How to Make a Video Abstract for Your Next Journal Article

As I’ve tried to demonstrate in this blog, video is a fantastic way to show off your research in a way that goes far beyond the traditional text-based paper. Today, I’d like to talk about a specific use of video to augment scientific articles. Science journals are beginning to publish video abstracts along with technical papers, an approach that is designed to increase the visibility of authors and their work.

What is a video abstract? A video abstract is a brief description of a technical paper in which the author(s) explain their work on camera, physically demonstrate their methods, use animations or simulations to illustrate concepts, and/or discuss the implications of their findings. By using video and other multimedia, authors can explain their work in a way that the print article cannot, an approach that provides a richer, more diverse experience for the readership. The following is a video abstract I created with a smartphone to demonstrate how easy it is.

Example of a video abstract:

Transcript of video abstract:

Download (PDF, 42KB)

Why would an author want to create a video abstract? Video allows much greater flexibility to an author in describing their work and to more effectively explain the significance of their findings. By posting a video on the internet, an author can raise the visibility of themselves and their research. Because search engines rank video high in relation to text-based descriptions, a video abstract can make an author’s work more visible and accessible to people searching for papers on that topic.

What journals or publishers accept video abstracts? At the moment, several science journals routinely accept video abstracts, including the New Journal of Physics and Cell, to name a couple. Other journals are experimenting with video abstracts but have only published a few so far. Many of these video abstracts are hosted on a YouTube channel (rather than the publisher website), which then means that the author can embed the video on their own website without worry of copyright infringement.  If journals in your field do not currently publish video abstracts, you can still prepare and publish your own video abstracts for any of your papers.

How do I make a video abstract if I do not have a media specialist to help me? So far, there are few guidelines or tutorials available to guide authors in this regard. In the tutorial below, I show how to create an effective, engaging, and professional-looking video abstract entirely with a smartphone. I emphasize use of a smartphone because many people already own one and know how to use it to shoot photos and video, the quality of the cameras in smartphones is high (and getting better), and movie editing software for smartphones is cheap and easy to use. These points are especially important for scientists working in developing countries and who have limited resources and budgets.

Make a Video Abstract Tutorial:

Transcript of tutorial:

Download (PDF, 54KB)

6 thoughts on “How to Make a Video Abstract for Your Next Journal Article

  1. Great tutorial – do you mind if we link to it from our journal website pages? I think it would be really useful for authors preparing video abstracts for publication.

  2. Pingback: We welcome video abstracts at the journal! – Environmental Education Research

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