Nationwide study: Four Social Media Types of Scientists

Kiel/Hamburg, 17 March 2014: Goportis – Leibniz Library Network for Information Research identifies four Social Media types among scientists. The survey shows that Social Web applications have become routine in research and teaching.

Within the framework of Leibniz Research Alliance Science 2.0, Goportis – Leibniz Library Network for Information Research has participated in a nationwide study among scientists at universities and extra-university research institutions of the Leibniz Association. The so-called “Science 2.0 Survey” looked at the usage of Social Media tools in science and research. With this survey, the library network aimed to identify the changes in publication and research processes that will enable them to adapt their services optimally to these changes. Therefore it is necessary to know the usage behaviour of the target group. The survey delivered important indicators for this. In a first step, the study identified four types of users whose behaviour and attitudes toward Social Web applications show siginificant variations. The four different types of users were named for their distinguishing characteristics in the presentation of the study.

Type 1 is “Ms Maker”, a female research assistant or professor, who uses Web 2.0 services once or several times a week and has a keen sense for privacy on the internet. She uses carefully selected tools mostly for pragmatic reasons because they make work easier. Type 2, “Mr Tech”, is a research assistant or professor and uses services in similar frequency. In contrast to Ms Maker he is very open-minded about “new media” and technical devices. The “fun factor” plays an important role in his usage of applications. Type 3, “Mr Classic”, is very different. He is usually male, older than the others, a professor or research assistant, and uses Web 2.0 services rarely and less confidently. He is also less open-minded toward “new media”. He uses individual applications, often learning platforms, mainly because it is expected of him in teaching tasks. His opposite is type 4, “Mr Nerd”, which includes both male and female research assistants and professors who use Web 2.0 services frequently and worry little about privacy. This type has no reservations about using Web 2.0 applications and is very open-minded about “new media”. The tool most frequently used by all four types is Wikipedia.

About this survey:

The identification of the Social Media types is based on 778 online questionnaires filled in between September and October 2013. The survey inquired about the usage of Social Media tools for daily work routines in research, teaching, academic administration and scholarly communication. It asked about intensity and context of the usage of Web 2.0 services, the reasons for using or not using particular channels, and general attitudes towards Social Media tools.The full report offers more detailed findings and can be downloaded.

Download detailed survey findings (only available in German)

Download booklet (in German)

Download infographics 

About Goportis:

Goportis is the name of the Leibniz Library Network for Research Information. Partners in Goportis are the three German National Libraries, TIB ( German National Library of Science and Technology, Hannover), ZB MED (German National Library of Medicine, Cologne/Bonn)

ZBW (German National Library of Economics – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, Kiel/Hamburg). The partners cooperate to support scientific working processes with research-based services that include the indexing of research data, the development of virtual research environments and semantic applications.

More information at

Press contact:

Birte Lindstädt
T: +49 221 478 97803


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