I’m just getting involved in SciVee, a project which allows scientists to make a short video associated with a paper that they have published recently. The website is here: http://www.scivee.tv The concept is brilliant – the video (which can be filmed in a lab or an office, or be done more professionally) is shown with the text of the paper next to it. The author talks about the paper – emphasising the main points in their own words and showing their enthusiasm for the concept and the future of their project. So it’s supplementary to the paper, but it’s an amazing addition to it. As the video plays, the sections of the text that they’re talking about are highlighted by the side, and there are links to supplementary information. The video can show the experimental apparatus, talk about the motivation for the paper… and best of all, you get an idea of the personalities behind the research and a much better idea of the reasons that they think it’s important. I’m convinced that it’s really a tool of the future in publishing scientific papers.
To start with, I’m getting involved in the process of getting more scientists to make these “pubcasts” about their research, and I’ll make a pubcast myself soon too. The project is in the very early stages – it’s just had its first birthday, but the website is impressive even though it’s currently not overflowing with content. It also has a video section where anyone can post a scientific video that doesn’t have to be linked with a specific publication, and for example there are schoolkids on there, making videos about their scientific projects. It will also be a great tool for kids to see some scientists in action and give them a chance to have a go themselves (even though the scientists will be talking at the level of their peers, and not necessarily for a non-scientific audience). As someone who has a bit of a bee in my bonnet about how scientists communicate with each other and the public, I’m very excited about being involved.
Would you use this? Would you make a video yourself? Personally, I would love to see and hear the authors of papers that I’m reading talk about their work. I haven’t been this excited about a piece of online technology since I first saw skype. Are you excited too? Have a look. I’d be fascinated to hear your comments.