Scientific journal is a lot like YouTube

Meet JoVE. It’s peer-reviewed. It’s indexed. And it’s fun.

Are you tired of reading textbooks and journal articles? Imagine if you could research your lab report or learn an experimental technique by watching a YouTube video.

I just learned that you basically can, thanks to the Journal of Visualized Experiments. It’s like YouTube, except you’re not watching videos of kittens playing patty cake or people doing stupid stuff with trampolines. JoVE publishes peer-reviewed research just like any other academic journal, but in video format. It’s even indexed in PubMed Central, which is the Google of biochemical and life sciences research. At five-years old, JoVE may be the only journal of its kind. But one can imagine there will soon be more like it.

According to JoVE, the increasing complexity of modern research means that traditional print articles just don’t cut it anymore. Research has evolved, so the way we share the information needs to evolve too. And that’s where JoVE comes in. Instead of reading about a new method for rapidly genotyping mice, students and scientists can actually see the experiment unfold.

The ‘video articles’ themselves are organized like a traditional journal article, with an abstract and list of materials at the bottom of the page, plus a table of contents beside the video that lets you skip between the introduction, procedure, results, and conclusion. The videos are professionally produced, which is another big difference from your typical YouTube video of a skateboard trick gone wrong. JoVE has a network of professional videographers around the world. In other words, JoVE articles are much closer to Discovery Channel documentaries than YouTube videos.

Something that JoVE does have in common with YouTube is the comments section, where viewers can ask questions about the procedure or results of the experiment. In other words, JoVE has the best of both worlds—the credibility of the scientific method, and the interactivity of social media.

Now I have to get back to my lab report. Just as soon as I’m done watching this video about the effects of weightlessness on mental performance.