Researchers spend an average of 9.3 hours a week on browsing, searching for and reading academic literature1. And with the volume of research continuing to rise, that figure will likely grow.
This sea of literature also presents authors with a challenge – finding a way to ensure that their novel research gets the attention it deserves.A new initiative by Elsevier's Article of the Future team – AudioSlides – aims to address both these issues. AudioSlides are 5-minute webcast-style presentations created by the authors of journal articles. Using a blend of slides (PDF and PowerPoint) and voice-over, authors can explain their research in their own words. The resulting presentation appears alongside their published article on ScienceDirect and, like the abstract, can be viewed by subscribers and non-subscribers alike.
Because AudioSlides presentations are made available under a Creative Commons open-access license, authors can also embed them on their personal or institutional website.[caption align="alignnone" width="800"]
An AudioSlides presentation appears in the right-hand pane of the article on ScienceDirect.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_22763" align="alignleft" width="162"] Hylke Koers, PhD[/caption]Dr. Hylke Koers, Content Innovation Manager at Elsevier and the project lead, said AudioSlides offer authors a unique opportunity to share personal insights into their research, highlight salient points and — perhaps more importantly — explain why the paper is relevant to other researchers. In the AudioSlides presentation below, Dr. Koers explains a little more about the concept.
"With the introduction of AudioSlides, we also want to boost the paper's appeal to the younger generation of researchers who have grown up with YouTube and enjoy using that format for learning," he said.
Before heading down the AudioSlides path, Dr. Koers considered various formats, including video – for example, a film clip of the author talking about their paper. However, all that changed when he carried out a researcher survey. He explained:
The authors we spoke to said they didn't really feel comfortable videoing themselves and they feared it may prove a lot of work, for example, editing etc. … Then we questioned readers, who told us it was the research they were interested in, not the author, and they would rather see information about the paper's content on their screens. That made AudioSlides the obvious choice. The time-requirement is minimal and authors don't have to download or install any software, all they need to do is log on to the AudioSlides website.
Dr. Koers pointed out that what sets AudioSlides apart is that they don't form an integral part of the paper. Instead they are presentations about the article, created post-acceptance, and are not subject to peer review.The advantages of this include:
- Authors don't have to spend unnecessary time creating AudioSlides for papers that are eventually rejected.
- The workload of editors and reviewers is not increased by having to peer review the presentations.
- Publication of the paper is not delayed by the creation of an AudioSlides presentation.
"What has been so interesting for me is that I have viewed some presentations in areas outside my own domain of knowledge — for example, health sciences — and I was left with the feeling that I really understood what was novel about the paper. That is quite an achievement on the author's part."[note color="#f1f9fc" position="center" width=800 margin=10]
What is the Article of the Future?The Article of the Future is an ongoing project that explores better ways of presenting online journal articles and enriching their content. The project aims to:
- Break away from the limitations of the traditional ink-on-paper article format.
- Enable researchers to publish their work in all its dimensions, including digital content such as data, code and multimedia.
- Take advantage of modern web technology to create an optimal and rich reading experience.[/note]
Feedback from authorsAuthors are invited to supply feedback on their AudioSlides experience, which is closely monitored by Dr. Koers and his colleagues. So far, more than 96 percent have said they find the service useful or somewhat useful.[caption id="attachment_26243" align="alignleft" width="392"] Authors who prepare AudioSlides presentations are surveyed on their thoughts. So far, more than 96 percent have found the service useful or somewhat useful.[/caption]
Dr. Mor Peleg, an associate professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Haifa, who recently produced an AudioSlides presentation about a paper due to be published in the Journal of Biomedical Informatics,2 said: "I really enjoyed seeing some of the AudioSlides presentations. They provide a more personal and lively way of delivering the main message of the papers."
Dr. Tilbe Göksun, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania who co-produced a presentation to accompany a paper in Neuropsychologia3, said: "The format provides researchers with the opportunity to express the gist of their papers in an easily accessible way. The reader also gets a quick grasp about the paper that cannot be explained in a short written abstract. By embedding the video in personal research or lab websites, the findings in the paper can be reached by a broader audience."
The addition of AudioSlides was also a plus for Dr. Gavin Killip, a Senior Researcher at the University of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute, whose AudioSlides presentation will appear alongside his article in Energy Policy.4 "I think it is a really nice feature of publishing with Elsevier," he said.
"They bring a whole new dimension to the delivery of this material," said Dr. Emre A. Veziroglu, a Quality Systems Manager at UTC Aerospace Systems ESC and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, published by Elsevier on behalf of the International Association for Hydrogen Energy.
Dr. Koers said the feedback he has received has also proved useful for making improvements to the AudioSlides web tool and user instructions.More than 1,160 Elsevier journals now offer the opportunity to create AudioSlides, and more journals have expressed interest. Over 200 authors have already published an AudioSlides presentation, and many have expressed interest. Examples of recent presentations are available to view in our Elsevier.com AudioSlides gallery.
Dr. Koers and his colleagues are now also making it possible for authors to download their presentations so they have the option to promote them through other channels, such as YouTube, or in presentations at workshops and conferences.
How it worksAuthors will automatically receive an invitation to create an AudioSlides presentation once their paper has been accepted by one of the participating journals. Following registration, they will be directed to a specially-developed web-based tool, where they can log in at any time to upload slides and record a voice-over per slide.
Learn moreFor further information, visit the FAQ or contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on Elsevier's article content innovations is available on Elsevier.com[divider]
References1. Researcher Insights Index - Reading Behaviour; Research & Academic Relations, Elsevier. More than 50,000 individuals were randomly selected from across 1.2 million authors that published in 2009 (source: Scopus). They were approached to complete the study in Jan 2012. There were 4,225 respondents. Data has not been weighted, responses are representative of the Scopus data by discipline and country. Error margin is ± 1.3%, at 90% confidence levels.
2. Mor Peleg, "Computer-interpretable clinical guidelines: A methodological review," Journal of Biomedical Informatics, In Press, Uncorrected Proof.
3. Tilbe Göksun et al., "Naming and gesturing spatial relations: Evidence from focal brain-injured individuals," Neuropsychologia, Volume 51, Issue 8, July 2013.
4. Gavin Killip, "Products, practices and processes: exploring the innovation potential for low-carbon housing refurbishment among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK construction industry," Energy Policy, In Press, Corrected Proof.
[divider][caption id="attachment_17843" align="alignleft" width="129"] Linda Willems[/caption]