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Editorial Snapshot: Is multimedia the future of academic publishing?

- C.C., Editor

Previously, we have discussed the benefits brought to academic publishing by the use of audio and visual content. Visual content increases engagement, which should come as no surprise, since the vast majority of internet traffic consists of video content. In this issue, we will explore a natural progression from video abstracts: the video journal.

Video journals were first pioneered by the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), founded in 2006 as an open-access peer-reviewed scientific journal specializing in the publication of experimental methods in video format. According to JoVE, after acceptance of a submitted manuscript, the article will be published, and subsequently, a video of the technique is filmed by professional videographers in their network (with an option for self-production of the video).

One researcher noted that peer-reviewed video journals such as JoVE present enormous potential, challenging existing publishing practices while helping move alternative media formats to the mainstream.

More practically and specifically speaking, researchers are arguing that publications such as JoVE allow for a monumental shift in the degree of ease of reproducibility for experimental methodologies that are, with passing time, becoming ever more complex. There is a growing consensus that the traditional publishing paradigm, born hundreds of years ago, is no longer serving the modern and highly technical needs of researchers today.

Finally, given the difficulty of securing funding, it might be heartening for many scientists and their affiliated institutions to know that use of video journals can be expected not only to increase productivity, but also to result in cost savings, with one publication reporting on case studies identifying savings of up to $40,000. These savings are thought to result from the more efficient transfer of knowledge between physically distant laboratories, saving on travel and training expenses, as well as time.

While academia is notoriously slow on the uptake of new paradigms, the increasing recognition of the utility of video journals could harken a new age for transfer of critical knowledge among researchers across the globe.

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