Groups in Mendeley: Owners' descriptions and group outcomes



Using four factors borrowed from traditional social group theories, we examined owners' group descriptions in Mendeley to study the applicability of traditional social group theories for large, loosely-formed online groups. We manually annotated the descriptions for 529 Mendeley groups, and correlated the appearances of the factors with two measures of the groups' outcomes: the changes in the numbers of group members and the changes of the articles shared within the groups between 2011 and 2012. Our results suggest that, in general, all four factors are important in online groups, which indicates the usefulness of traditional group theories in the study of online groups. In addition, although a majority of the factors have helped the growth of group size being higher than average increase, several factors have caused the increase of the shared articles within the groups to be smaller than average increase.