School of Information Management Assistant Professor Awarded $161,000 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Research (SSHRC) Grant

“Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd, Assistant Professor in the School of Information Management at Dalhousie University, and Dr. Barry Wellman, the S.D. Clark Professor at the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto have been awarded a $161,000 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Standard Research grant titled “How Online Social Media and Online Social Networks are Changing the Ways Scholars Disseminate Knowledge and Information”.

As online social networks (OSNs), such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, are rapidly becoming mainstream, numerous studies have been conducted on how the general public is using OSN-based technologies; however, very little work has been undertaken to understand how scholars are using and adapting to these new social media in their own work. This study will specifically focus on how Canadian scholars are adapting to these new OSN-based technologies and will seek to fill this gap in our understanding of knowledge and information dissemination in the age of Social Media. This research initiative will:

– help us to better understand changing scholarly communication and publishing practices on the Internet;
– measure to what extent online postings initiated by scholars are being discovered and picked up by the mainstream media and the general public;
– help scholars to decide whether or not to incorporate these new social media in their work;
– and give University administrators a better tool to assess their faculty’s contributions in these new forms of communication and publishing.

This initiative is an extension of Dr. Gruzd’s work on automated discovery and understanding of online social networks and a continuation of Dr. Wellman’s work on the use of information and communication technologies by remote collaborators. This research will also result in the development of a cost effective automated web-tool for making sense of online textual conversations. Once developed, this tool can be used by other researchers in their own research initiatives, by companies to identify and analyze consumers’ perceptions of products or services from just their digital footprints alone; and political parties can use it to evaluate the effectiveness of political campaigns in online media.”

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