This article from the MAP Newsletter was first published on the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) website and is republished here with permission from ISMPP.
Citation: Jay Patel, Caroline Halford, and Andy Shepherd. “Beyond Words: How Voice, Graphics, and Video Are Changing the Way Researchers Reach Audiences.” The MAP, September 15, 2021. https://ismpp-newsletter.com/2021/09/15/beyond-words-how-voice-graphics-and-video-are-changing-the-way-researchers-reach-audiences/.
- Jay Patel, Head of Sales and Business Development (Americas) and Leading UN SDG Initiative at Cactus Communications;
- Caroline Halford, Digital Publishing Manager at Springer Healthcare Ltd;
- Andrew (Andy) Shepherd, Medical Writer, Envision Pharma Group, Formerly at Caudex Medical.
The earliest scientific journals ̶ the French Journal des sçavans and the English Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society ̶ were first published in 1665. In the 350 years since then, much has changed, but one thing has remained stubbornly constant. To this day, most published research follows the same original path: an author submits an article; editors decide if it may be worthy of acceptance; the article is sent for peer review; and, if accepted, it is published.
As a stark contrast, in the 30 years since Tim Berners-Lee proposed an idea he called the World Wide Web, publishing has been disrupted, evolving to become far more distributed – one of the biggest changes to the publishing industry to date. The growth and adoption of the internet and mobile technology have provided publishers and authors with new tools and options to better communicate their research, and allowed for increased reach, easier access, and a variety of new formats in which to present data compared with traditional printed media. These new digital developments are providing much-needed solutions to some of the various challenges faced by authors, publishers, and readers today.
More research is now being published each year than ever in the past. The number of scientific journals is estimated at around 30,000, with almost a million articles added to MEDLINE in 2019 alone! This level of output is impossible for any person to keep up with. One challenge for authors is how to stay up-to-date with developments in their own field, while they do their own research and write papers. This information overload may be even more acute for healthcare practitioners and others, who may have less time to read and remain informed in their field due to increasing workloads. For this reason, one challenge for both authors and funders is making sure their published research is both read and understood by the people who need to read it; to do this, it needs to stand out from the crowd to get the reader’s attention or be easily found using obvious search terms.
These factors underpin a need for methods to provide a shortcut to understanding, increase reach and engagement, and drive the impact of the research being published. Digital solutions can greatly help if implemented correctly, with the most prevalent being:
- Video abstracts
- Talking heads
- Infographics or visual abstracts
- Digital or “smart” posters
These article enhancements, used in addition to supporting content, such as slides, images, and data, can greatly help if implemented correctly, and more and more publishers are embracing these solutions. Today, a number of independent companies provide these services that did not exist even a few years ago, thanks to the rapid growth and interest in digital publishing.
This article and the accompanying resource, “Article Enhancements: A Beginners Guide,” on the topics below seek to inform, educate, and answer questions about many of the ways authors are now able to present data and their findings to readers. This is not intended as a complete guide or a single resource to answer all your questions, but as a living document that will be updated to keep up with new developments in the ever-evolving and innovative world of journal publishing.
Further details on the following types of article enhancements are available in this new resource, accessible through the ISMPP Member Center:
- Talking heads, video summaries, and video abstracts
- Infographics – visualizing data
- Podcasts – can you hear me now?
- Copyrights and digital features – know your rights
Special thanks to the following members of the ISMPP Social Media and Web-based Metrics Working Group who contributed to this article and the resource: Neil Adams (Karger Publishers) and Mike Gregg (Taylor and Francis).