A social network analysis of the oceanographic community: A fragmented digital community of practice

Kinda Dahlan*, Melissa Terras

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


What does a digital Social Network Analysis reveal about online oceanographic communities on Twitter? We examine the structure of a digital community of practice of oceanographers and ocean-related stakeholders on Twitter using a Social Network Analysis (SNA) approach to understand digital aspects of information production, and information flow in oceanography, mapping the social ties between members of a community of practice concerned with the study of the oceans. We carried out the SNA using Docteur Tweety TwExList for data collection,and Gephi to visualize scraped data, and found that although the oceanographic community on Twitter is an active vibrant community,fragmentation between sub-communities exist. Further qualitative sampling revealed where these fragmentations occur between individual researchers, institution, funding bodies, government agencies, and news outlets as a result of practice, time zones, and geography. The findings also revealed which groups are utilizing Twitter consistently, and which accounts have the potential to connect isolated groups. We recommend that if training were available to assist ocean scientists in understanding the affordances of Twitter, it would be possible to utilise it for better collaboration, community integration, and more effective public outreach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-181
Number of pages23
JournalPreservation, Digital Technology & Culture (PDT&C)
Issue number4
Early online date5 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • community of practice
  • oceanography
  • multidisciplinary information practice
  • social media
  • Twitter
  • social network analysis


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