Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
Cognitive scientists are increasingly using online social media, such as blogging and Twitter, to gather information and disseminate opinion, while linking to primary articles and data. Because of this, internet tools are driving a change in the scientific process, where communication is characterised by rapid scientific discussion, wider access to specialist debates, and increased cross-disciplinary interaction. This article serves as an introduction to and overview of this transformation.
"Whether we decide to be regular participants, occasional contributors or intermittent readers, the days when social media competence was optional in cognitive science are running out. Social media have become the single most effective way of gathering research news and commentary, and many debates preceding and following publication take place online. Social media are currently a frontier for scientific discussion. In common with much of the internet, there are intrusions of humour, the political and the personal, but no more so than in a good discussion at a conference dinner. In the long-term, social media hold out a great opportunity for scientists. Fundamentally, there are important similarities between principles of traditional scientific culture and on-line culture: both prioritise access to information, citation (whether to journals or via links to other online sources), and kudos for whoever does good work. Academia aspires to openness, engagement, and respect for the principles of rational discussion. Social media facilitate these. The online community is free-flowing, somewhat chaotic, and information-rich – much the same as science has ever been."