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50 Twitter Accounts That All Academic Writers Should Follow


Tweets compete with each other for attention, the same way that academic writers often need to compete for attention and/or financial support. Therefore, it is essential to be relevant and interesting. Related tweets can amplify one another, just like related papers can amplify one another. Twitter users have the option of including an image, which academics know can be a very effective way to communicate information. Tweets can also include a link (e.g. a citation) for readers to learn more. For all of these reasons, it can be useful for academics to follow good accounts on Twitter, even if they never personally post anything.

Here I present 50 Twitter accounts that all academic writers should follow, divided into two groups. The first group offers support, humor, and advice for academic writers. These accounts show how Twitter groups can provide a sense of community, especially for individuals who need support from people outside their physical community. The second group of Twitter accounts covers a wide range of research, along with policy and history. Some of these accounts are intended for professional researchers, while others target the general public. Many of these accounts cross boundaries, for example by making complex research accessible to the general public, or by weaving together some combination of social sciences, natural sciences, technology, public policy, and history. All of these Twitter accounts were chosen because they effectively convey information in a small space, and/or make complex topics accessible and interesting.

Support, humor, and advice for academic writers

  1. Academic Dilemmas @AcademicDilemma
    I am an academic willing to make a socially positive impact by voicing other academics' dilemmas.
  2. Jon Winokur @AdviceToWriters
    Writerly wisdom of the ages collected by the author of Advice To Writers, The Big Book of Irony, and The Portable Curmudgeon.
  3. Write That Ph.D. @WriteThatPhD
    Resources to help you 'write that PhD' or other scholarly works. Provides excellent writing tips and reminders for academics at all stages of career development.
  4. Justsaysinmice @Justsaysinmice
    By accurately adding in mice to the descriptions of published experiments, these Tweets remind us that small details can make a huge difference when writing about experimental results.
  5. Jen Heemstra @Jenheemstra
    Associate Professor at the Emory University Department of Chemistry, who is working to grow leaders, fight inequity, embrace failure...and make the world a better place.
  6. Sh##MyReviewersSay @YourPaperSucks
    A celebration of the harsh, the weird, the passive aggressive, . . . and the downright mean comments practicing scientists receive on a regular basis. They are a reminder that all of us suck on a regular basis, and that that's ok.
  7. Jennifer Polk, Ph.D. @FromPhDtoLife
    Coaching grad students and Ph.D.s to work better, explore careers, get jobs, and start businesses.
  8. Reviewer 2 @GrumpyReviewer2
    A humorous take on scholarly writing and other academic problems.
  9. Homo Academicus @homo_academicus
    Snapshots from the academic condition.
  10. RelativelyRisky @justsaysrisks
    By using published articles to highlight the difference between relative risk and absolute risk, these Tweets remind us of the importance of being specific when writing about statistics.
  11. Learner's Dictionary @MWforLearners
    The best American English dictionary for students of English from Merriam Webster. Tweets on the Word of the Day and featured idioms help improve English skills for native and non-native speakers.
  12. Retraction Watch @RetractionWatch
    Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process. While the pressure to finish and publish can be intense, retractions serve as a reminder to always maintain the highest integrity in your scholarly work.

