SciVee: Integrating Video into Scientific Publication

31 05 2010

Video is rapidly becoming an important tool for researchers—in documenting their experiments, in scientific publication, and in explaining their work to broad audiences. While there are many outlets for syndicating and sharing such research videos, of these outlets SciVee offers the most comprehensive set of services for integrating video into scientific publication. These include

  • PubCasts, synchronized video abstracts of peer-reviewed articles
  • PaperCasts, synchronized video abstracts of non peer-reviewed articles
  • PosterCasts, synchronized video of posters or conference presentations
  • SlideCasts, synchronized video of slide presentations
  • Video and podcasts, standard research podcasts and videos

Given SciVee’s prominence, I asked CEO Marc Friedmann to talk about the evolving role of video in scientific publication and SciVee:

What do you think are the significant trends in the application of video to scientific publication?
The use of video is part of a large trend toward rich media in publishing. Over the last 15 years publishers have gone from delivery via print only to a strong move on-line. We can see this with newspapers, magazines and scientific journals. With the increase in available bandwidth, standardization of formats and the dramatic drop in cost of creating digital video the journals and researchers are increasingly incorporating video and rich media content into their scientific content. We see this as the convergence of publishing and video on both stationary and mobile devices.

Are journals and researchers using video to maximum advantage in their scientific publication today?
Aside from not keeping up with reader expectations, the predominant text format needs to be significantly enhanced for knowledge dissemination and discovery given the explosive growth of content on the Internet. It is now increasingly difficult to find an efficient filter for relevant and interesting content by having to read a text-only abstract. Therefore it is more difficult for researchers to disseminate their work to the broadest audience in order to increase their recognition, impact and citation. Video is a proven medium to enliven science and scholarly communications by supplementing the text.

What do you think are the major barriers to using video in scientific publication?
Making a video used to be costly, time consuming and complicated. With good quality handheld digital cameras and webcams on most computers, capturing video has become straightforward. Free software comes included on both Windows and Mac computers that enables even novices to easily edit video. The techniques for making scientific videos are really no different than making a home movie. Research by SciVee has confirmed that a reasonable quality video—e.g., handicam or videocam—is acceptable to most readers. The scientific content is much more important than having a “NOVA-quality” video production.

What do journals and researchers need to understand about the value of video in scientific publication that they might not appreciate now?
Web 2.0 has ushered in the age of interactive rich media for all online interactions. Online visitors now expect and demand a media-rich interactive experience when they go online, whether they are shopping, viewing content, social networking or getting information from a business enterprise. All science publications and researchers increasingly must deliver such experiences to engage their readers and clarify the delivery of their scientific findings.

How does SciVee’s synchronization technology work, and why is it important in applying video to scientific publication?
The SciVee platform is designed to provide a video integration, hosting and distribution capability to researchers, journals and conference organizers to enliven their Web presence and satisfy their audience’s need for dynamic content. SciveeCasts (see example here) are a family of synchronized video products which synchronizes the video with the underlying document such as a journal article, poster, supplement or coursework. It enables a viewer to fully absorb the information, impact and context of a complete multimedia presentation by watching the video and reading the highlighted text and graphics of the underlying document.. It is a much more dynamic and efficient way to disseminate and absorb scientific and scholarly knowledge than a text-centric document, podcast or plain video. 

What mistakes do you most often see scientists make in creating videos, and how can they remedy them?
The biggest mistake we see is the researcher not paying enough attention to the audio when creating the video. They need to make sure that they speak loud and clearly enough. Also, the author should not speak in a monotone or the viewer will lose interest. And they should make sure that the audio track stays synchronized with the video. Even though SciVee has a video website, we have tens of thousands of podcasts downloaded every month, so there is  as good chance that an author’s research will be heard as much as it is seen.

What is the value to researchers and journals of having their papers associated with SciveeCasts?
SciveeCasts deliver significant benefits to viewers, authors and the institutions which use them:

  • Viewers: More engaged and efficient way to filter scholarly information for further in-depth study (Visual abstract function). Improved retention.
  • Authors: Promotes dissemination of work and recognition. Increases impact of work.
  • Journals: Higher traffic, article views and reader interest. Broaden audience base. Promotes work of authors/members and mission of institution. New services and monetization possibilities.

