The social media editor at medical journals: Responsibilities, goals, barriers, and facilitators

Melany Lopez, Teresa M. Chan, Brent Thoma, Vineet M. Arora, Nathan Seth Trueger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose To determine the responsibilities of journal social media editors (SMEs) and describe their goals and barriers and facilitators to their position. Method The authors identified SMEs using an informal listserv and snowball sampling. Participants were interviewed (June–July 2016) about their position, including responsibilities; goals; barriers and facilitators; and attitudes and perceptions about the position. Themes were identified through a thematic analysis and consensus-building approach. Descriptive data, including audience metrics and 2016 impact factors, were collected. Results Thirty SMEs were invited; 24 were interviewed (19 by phone and 5 via e-mail). SMEs generally had a track record in the social media community before being invited to be SME; many had preexisting roles at their journal. Responsibilities varied considerably; some SMEs also served as decision editors. Many SMEs personally managed journal accounts, and many had support from nonphysician journal staff. Consistently, SMEs focused on improving reader engagement by disseminating new journal publications on social media. The authors identified goals, resources, and sustainability as primary themes of SMEs’ perspectives on their positions. Editorial leadership support was identified as a key facilitator in their position at the journal. Challenges to sustainability included a lack of tangible resources and uncertainty surrounding, or a lack of, academic credit for social media activities. Conclusions Many of the participating SMEs pioneered the use of social media as a platform for knowledge dissemination at their journals. While editorial boards were qualitatively supportive, SMEs were challenged by limited resources and lack of academic credit for social media work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-707
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Volume94
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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