Scholarly Sharing via Twitter: #icanhazpdf Requests for Health Sciences Literature

Michelle Swab, Kristen Romme
2016 Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association  
<p><strong>Introduction:</strong><span> Although requesting access to journal articles and books via colleagues and authors is a long-established academic practice, websites and social media platforms have broadened the scope and visibility of academic 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. This study analyzes use of the #icanhazpdf hashtag as a means of
more » ... s a means of obtaining health sciences literature. </span><strong>Methods:</strong><span> RowFeeder software was used to monitor and aggregate #icanhazpdf requests between 1 February and 30 April 2015. This software records data such as Twitter handle, tweet content, tweeter location, date, and time. Tweets were hand-coded for the journal subject area, the requestor's geographic location, and the requestor's occupational sector. </span><strong>Results:</strong><span> There were 302 requests for health sciences literature during the study period. Many requests were made by users affiliated with a post-secondary academic institution (45%, </span>n<span> = 136). Very few requests were made by users located in Canada (</span>n<span> = 15). </span><strong>Conclusion:</strong><span> #icanhazpdf requests for health sciences literature account for a relatively small proportion of peer-to-peer article sharing activities when compared with other online platforms. Nevertheless, this study provides evidence that some faculty and students are choosing social media over the library as a means of obtaining health sciences literature. Examining peer-to-peer article sharing practices can provide insights into patron behaviour and expectations.</span></p>
doi:10.5596/c16-009 fatcat:ferlnudon5cs5o4tnhb5w22w24