SciVee: YouTube for Science!

From Slashdot, is news of new upcoming science 2.0 hotness called SciVee. Think of it as YouTube for Science. It comes by way of a partnership between the National Science Foundation, Public Library of Science and the San Diego Supercomputing Center.

This is such an awesome idea, and I hope it will revolutionize the way we communicate science.

Why is it such a good idea? Well, in the past, I’ve uploaded science videos, such as footage of chimpanzees doing what chimps do, to accompany reviews of research papers directly to YouTube. When I uploaded the video I underestimated the impact actually seeing a chimpanzee in the unique behavior that was documented in the research paper.  It now has over 80,000 views and two comments shy of breaking 200.

Having this sort of multimedia available helps people digest the otherwise dense content much more easily,

“Scientists can upload their research papers, accompanied by a video where they describe the work in the form of a short lecture, accompanied by a presentation. The formulaic, technical style of scientific writing, the heavy jargonization and the need for careful elaboration often renders reading papers a laborious effort. SciVee‘s creators hope that that the appeal of a video or audio explanation of paper will make it easier for others to more quickly grasp the concepts of a paper and make it more digestible both to colleagues and to the general public.”

Personally, I learn material much better when it comes from the mouth of one the authors of a paper. Most often, no one knows the content of a paper better than the people who wrote it, so to have an author explain their research in normal lingo is a phenomenal concept. I don’t know why anyone hasn’t jumped on an idea like this before.

But SciVee has some flaws that I see will hinder its growth. It is yet another social network to sign up for and yet another one to keep track of. I recently withdrew from over a dozen networks because they weren’t growing fast enough for me to be a part of.

Why founders of SciVee couldn’t fold this sort of service into an already established technology like YouTube, I don’t know. YouTube already has a massive userbase. A community of that size could not only expose videos and generate more discussion, but more people can be potentially educated, as opposed to a small, not-yet-cohesive community.

Furthermore, SciVee videos are currently kinda sorta proprietary in that I currently have no easy way to embed videos into blogs, and that will greatly determine how much I/we will use this service. Once SciVee understands the importance of blogs in communicating and distributing research, that may change… but for now, it is lacking a big feature that helped make YouTube, Google Video, etc. the big multimedia powerhouses they are now.

But I totally welcome this sort of innovation, especially as someone interested in the intersection of technology and anthropology. I hope some of the big names in anthropology start embracing new technology like this to distribute their research, thoughts, ideas. We’ll see if they do.

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