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GI endoscopy demonstrated in open access video journal

The Editor-in-Chief writes about lessons learned and next steps – including the possibility of other fields using this format

The communication of science is becoming more visual. As a result, science is not only more entertaining but more impactful when it comes to demonstrating and learning new procedures. So the question for practitioners is: Why read a long and detailed article about a procedure on paper if you can watch a moderated video in a fraction of the time?

Elsevier Connect Contributor

Jürgen Pohl, MD, PhDDr. Jürgen Pohl is Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier's Video Journal and Encyclopedia of GI Endoscopy (VJGIEN). He is Head of the Department of Gastroenterology and Interventional Gastroscopy at Vivantes Klinikum im Friedrichshain in Berlin and holds a professorship at the Heidelberg University Hospital.

Gastrointestinal endoscopy (GI) – the field  I work in – is becoming increasingly sophisticated and complex. We realized that we needed a new tool to demonstrate procedures in endoscopy, so we developed the Video Journal and Encyclopedia of GI Endoscopy (VJGIEN), launched last June. (As the first video journal in its field, it was featured in this Elsevier Connect article.) The format changed the traditional relationship between words and video; our focus is on providing hands-on video demonstrations with text modules that assist with additional background.

Now, it is time to draw some conclusions and discuss whether the format can also serve as a model for other disciplines where visual learning is beneficial, such as in cardiology.

What is VJGIEN?

VJGIEN is an online, open access video journal on ScienceDirect that illustrates clinical evidence, new techniques and clinical procedures in the field of endoscopy with a focus on video rather than text. Watching the videos assists clinicians in their diagnosis and helps them learn new procedures to apply in their work. The videos can serve as useful tools for endoscopy units and help them establish new procedures and therapies. Acting almost as a live simulation, the videos are largely uncut and give the viewers guidance by way of real-time demonstrations. Additional concise manuscripts accompanying each video detail the procedures and the findings in bullet points.

Why videos?

Watch a video in a ScienceDirect article. The video journal was created in response to an increasing demand for tools that promote reproducibility of procedures and consequent implementation of new techniques. The written word is insufficient in this regard. Although the videos are still framed with words and accompanied by audio comments, the best learning effect results from watching a procedure being actually conducted. The videos provide a guided approach while offering a look over the shoulder of a clinician who explains what they are doing step by step. Traditional formats that use the written word as the main communication channel can never create this kind of experience.

Response from the research community

Since June, we have received over 47,000 views; the usage has significantly increased since completing the full upload of the 250 encyclopedic videos in October. The journal videos are open access and can be viewed by anyone on video-endoscopy.com as well as on ScienceDirect and our YouTube channel.

The first video contributions were submitted by invitation. Now, our challenge is to motivate authors to send in their videos. We aim for high-quality video submissions from trendsetters in the field. A great incentive for authors is the broad visibility of their work by publishing open access.

Meanwhile, we are waiting to see whether our applications for PubMedCentral and a Thomson Reuters listing get accepted.

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Watch a video on the journal's YouTube channel

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Lessons learned

After watching all the demonstrations handed in so far, I have realized just how much we can learn from each other. The same problem is often addressed in different ways. This does not mean that one way is right and the other is wrong. (Almost) all ways lead to Rome. Watching other people's work encourages the viewer to question and sometimes adapt their own procedures.

Naturally this format can also be adopted by other disciplines. Elsevier has always considered VJGIEN a pilot project that could also be used in other areas, such as cardiology, where video demonstrations naturally make sense. Another Elsevier journal, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, has already started to replicate our model. The journal now offers video content with a very similar format to that of VJGIEN as a sub-offer to the traditional journal. The difference with our journal is that we catalog our entries so that videos of procedures are searchable in an encyclopedia. 

The future of VJGIEN and scientific knowledge sharing

Now that we have properly launched VJGIEN, we can work on the future development of the journal. One idea is to enable direct communication in communities through the platform the VJGIEN website provides. My aim is that the journal will eventually be used for live endoscopy trainings. There are a couple of symposiums around the world that show these live demonstrations, and we would like to connect with them to strengthen the live character of our product.

I believe that the future of scientific communication for clinicians lies in mobile access. Thus, they can update themselves on the latest techniques on the go – whether they are preparing for an examination at home or even during surgery. Our journal follows this trend by being available on tablets and smartphones. Demonstration will become more accepted and sought after by the research and scientific community focused on clinical solutions. The well-researched scientific article will never be entirely replaced by film. However the practical dimension of our field is asking for formats such as video for their capacity to improve reproducibility through one-to-one demonstrations.

In addition, a certain level of entertainment is much appreciated among the new generation of scientists and clinicians working with multimedia resources. Modern tools that simplify the production and cutting of film as well as possibilities to attach video equipment to medical appliances support this evolving trend.    

Partnering with a publisher

A large project such as VJGIEN can only be successfully realized through partnering with a large publisher supported by robust structures. Elsevier enables us to choose top-quality technology to produce high resolution videos and easily transfer them onto ScienceDirect, YouTube and our website. The quality of the footage is particularly important; we are used to employing highly sophisticated technology when conducting a clinical procedure and have little tolerance for a loss in quality when watching procedures on film. The clinician has to be sure that what they are seeing really is what they think they are seeing. A poor-quality video would not only be unattractive but potentially dangerous or just useless.

When launching an innovative new journal, of course all parties involved have to be patient with each other – we have certainly gone through a trial-and-error phase together, including all the hiccups you usually experience when developing something brand new. However, it was certainly worth it, and we are looking forward to taking VJGIEN to the next level.



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