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Working for our ornithology community

The BOU works hard for our ornithology community. This is particularly true of our wider promotion of avian science using social media, online and direct email newsletter campaigns to reach tens of thousands of people every month around the world.

Steve Dudley

Contributing to your altmetrics

A key part of what we do to promote avian research online is to drive the altmetrics of ornithology papers.
For the five years 2012 to 2016 Twitter contributed 73% of the altmetric scores across 10 ornithology journals making it by far the highest contributing platform in ornithology.
In 2015 we analysed what percentage of our own Twitter activity (via @IBIS_journal) contributed to ornithology journals’ overall altmetrics, and in particular, to the Altmetric Attention Score of our own IBIS papers.
Across ornithology journals we contributed between 75-95% of the overall Twitter score for 11 ornithology journals who were not on Twitter. Even for the three journals active on Twitter at the time, we still contributed between 55-85% of their Twitter score.
For IBIS we can see a clearer picture by looking at the altmetric score of individual papers. On average we contribute around 70% of an IBIS paper’s Altmetric Attention score. The range is however very wide, being lower for papers whose authors themselves are very active and who help to drive the attention of their own articles, to 100% of the Twitter contribution for many papers where our tweets are the originator of all the Twitter activity around these papers.
Dudley corvids altmetrics
Figure 1. Altmetric Twitter page for the top scoring altmetric paper in IBIS. The author contributed 12% of the overall Twitter score and the BOU 22%. The paper was also picked up by news media (highest scoring platform) and covered by several blogs (second highest scoring platform, including #theBOUblog, which also help to drive attention on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. View paper
Dudley guillemots egg altmetrics
Figure 2. Altmetric Twitter page for our fastest scoring altmetric paper in IBIS. The author was not on Twitter and the BOU and one of our IBIS editors drove the attention of this article contributing 75% of the overall Twitter score. Again, good coverage by the news media, and a post on #theBOUblog, helped to drive attention to a wider audience. View paper
See also
Using social media to promote your ornithological research and contribute ot your published articles’ altmetrics
Let the BOU work for you . . . with blogging

#1 on social media

We’re able to contribute so much to ornithology’s altmetrics because of our activity on social media. On Twitter in particular, the BOU is the most active promotor of avian science. We support and promote science from right across the ornithological spectrum with dozens of tweets (and retweets) every week day, plus Facebook and Instagram posts, linking to science articles and peer-reviewed research across the web. On Twitter alone we have over 11,000 followers and by using the #ornithology tag on all our tweets, we reach tens of thousands of people around the world every day. We also post loads of ornithology on Facebook and Instagram too increasing the overall size of the audience we promote avian science to.

@IBIS_journal tweets are respected and thanks to the BOU we have the highest altmetric score for a Bird Conservation International paper. And the BOU blog was a simple way to attract a wider readership to our paper, and explain some of the more nuanced points.
Graeme Buchanan, RSPB Scotland
BUCHANAN, G., BOND, A., CROCKFORD, N., KAMP, J., PEARCE-HIGGINS, J., & HILTON, G. (2017). The potential breeding range of Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris identified from stable-isotope analysis. Bird Conservation International, 1-10. doi:10.1017/S0959270916000551

For those publishing in our own journal, IBIS, we provide an extra service promoting your paper. Every IBIS paper is covered multiple times on social media, most with striking images to attract readers’ attention. Authors can help themselves too, and we’ve lots of self-help content on our website to enable you to engage and promote your research yourself.
See also
Let the BOU work for you . . . with social media
Social media is relevant to your research
Blogging with the BOU


Blogs are another key contributor to altmetrics and in the five years 2012 to 2016 are the second highest contributor (7.5%) to ornithology journals’ altmetrics.
With over 43,000 page views in 2016, #theBOUblog is probably the most read ornithology blog on the web. We publish a new science post each week, and increasingly two new posts such is the increasing demand.

The BOU blog is a source of authentic information and international knowledge hub advancing ornithology and benefiting nature and society at large.
Virat Jolli, Biodiversity & Environmental Sustainability, India
Read Virat’s recent blog

This demand means authors are now queuing for their articles to be published on #theBOUblog because we don’t only deliver readers to their published research, but since blogs are the second highest scoring platform towards an article’s Altmetric Attention Score, we are a major contributor to an ornithology article’s altmetrics.
Although we have a waiting list, IBIS authors continue to get priority service and can jump the queue and be published as quickly as we can. How’s that for service!
See also
Of writing and Redshanks – the benefits of blogging with the BOU
Let the BOU work for you . . . with blogging
The benefits of blogging about your research

IBIS e-newsletters

There are lots of different ways to keep up with new articles from journals such as IBIS. But a key one for the BOU is our monthly e-newsletter which we send out to over 12,000 ornithologists around the world. All accepted and early view articles from the previous month are brought together in one single place each month, both in our e-newsletter and online, plus other e-newsletters cover our other activities around conferences, grants, bursaries and more.
Sign up to our e-newsletters
In 2015, 60% of those surveyed obtained their IBIS new content alerts from our e-newsletters which are sent out to around 12,000 people each month. Of course, if you want to know about these articles on publication you can either sign up to our journal email alerts or follow us on Twitter.
Dudley pic

About the author

Steve Dudley, the BOU’s Senior Administrator of 20 years, has overall responsibility for the day to day running of the BOU and all our activities including social media and communications.

And there’s more . . .

This article is part of a series explaining more about what we do and why we do it (see links below). You can also read more about some of our community, about why they are BOU members and why and how they help us deliver our many activities.
More about the BOU
The BOU’s global ornithology community
Of writing and Redshanks – the benefits of blogging with the BOU
What does it take to run the #1 ornithology journal?
The BOU – a personal perspective from the US
What makes a BOU conference?
Funding ornithology – the work of the BOU Grants Committee
The BOU – from the eyes of an Indian ornithologist
BOU – we’re better when we’re together
Listing into the future
Developing early-career researchers
Meet some of our members and those who help run the BOU

Blog with #theBOUblog

If you want to write about your research in #theBOUblog, then please see here.

Find us on . . .

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