PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Audiovisual tools in science communication
Mapping video abstracts published in scientific Journals of Ecology

Miguel FerreiraCentre for Functional Ecology, University of Coimbra. Portugal


  • Helena FreitasCentre for Functional Ecology, University of Coimbra   Portugal
  • Antí³nio GranadoNOVA FCSH, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa   Portugal
  • Betina LopesCIDTFF, University of Aveiro   Portugal
  • João LoureiroCentre for Functional Ecology, University of Coimbra   Portugal
In recent years the use of video by the scientific community has grown. More and more researchers, communicators, and other players are using audiovisual media to deconstruct complex phenomena, to simplify ideas and to tell their story.  An example of this trend is the video abstract. It represents a potential unifying model that could improve science communication to the journal audience but also to the wider public, as it is an accurate but simplified synopsis of the main methods, findings, and the contribution of the study to the field.

Inserted in a larger project that aims to evaluate the global impact of science communication, through the use of video abstracts this work explores Ecology video abstracts at an international level. We identified the video abstracts on 29 scientific journals, based on impact, representativeness and visibility criteria. A data base with 171 videos, from 7 publishers and 17 different channels was constituted. Each video was viewed and analyzed for different parameters.  Statistical analysis considering the relationship among these parameters was realized.

Results indicate that between 2010 and 2018 the number of video abstracts increased sevenfold. Despite this growth, there was no solid strategy for disseminating the videos. While most of them are still associated with classic models, such as documentaries, disruptive formats such as animation are the ones that arouse greater interest. Videos that last between 2-3 minutes and that are professionally produced show a significantly higher number of daily views and their papers garnered a higher number of citations per day.

These data will help to develop a model for validating the quality of an Ecology video abstract and provide new clues to the global study of audiovisual science communication for future evaluation in formal and non-formal education, as well as, in other actors and stakeholders.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Category: Insight talk
Theme: Technology