The Framework

A framework for organizing a research paper into a summarized Twitter thread


The RPT—Research Paper Thread (#RePaTh, #MedRPT, #SciRPT, #PsyRPT) is meant as a structured format for converting a research paper document to a Twitter thread. Once the thread is published, the RPT’s author can add additional commentary and notes for the public by replying to the thread after the last tweet numerated of the RPT. This preserves the original intent and findings of the research paper without third party interpretation.

The goal is to preserve a research paper as close to verbatim as possible, given the constraints of the Twitter medium. The RPT gives a reader an “expanded link” exposing the paper’s parts into individual tweets compiled as a thread of replies. The RPT is designed to work for observational studies, intervention studies and meta analysis research papers.

Advantages to using RPT:

  1. Searchability of research within Twitter
  2. Cross referenced to other platforms (Linked In, Facebook, Instagram etc)
  3. Consistent enough in its order to be quickly readable by researchers
  4. Offers a guideline to follow with minimal constraints
  5. A human accessible and machine readable format

What RPT is not:

  1. A format to alter an existing research paper
  2. A mechanism to propose new research
  3. A rhetorical device to add opinion to a research paper
  4. Promotional spam

Some working rules:

  1. Thread as citation— One of the goals of the RPT is for researchers to cite should not be interrupted within the thread. This is to preserve the research and consider commentary as supplemental to the thread. A use case could be a #tweetorial cited at the end of a research paper.
  2. Hashtags— Optional use of referential hashtags 1 to 2 related to subject matter
  3. Numeration— Tweet number over total tweets. n=total number, 1/n, Example: 1/8
    1. This keeps the RPT encapsulated and any commentary regarding the research paper falls outside the numeration.
    2. Numeration is placed at the end of each tweet.
    3. Any individual numerated tweet can be specifically referenced as a citation vs. a reference to an entire research paper
    4. There is no limit to the number of tweets within an RPT but it should be noted that Twitter is a medium of brevity.
  4. Documents— Within the RPT are denoted as [n] (Ex [2]) and can be cited in the last tweet of the RPT. The Twitter platform allows for only 1 link to be displayed within a tweet. If there are many citations, the author would like to reference, they can be listed as the last numerated tweet.
    1. It is not a requirement of the RPT to cite every reference from the original full research paper. References are at the discretion of the RPT’s author.
  5. Media— Images, screenshots and video can be embedded within the RPT. 
    1. Accessibility — All images and media inserts must be described in the tweet’s text to voice readers to announce.
    2. Multiple images per tweet (Twitter supports up to 4) break this accessibility and should be avoided.
  6. (et al)— The second tweet, after the title tweet is a listing of all contributors of the original research paper. No additional contributors may be listed here. 
    1. The Twitter platform allows for tagging images. If you know the original et. al group Twitter handles, you can tag them with the inserted images.
    2. Within the numerated thread, you may not tag anyone outside the study itself. This can be done when replying to the thread outside the numerated thread.
  7. Works cited— The last tweet in the RPT can list footnotes and citations. Using the [n] notation, this section fully describes links being references or notes per the original. To reiterate, this section is not meant for commentary that is outside of the original research paper.
    1. Citations/footnotes match the original research paper
    2. Due to twitter brevity, links can be listed but titles are optional
    3. Due to twitter brevity it is advised to use link shorteners (Ex.