For journals traffic is the lifeblood of their online publications, and SciveeCasts have proven their  ability to drive traffic, increase article views and broaden their audience.  Some specific SciVee examples:

  • In the course of 26 editions in 24 months across 5 PLoS journals, PubCasts have recorded approximately equal number of views as the articles themselves, which effectively doubles the exposure of those articles.  Other SciVee journal customers have typically seen a tripling of the number of views associated with their articles.
  • A leading journal in the preventive medicine field published an article in April, 2009 and saw a total 1,021 abstract views through September in a very typical view curve over time.  By September, abstract views were under 50, and clearly dwindling.  It published a PubCast about the article in October and immediately saw a spike in abstract views such that by the first half of Feb. 2010, that article attracted another 620 views.  By mid-March 2010, this PubCast has garnered 2,290 views, far greater than the average number of abstract views of this journal.
  • On the company’s website, on average SciVee observes 12 times as many pageviews for each Pubcast as for a standard scientific video. Viewers like the researcher explanations provided by the PubCast, find them engaging and, hence, spend much more time with them.

Why not just use YouTube?
YouTube is excellent if you just need a place to host short videos. However, it is built for short, unfiltered user-generated videos rather than the longer, higher-quality videos associated with scientific and scholarly content. YouTube also does not offer the workflow, quality control process and metadata required by scientific publishing. Below is a summary of how SciVee is different and superior to YouTube in many respects:

SciVee YouTube
Focus Science Entertainment
Audience 75,000 professional scientists, researchers, educators and students. 1 billion consumers
Video  limit 1 hour+ of video permitted Generally a 10 minute limit
SciveeCast Video synchronization capability unique to SciVee. None
Supplementary materials Easy upload None
DOI/Metadata Each video has a DOI assigned and metadata associated with it that promotes further collaboration, indexing and citation which are required for scholarly publications. None.
Tagging Automated process drawing upon all relevant tags across SciVee. None
Workflow Easy video supplement creation & management process for SciveeCasts. None
Editorial control Flexible QA/peer-review process built in system. None

What about the expense involved?
SciVee’s platform and SciveeCasts are designed for mass adoption. Thus the video upload, synchronization and publishing process must be easy, fast and cheap. Authors can create and upload the videos on their own with minimal help from publishers or SciVee support. No special equipment is needed, the process is intuitive, and total time required is typically 1-2 hours per piece. All work is done on the Scivee site in a browser with nothing to download. The author starts working as soon as he or she is logged in.

For the journal, the SciVee platform is easy and economical to adopt:

  • It is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) where everything is done via a web browser with nothing to download.
  • There is no IT investment or administration headaches. It provides the service, journals and authors just use it.
  • The platform is standards-based, which means it’s easy to upgrade, customize and maintain, and
  • It is designed to seamlessly integrate into a journal’s publishing system and web presence.

How would a journal and an author work together in publishing an article that includes video?
The SciVee platform’s unique advantage is its simple workflow that allows journals and authors to jointly produce the videos as part of the article publishing process. This simple workflow is:

  • Create SciveeCast: The author logs into SciVee and creates the SciveeCast by uploading the video and article, synchronizes the two, enters the metadata associated with the SciveeCast, and leaves. The same process applies to plain videos only, without uploading or synchronizing of the article.
  • Review and Publish: When the draft SciveeCast is created, the editorial staff is notified, which reviews the content and approves it for posting. During the upload process, an author can edit all items of the video/SciveeCast except publishing options. The video/SciveeCast is locked down after it’s published to ensure integrity—changeable only by authorized editorial staff.
  • Distribute/Link: Once a SciveeCast or video is approved and posted, the journals and author should aggressively embed and link them to maximize distribution and traffic.
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11 08 2011
An update on JoVE « Jean-Etienne's blog

[…] Unfortunately, this trick will not work anymore in the coming weeks since they will “do token authentication with [their] CDN“. JoVE will remain for me a very interesting journal with videos of quality and without any equivalent yet (SciVee doesn’t play in the same playground and I wonder why Research Explainer missed the comparison in their 2010 interview). […]




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