Video is taking over science communication. And why not? Now that paper is outdated, the limitations of that ancient technology should not apply to scientific publishing any more. Just because paper cannot support movies does not mean that modern scientific papers should shy away from using them.
Last week saw the launch of SciVee, essentially an aggregator of science movies. Now, you may ask – why do we need yet another one of those sites? There are several out there already. Journal of Visualized Experiments is a real journal – the videos are submitted and reviewed first and, if accepted,
the authors are supposed to pay a fee to have the video published. All the videos accepted are grouped into Issues, they get DOI numbers and there is a way to refer to them as citations in future papers (or videos!). Lab Action is similar in style, but more like YouTube, i.e., people freely upload the videos which are subsequently rated and commented on by users. SciTalks is also YouTube-ish, but instead of experiments, it has lectures by scientists and science writers/journalists. So does VideoLectures. On the other hand, ScienceHack is a serach engine for science-related videos. Nature Preceedings allows the upload of a few different types of files, and will likely include videos in the future, I guess.
So, how is SciVee.com different?
First, SciVee was built in partnership with The Public Library of Science (PLoS), The National Science Foundation (NSF) and The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), so it has broad institutional support right from the start.
Second, SciVee allows only the upload of movies associated with papers published in Open Access Journals. Richard Cave explains. The format of the video will vary. The first one up is essentially the author’s summary narrated into the camera. The others will demonstrate experimental technique, or display animal behavior relevant to the paper, etc. So, if you publish a paper in an Open Access journal, you can upload it to SciVee and the two spaces where the video appears will automatically link to each other. If you find a video by searching SciVee, you will be able to click on a link and read the paper. If you read the paper which contains a video, a single click will get you to SciVee where you can find related videos, videos by the same authors, etc. This cute flow-chart explains the potential of this system far better than I can put into words.
Deepak Singh, Kambiz Kamrani and Attila Csordasz have already posted their first impressions. You can also see the first reviews on Slashdot, If:Book, Mashable, InformationWeek, NewTeeVee, The Q Function and many other blogs. Check it out.