I’ve written previously about what video abstracts are, how they can influence visibility of your research papers, and how to create a video abstract from start to finish. The beauty of video abstracts is that they are freely accessible on media-sharing platforms, unlike many journal articles locked behind paywalls. As I’ve said before, people cannot cite your work if they are unaware of it.
One of the issues I touched upon in describing video abstracts is the fact that few journals offer the option for authors to submit and display a video abstract. I think this is slowly changing as more publishers see the value of video in making scientific articles published in journals more discoverable.
In the meantime, what is an author to do if their journal of choice lacks this option?
As I suggested previously, an author can always post their video abstract on their own website, perhaps in their list of publications. Instead of a boring list of pubs, visitors to your professional website will see a video player with a visual abstract explaining your paper. There is now another alternative: WeShareScience, a website that allows users to create a video abstract (with an online tool) or to upload one created elsewhere. When you visit the site, you see a Pinterest-type platform with “pinned videos”, which can be grouped onto boards, which organize videos by topic. There is a browse option to see videos organized by discipline or topic. There are social media options allowing a visitor to “follow” a researcher as well as to share a video with others. Here’s a screenshot:
The site was created by Ryan Watkins, an associate professor at George Washington University in Washington D.C., to facilitate teaching students in his courses. He wanted to use video-based, rather than text-based, assignments to assess student learning. That is, he would assign students the task of creating a video abstract about research they were reading in class, and he could assess how well they understood it by the video they produced. Of course, it also taught them an essential communication tool that will be needed by 21st century scientists. The WeShareScience platform was created to allow students to more easily create video abstracts and for him to easily aggregate and organize the student videos. The WeShareScience site is also open to anyone wishing to create a board to display their own research or that of someone else. Ryan has written an article, published on the Wiley Exchanges blog, about his approach to student learning. Another article on the Wiley Exchanges blog by Victoria Dickerson focuses on using video abstracts to enhance the visibility and usability of journal articles.
Check out WeShareScience and see what you think. The availability of such platforms will likely increase in the future, so that there may be other options to promote the visibility of your research. However, I do recommend that you submit your video abstract to the journal (if they provide that option), since research by Scott Spicer shows that a majority of views occur on the journal’s website compared to views on YouTube. However, you may reach additional viewers, especially those outside your field, by posting a video abstract on a media-sharing platform (YouTube, Figshare). If you know of other platforms where researchers can post video abstracts, please leave a comment.