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Yimei Zhu

Thesis working title - 'Are the new forms of scholarly communication the pathway to open science?'.


My MA dissertation investigated the influence of social capital on social trust in an online hospitality community and found that gaining more social capital enhanced social trust in this case study. The study incorporates the use of focus group, internet survey and qualitative interviews, which explored how social capital is implemented online, the relation between diversity and trust, and the dark side of social capital. After finishing my Master degree in Sociology in 2010, I continued my study in the area of internet research with supervisor Prof Rob Procter, funded by Manchester eResearch centre.

PhD research

I am interested in how UK academics communicate with peers and the outside world and how they disseminate their work.  I am looking at academic researchers’ attitudes and experience towards open science—open access to publication, open access to data and using social media for research purposes. The methodology chosen for this study incorporates the use of qualitative interviews, internet survey, participant observation and content analysis. I intend to conduct a survey with representative sample to investigate factors that influence researchers’ attitudes and practice of open science.

Research interests

  • Research methods, statistics, survey methods, qualitative methods
  • Social media, online communities, online dating, religion and ethnicity, social class
  • Scholarly communication, open science, open access, new technology
  • Social capital, trust, diversity, education, culture

Financial awards

PhD Studentship (3 years), Manchester eResearch Centre, University of Manchester

Publications and conference papers

Zhu, Y. (2010) ‘Social Capital, trust and online hospitality community’, MA dissertation, University of Manchester.

Zhu, Y. (2012) ‘Shall we use social media for our research?Co-Production of Knowledge: Social media, STS and… Conference, University of York, 18-20 July 2012.

Zhu, Y. (2012) ‘Why I use mixed-methods to research scholarly communication and academic use of social media’, Methods Fair 2012, University of Manchester, 10 October 2012.

Zhu, Y. (2012) ‘Use of blogs, Twitter and Facebook by PhD Students for Scholarly Communication:  A UK study’ 2012 China New Media Communication Association Annual Conference, Macau International Conference, 6-8 December 2012.


Teaching Assistant and Course Tutor for undergraduate students in Sociology Department, The University of Manchester.

  • Media, Culture and Society1
  • Media, Culture and Society 2
  • British Society in a Globalising World


  • MA, Film Studies, University of Reading
  • MA, Sociology, The University of Manchester
  • A full-time PhD student in Sociology (01/2011 – present)

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