Building a Pipeline to the Scholarly World


by Courtney Quirin

Michael Kennedy

Quick to realize the interaction possibilities of his and Twitter accounts, Michael Kennedy amplifies his voice beyond the classroom doors of Brown University by tweeting out free access to his research on The result? Launched into the Twittersphere, his in-depth scholarship hitches a ride with the Twitterati, traveling across the Atlantic and into the hands of European politicians and citizens, the subject matter of much of his current work.

By capitalizing on the synergy produced by the combo, Kennedy has mobilized his research beyond the high walls of academia and into the public realm, where it has been harnessed by civil movements and, in some instances, integrated into the political voice of the “people.”

“ is such a useful vehicle for extending open access and for extending collaborative ties. One might call it a critical resource in this open access movement,” says Kennedy.

About a year ago collaborative thinking generated by the duo led to Kennedy’s work being picked up by bloggers and scholars to critically discuss a controversial anti-piracy agreement proposed by the European Commission. Invested in making his voice heard, Kennedy targeted his tweets towards politicians, leading them to his publications on, which they eventually used to help make the case against the anti-piracy act.

On the fingertips of the digitally inclined, the enhanced access and public visibility of Kennedy’s work has allowed his in-depth scholarship to serve as a reference and source of discussion among the public, politicians and colleagues. How does he know? His analytics tell him so.

“When interest in a paper spikes, I clearly know that some kind of event is happening in which my work is being discussed.”

As the crux of his academic research comes to the forefront of international news, Kennedy has been a voracious tweeter, working hard to direct curious minds to his research on Pairing up his relevant papers with trending news stories, tweeting out access to his research is helping Kennedy cultivate an international reputation as an expert in EU and energy matters.

In fact, several weeks ago his paper on Russian energy policies sparked sudden interest from viewers all across the world. While Kennedy has “no smoking gun” for what prompted so many views, he suspects heightening tensions over energy led some scholars and citizens to the same question: “Will Europe face an even colder 2013?”

Kennedy is pleased that questions over energy and Europe’s fate, among many things, lead people from all different nations to his profile.

“Like any academic, I would like for more of my colleagues to read my papers. is great for that, making papers accessible especially for colleagues without substantial libraries at hand or electronic access at keyboard.”

Enticing his colleagues and the public with his tweets and channeling them to his profile, Kennedy is cultivating his following and building a pipeline from the Twitter world to the scholarly one on

Academic Bio:
Dr. Michael Kennedy is a professor of sociology and international studies at Brown University. His work articulates cultural politics, knowledge networks, and global transformations, addressing these themes with case studies of the European Union, digital social movements, and energy security.

View Kennedy’s work here.


by Courtney Quirin, Science Writer

Comments Jan 30, 2013
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