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Geoscience Communication An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 28 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 28 Oct 2019

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal GC.

Rapid collaborative knowledge building via Twitter after significant geohazard events

Robin Lacassin1, Maud Devès1,2, Stephen P. Hicks3, Jean-Paul Ampuero4, Remy Bossu5,6, Lucile Bruhat7, Daryono8, Desianto F. Wibisono9, Laure Fallou5, Eric J. Fielding10, Alice-Agnes Gabriel11, Jamie Gurney12, Janine Krippner13, Anthony Lomax14, Muh. Ma'rufin Sudibyo15, Astyka Pamumpuni16, Jason R. Patton17, Helen Robinson18, Marc Tingay19, and Sotiris Valkaniotis20 Robin Lacassin et al.
  • 1Université de Paris, Institut de physique du globe de Paris, CNRS, F-75005 Paris, France
  • 2Université de Paris, Institut Humanités Sciences Sociétés, Centre de Recherche Psychanalyse Médecine et Société, CNRS, Paris, France
  • 3Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, UK
  • 4Université Côte d'Azur, IRD, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, Géoazur, France
  • 5European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre, France
  • 6CEA Centre DAM Ile de France F-91297 Arpajon, France
  • 7Laboratoire de Géologie, Ecole normale supérieure, PSL Research University, CNRS, Paris, France
  • 8Earthquake and Mitigation Division, Agency for Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics, Indonesia
  • 9Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia
  • 10Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
  • 11Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany
  • 12Citizen scientist, United Kingdom Earthquake Bulletin, UK
  • 13Global Volcanism Program, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA
  • 14ALomax Scientific, Mouans-Sartoux, France
  • 15Kebumen Natural Disaster Response, Kebumen, Central Java, Indonesia
  • 16Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia
  • 17Department of Geology, Humboldt State University, California, USA
  • 18Powerful Earth, UK
  • 19University of Adelaide, Australia
  • 20Koronidos 9, 42131 Trikala, Greece

Abstract. Twitter is an established social media platform valued by scholars as an open way to disseminate scientific information and to publicly discuss research results. Scientific discussions are widely viewed by the media who can then pass on information to the wider public. Here, we take the example of two 2018 earthquake-related events which were widely commented on Twitter by geoscientists: the Palu Mw 7.5 earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia and the long-duration Mayotte island seismo-volcanic crisis. We build our study on a content and contextual analysis of selected Twitter threads about the geophysical characteristics of these events. From the analysis of these two examples, we show that Twitter promotes very rapid building of knowledge – in the minutes to hours and days following an event – via an efficient exchange of information and active discussion between the scientists themselves and with the public. We discuss the advantages and potential pitfalls of this relatively novel way to make scientific information accessible to scholarly peers and to lay people. We argue that scientific discussion on Twitter breaks down the traditional ivory towers of academia, following growing trends towards open science, and may help people to understand how science is developed, and, in the case of natural/environmental hazards, to better understand their risks.

Robin Lacassin et al.

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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Robin Lacassin et al.

Robin Lacassin et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Among social media platforms, Twitter is valued by scholars to disseminate scientific information. Taking the example of two 2018 geohazard events, we show that collaborative open data sharing and discussion on Twitter promote very rapid building of knowledge. It breaks down the traditional ivory tower of academia, making science accessible to non-academics who can follow the discussion. It also bears the opportunity for a new type of scientific approach within global virtual teams.
Among social media platforms, Twitter is valued by scholars to disseminate scientific...