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Web site lets author explain paper

BY JONATHAN HORN

Contributor

Earth to all science majors: research just got a whole lot easier.

The days of sifting through long, technical journal articles for that one sentence to back up a thesis are coming to an end.

Now, thanks to SciVee.tv, started in part by UCSD pharmacology professor Philip Bourne, those who write the research now explain it in YouTube-style streaming videos. But it goes one step further. The videos are marked to correspond with certain parts of a journal entry, so a viewer can go directly to the section that needs most clarification.

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“The publishing model was changing, the Internet has changed everything,” Bourne said. “Going back 100 years ago or so was the closed-access (publishing) model, whereby the reader pays to look at the material. But scientists have been disillusioned with that kind of model … so we then moved to this open-access model where people pay to publish.”

A researcher can upload a video to the site for free, but it costs money to utilize the patent-pending synchronization service. One synchronized video upload costs $300, with each additional one being cheaper than the previous.

“Reading the scientific material on the screen, you look at this and suddenly read it twice, you don’t really understand what’s going on,” Bourne said of the site. “You click, the author pops up, he or she doesn’t tell you from the beginning, but from the point relevant to where you’re looking.”

Bourne said the upload process is very simple, and takes roughly 10 minutes.

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“We have an online way of doing this that is easy for the author to do,” he said.

But perhaps the best news for students is that many of the 15,000 peer-reviewed scientific periodicals that do not have the resources to put video content on the Web, are now utilizing SciVee.tv.

“Over the last decade or so, most of (the journals) have moved in some form online,” said SciVee.tv Chief Executive Officer Marc Friedmann of Solana Beach. “What they haven’t done is bring in video, so SciVee invented the ability for researchers to take video of their topic and then synchronize it on the web with the journal article they’ve had peer-reviewed.”

Originally launched by the National Science Foundation with the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UCSD and government funding, SciVee, with offices at UCSD, is now marketing its synchronization service as a way to turn itself into a profitable business.

“YouTube for science is one of the early labels that we got and that’s still largely true,” Friedmann said.