Scientists Joking on Social Media: An Empirical Analysis of #overlyhonestmethods
Author: Dominique Brossard, UW-Madison, United States
Co-authors: Haley Madden, Leona Yi-Fan Su, David S. Lassen, Molly Simis, Dietram Scheufele, Michael Xenos
Humor’s role in science communication has not often been studied. Researchers and practitioners have recently debated over the utility of humor and the ethical implications of its use in science communication. One popular humorous outlet in the scientific community is the Twitter hashtag #overlyhonestmethods, where (presumably) scientists discard the image of the infallible scientist, open the black box of conducting science, and share their methodological realities. To date, the conversations surrounding #overlyhonestmethods in the social science of science communication research have been primarily theoretical. Through a combination of human and machine coding, we offer an empirical analysis of the themes that emerge in this hashtag public and the kinds of humor that are employed, as well as an assessment the contributors to this discussion.