PhD student Shenmeng Xu awarded Altmetric grant to study WeChat

June 7, 2018

Alternative metrics provider Altmetric has awarded its annual research grant for 2018 to Shenmeng Xu, a PhD candidate at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS).


SILS PhD Candidate Shenmeng Xu

Xu’s project, titled “An Exploration of the Communication of Scholarly Articles on WeChat,” will focus on the Chinese messaging and social media “super app” WeChat, which boasts more than 950 million active monthly users.

Xu will lead the study as principal investigator, along with co-investigators Bradley Hemminger, SILS Associate Professor, and Xianwen Wang, Professor at the Dalian University of Technology in China. In particular, the researchers will examine the role that WeChat Official Accounts play in the dissemination of scholarship by translating, posting, and commenting upon journal articles.

“This project will help us better understand not only whether WeChat can be a potential altmetrics source, but also the nuances of tracking WeChat data,” Xu said. “Our research will provide new insights into cross-language and cross-cultural scholarly communication.”

Launched in 2016, the Altmetric Annual Research Grant supports a project in the altmetrics space, with the aim of facilitating research that would not otherwise be possible.

“Altmetric is pleased to support Ms. Xu and her collaborators in studying WeChat, as it is potentially such an important channel for knowledge diffusion in China and the Chinese diaspora,” said Altmetric’s Director of Research & Education Stacy Konkiel.

Updates on the project’s progress will be posted on the Altmetric blog, and all results of the research will be made openly available at the end of the project.