Watching Science Happen in JoVE

There is no shortage of movies and documentaries about science and scientists to watch when you take a break from experiments.  Did you know that when you turn on your computer you can also watch research taking place in hundreds of labs around the world?

JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) is a video journal- a peer-reviewed video journal no less. Part of JoVE’s mission, as stated on their site, is to increase reproducibility by making experimental processes and methods more transparent. JoVE includes hundreds of filmed segments that demonstrate research procedures and findings.  Observe the dissection of Drosophila ovaries to study mitochondrial structure and function.  See larval zebrafish consume lipids through fluorescence imaging to learn about metabolism and regulation. To watch these and other videos on biology, neuroscience, bioengineering and more go to the Database A-Z list on the library website and you’ll find JoVE under “J”.*

Videos, such as the ones featured in JoVE, are used not only to communicate the work of scientists, but also to teach.  JoVE video segments can help students visualize a lab experiment before they do it.   These videos can also be helpful to professors and TAs working in flipped classrooms, where students watch lecture and lab content outside the classroom.  Through video students get the chance to see demonstrations on equipment not available locally.

JoVE isn’t just an educational tool, it is a publication model.  You may want to play it safe and publish in a traditional journal in your field, but consider using video elements to expand your article’s reach. CellPress, which publishes Cell and Current Biology, has a video abstract option. Even if the journal you publish in doesn’t include such options, consider what you could do yourself.

Creating a video like the ones described above can help get your research noticed. It allows you to describe your work in a way that is accessible to a wide range of people.  Whether you are seeking funding or looking for research partners, creating a video is a good medium to share research widely on social networking sites such as Twitter and Mendeley.

The JoVE team films and produces the videos of accepted manuscripts, so you don’t need any movie-making know how, but this isn’t the only option.  Consider making your own video.  Thousands of scientists and researchers publish on YouTube and other websites every day.  Scientists with experience in creating multimedia such as The Scientist Videographer, offer many tips on everything from using a GoPro to adding captions to recording quality audio tracks inexpensively. Here at UIC there is a multimedia lab (in the library!), supported by ACCC’s Learning Technology Solution Team, that provides equipment and editing assistance.

There are lots of places to view science videos on the web.  I’ve just discovered Science Sketches, which focuses on communicating ideas in 2 minutes or less. What is your favorite? Email me at

*One caveat to using JoVE is that interface doesn’t clearly identify UIC subscribed modules.  We only subscribe to the modules listed on the Database A-Z list.  Stick to the modules with the colored in icons.