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Academics aren’t impressed by your TED Talk

Academics' videos are watched more, but they don't seem to lead to more peer citations.


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Posted on Jun 21, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 12:59 pm CDT

Doing a TED Talk might get a professor recognized in the grocery store for the first time, but it probably isn’t going to get him–and 3/4’s of the time, it is a him–into a fellow academic’s footnotes.

A new study from the University of Indiana looked at data from Youtube and TED’s website and found that videos by academics were more popular than those by non-academics; however, appearing in a TED Talk didn’t mean you were more likely to be cited by your academic peers.

“Academics are receiving greater online visibility, but there is no evidence that TED Talks leads to an increase in the traditional metric of academic capital: citations,” said lead author Cassidy R. Sugimoto in a press release.

This might be because the TED talker is selected because they are already fairly popular. Of the 21 percent of TED presenters who were academics, 77 percent of them were already cited more frequently than average.

Still one would expect some boost after appearing a TED Talk, right? Delivering a TT looks so cool; with the Powerpoint, the tiny microphone, the audience that paid a shit-ton to see you. How can academics resist someone who did that?

Read the full story on Motherboard.

By Ben Richmond

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*First Published: Jun 21, 2013, 7:33 am CDT