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AZ scientists rate the value they get from social media

Company survey highlights information sharing, collaboration, knowledge building and networking

Social media can deliver value to scientists, with particular uses for the technology found in information sharing, collaboration, knowledge building and networking.

That was the conclusion of a survey of nearly 400 AstraZeneca (AZ) scientists who were asked about their thoughts on social media and science.

More than two-thirds of those polled said the technology was 'valuable' or 'somewhat valuable', and nearly a quarter said it was 'very valuable' or 'absolutely essential'.

“Social media are like any medium of communications,” one respondent wrote. “Saying that social media are not important is isolating you as a scientist … (which) rarely leads to new science.”

Seventy one per cent of the survey's respondents said they participate in social media, and of that number 71 per cent said they used it for science-related activities and 69 per cent used it for personal activity.

The company's scientists and their external partners were found to be particularly active in professional networks, wikis and blogs, but had less time for online forums or microblogging sites like Twitter.

AZ said it would use the survey's results to “help inform our R&D social media communications strategies for 2012 and beyond”.

The survey, posted yesterday on the corporate AZ Health Connections blog, was completed by 372 scientists, 95 per cent of whom work for AZ in-house, with the remaining 5 per cent drawn from the external scientists they work with.

As would be expected from an Anglo-Swedish firm, 37 per cent of respondents were drawn from the UK and 31 per cent from Sweden, followed by 25 per cent from the US and the remaining 7 per cent from India, Canada and other western European countries.

Pharma's social media use to date has mainly focused on areas like corporate communications and disease awareness, but there is growing interest in the opportunity to use it in drug research.

Australian researchers recently concluded social networks had potential in recruiting patients for clinical trials, and pharma companies like Lilly and Novartis have also investigated the technology's use in this arena.

13th February 2012

From: Marketing

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