literature on Twitter

2015: #icanhazpdf? User Requests for Medical Literature on Twitter


By Robert Melrose - Posted on 01 May 2015

Background While requesting access to journal articles and books via colleagues and authors is a long established academic practice, online websites and social media platforms have broadened the scope and visibility of literature sharing among researchers. On Twitter, the #icanhazpdf hashtag has emerged as a way for researchers to request and obtain journal articles quickly and efficiently.

Objective To analyze use of the #icanhazpdf hashtag as a means of obtaining health sciences literature.

Methods RowFeeder was used to monitor and aggregate #icanhazpdf tweets over a four month period. This program records data such as Twitter handle, tweet content, tweeter location, date and time. Ethics approval was not required as data was collected from a public arena and user information was anonymized.

Results The data will be analyzed to determine the frequency of requests for health sciences literature. Tweet content will also be used to determine how the user identifies the requested literature (i.e. url, DOI or citation information). In addition, the Twitter handle will be used to categorize #icanhazpdf tweeters requesting health sciences literature by occupation or role, and to determine whether the tweeter has access to library resources and services.

Conclusion Although questions remain regarding the ethical and legal issues surrounding this practice, investigating #icanhazpdf requests can provide important insights for health librarians into user expectations and behaviours

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