Physics journal gets video abstracts

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The New Journal of Physics has recently launched video abstracts. Tim Smith explains how this will help communicate research

More than ever, researchers interact only with the electronic version of a research journal – a situation underlined by the way in which electronic-usage data alone is increasingly used by libraries to justify journal subscriptions.

Building upon and (in part) in recognition of this trend, we are also seeing a growing demand within the physics community from scientists looking to exploit the potential of the online medium as authors. The use of (for example) high-density images, video footage, animations and interactive 3-D renderings have now become increasingly commonplace as new and more sophisticated authoring tools emerge. In addition to adding genuine scientific value to an article, the potential is now there for publishers to embrace online and social media streams to raise the visibility and profile of both scientific content and, importantly, authors themselves.

It is with this backdrop that February saw the open-access New Journal of Physics introduce video abstracts as a brand new archival content stream that will accompany articles in the journal. Representing a particular investment as part of IOP Publishing’s ongoing commitment to develop and offer technological solutions to improve global scientific communication, this new medium aims to provide all authors with the opportunity to go beyond the constraints of their written article to personally convey the importance of their work using novel means.

In line with the journal’s open-access model, video abstracts are free to view and geared around a fundamental journal objective to make (frequently complex) physics research and concepts as accessible and available as possible worldwide. With a view to maximising community engagement, interaction and visibility, the functionality and usage terms of the videos also embrace the growing trend for content to be shared online through social media channels.

‘Authors can now convey their research in new and novel ways that will provide increased visibility for them and, we hope, an enriched user experience for our wide readership,’ said Eberhard Bodenschatz, editor-in-chief of the journal.

Authors share this enthusiasm too: ‘By featuring the people behind the science, video abstracts have the potential to convey inspiration and enthusiasm, and thereby the significance of scientific results, beyond the concise text of articles,’ commented Achim Kempf, Waterloo University, Canada, who is just one of the authors who has commented favourably on the project.

Tim Smith is senior publisher of New Journal of Physics