The latest in online video sharing

An important aspect of scientific research is that others should be able to reproduce the work. This is significant partly, because it serves as a check on the system, but also, because it allows others to build on previous achievements. Replication is not trivial to achieve, however, given that studies often rely on complex methodologies. There is rarely enough room in journal articles or books to devote sufficiently detailed descriptions of how data were collected and procedures administered. Moreover, even with adequate space for text, many actions are hard to explain without visuals.

This is where recently launched JoVE comes to the rescue. The Journal of Visual Experiments publishes short videos of procedures used in biology labs. Former Princeton graduate student Moshe Pritsker created the peer-reviewed online journal with Nikita Bernstein. The inspiration came back in his graduate school days when he had often been frustrated in the lab while trying to conduct experiments based on others’ descriptions of the necessary methods. The goal of the journal is to assist others with such tasks. The publication has an editorial board and submissions are reviewed before a decision is made about publication.

What a great use of the Web for dissemination of material that would otherwise be difficult to get to relevant parties. [Thanks to Mark Brady for pointing me to the Nature article – that is now behind subscription wall – about JoVE. That piece served as the source for some of the above.]

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