Research, policy, and/or history

  1. science @science
    Stories from a variety of news outlets about Science, Space & Robots.
  2. Alondra Nelson @alondra
    Princeton University Professor Alondra Nelson is an acclaimed researcher who explores questions of science, technology, and social inequality, and is now the OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society for US President Joe Biden.
  3. Our World in Data @OurWorldInData
    Data to understand the big global problems and research that helps to make progress against them. Based out of the University of Oxford.
  4. NPR Science Desk @nprscience
    Science news, commentary and conversation from NPR (National Public Radio in the United States).
  5. Seeker @Seeker
    Seeker produces online video and editorial content that empowers the curious to understand the science shaping our world.
  6. American Scientist @AmSciMag
    American Scientist Magazine has been publishing award-winning science, tech, engineering, & math content for over a century.
  7. BBC Ideas @bbcideas
    Short films for curious minds that demonstrate how to discuss complex topics in an engaging way.
  8. Wellcome Collection @ExploreWellcome
    The free museum and library that aims to challenge how we all think and feel about health by connecting science, medicine, life and art.
  9. Gates Foundation @gatesfoundation
    We are impatient optimists working to reduce inequity.
  10. The Guardian @guardianscience
    Science, health and environment news from the The Guardian news website. Plus, comments and analysis from expert science bloggers.
  11. Smithsonian @smithsonian
    The Smithsonian is the world's largest museum, education, and research complex. Their Twitter feed highlights historical people, events, and objects, often linking them to current events.
  12. Hugh Kearns @ithinkwellHugh
    Lecturer, researcher and author from Flinders University in Adelaide, who tweets about Procrastination, Perfectionism, Overcommitment and the Imposter Syndrome.
  13. BBC Science News @BBCScienceNews
    News, features and analysis from the BBC Science & Environment news desk.
  14. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research @BBSRC
    BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research & training on behalf of the UK public.
  15. Ananyo Bhattacharya @Ananyo
    Science journalist who focuses on science policy and current events.
  16. Cell @CellCellPress
    Tweets from the journal Cell, which aims to publish the most exciting and provocative research in biology. Many articles are accompanied by graphical abstracts, which show that a picture can really be worth a thousand words.
  17. Science Magazine @ScienceMagazine
    The world's leading outlet for cutting-edge research in all areas of science.
  18. Chemistry World @ChemistryWorld
    Chemistry magazine bringing you the latest chemistry news and research every day. Published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
  19. Carl T. Bergstrom @CT_Bergstrom
    A professor of biology at the University of Washington tweets about biology, society, and science.
  20. Discover Magazine @DiscoverMag
    Science that matters, for readers that matter.
  21. EurekAlert! @EurekAlert
    Daily trending science news, images, videos, & more. Operated by AAAS, the world's largest general science society.
  22. Wellcome Library @WellcomeLibrary
    The Wellcome Library is one of the world's major resources for the study of medical history. Their Twitter feed combines medical science, sociology, and history.
  23. Deborah Blum @deborahblum
    Book author, science journalist, . . . and director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT.
  24. AAAS @AAAS
    Updates from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  25. Neuroscience News @NeuroscienceNew
    Brain research news articles on neuroscience, psychology, AI, neurology, brain cancer, robotics, mental health & science.
  26. Curiosity Rover @MarsCuriosity
    Your friendly neighborhood NASA Mars rover. Exploring the Red Planet since 2012.
  27. NOVA/PBS @novapbs
    The PBS documentary series demystifying the science and tech that shape and define our lives, our planet, and our universe.
  28. Science Channel @ScienceChannel
    While the video imagery from the Science Channel can be mesmerizing, I also appreciate that their Tweets often include an informative 1-2 sentence summary of the main point.
  29. TED Talks @TEDTalks
    TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks.
  30. @Physorg_com
    Science and Technology news, including Physics, Space, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Math, Electronics, Nanotechnology, Materials, Computers, Health, Earth Science.
  31. Physics World @PhysicsWorld
    News, views and information for the global physics community.
  32. Meagan Phelan @MeaganPhelan
    Tweets from a director at Science Magazine. Includes insight into science, policy, and the publication process, and retweets from a wide variety of sources.
  33. Mental Daily @mentaldaily_com
    The latest psychology research news and stories covering mental health, cognition, cyberspace, I/O, society, and politics.
  34. @PsyPost
    Reporting research on human behavior and cognition, including Psychology, Neuroscience, PoliSci, Sociology, and Psychiatry.
  35. Science Friday @scifri
    Known for their weekly talk show on US public radio, Science Friday aims to be the source for entertaining and educational stories about science, technology, and other cool stuff.
  36. The Scientist @TheScientistLLC
    The Scientist magazine reports on the most exciting discoveries and innovative trends across the spectrum of life science research.
  37. ScienceDaily @ScienceDaily
    Breaking news about the latest discoveries in science, health, the environment, and technology.
  38. WIRED Science @WIREDScience
    The science section of WIRED magazine covers space, health, biotech, and more.

By the way, you might be thinking "Why in the world would a serious academic need to be on Twitter?" While it's true that Twitter can be a cesspool of misinformation and conspiracy theories, it can also be a good source of breaking news, relevant information, and interesting discussions. Furthermore, the limitations and challenges of posting on Twitter are similar to challenges that academic writers face in presenting their research. The limit of 280 characters per Tweet mirrors the challenge of conveying meaningful information in a paper title, an abstract, or a syllabus.

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