Get Visual, Get Visible: Part 1- How 7 Publishers are Introducing Multimedia in Journal Workflows

Get Visual, Get Visible

Author: Sunaina Singh

There has been a meteoric rise in the number of journals and overall research output in recent years. In this backdrop of information overload and end-users being pressed for time, adopting multimedia channels in content workflows can benefit both content providers and researchers.

Digital transformation and interactive multimedia have thrown open new dimensions for academics to collect data, search and access research materials, and disseminate their work. Journals are increasingly moving away from the print format towards web-based content.

Further, alternative dissemination platforms (social media, blogs, websites) facilitate the engagement of a larger audience. In this ever-evolving scenario, publishers are increasingly featuring visual abstracts and video summaries, which can be shared widely. It is easy for journals and content creators to incorporate graphical and video abstracts into their workflows. Impact Science, a leading provider of scientific publishing services, can support publishers in entering this promising new space.

A picture is worth a thousand views

Humans are known to process visual data better than other forms of data. In fact, communication via images and videos is overtaking text messaging. Accordingly, research dissemination needs to adapt in this post-text world. One way to do this is using the graphical abstract. Elsevier defines it as “a single, concise, pictorial and visual summary of the main findings of the article.” A graphical or visual abstract essentially conveys technical information accurately, distilling the essence of the study in a visually appealing way. The feature allows easy explanations of complex concepts and has a high recall value. Meanwhile, video abstracts or summaries enable authors to break down findings through narration and animation into a digestible format. These formats can be included in articles, shared on social media, and used in presentations by authors and readers. Encountering images or short videos on social media feeds during non-targeted browsing is akin to flipping the pages of a print journal and stopping at a page that catches your eye.

Revamping workflows: some publisher success stories

1. Expanding boundaries: Brill

Brill is one of the world’s oldest publishing houses, with an established presence in humanities publications. Even well entrenched publishers like Brill feel a pressing need to remain relevant in the future. They recently turned to Impact Science for solutions to establish links with new audiences in an innovative manner and identify exciting ways to showcase their flagship product, Linguistic Bibliography Online (LBO). Armed with Brill’s specifications and the company’s brand image and product USP, Impact Science designed an integrated package to tell end-users the story of Brill.

Animated explainer video introducing LBO
Animated explainer video introducing LBO
Static infographic highlighting the features of LBO
Static infographic highlighting the features of LBO

This contained a short introductory video, a video teaser, a video summary with subtitles in five languages, and a web story to be displayed on Brill’s homepage. To promote Brill’s new product— LBO, Impact Science created a multi-faceted communication package, including an animated video summary, a video teaser in 5 different languages, and interactive and static infographics. This captivating promotional strategy for both their brand and product served well to engage users and audiences, evidenced by new and higher traffic to their site and inquiries into their other products.

2. Providing unique author solutions: Hindawi

Hindawi, one of the world’s fastest growing scientific research publishers (recently acquired by Wiley), launched a new author services section on its website. Editage and Impact Science joined hands with Hindawi to create this solution, which provides authors with an array of useful services to support them during and beyond the publication process. Among these, research promotion services such as Shareable Research Summary, Research Impact Infographic, and Video Byte, offered through Impact Science, can help authors maximize the visibility and impact of their published work. Dr. Sarah Greaves, Chief Publishing Officer at Hindawi, shared “Our goal is to make the process of manuscript preparation as easy as possible for all our authors by giving them access to tools that will help them increase the accessibility of their work and ensure their science can be widely disseminated and understood.”

An example of an infographic created by Hindawi Research Promotion Services
An example of an infographic created by Hindawi Research Promotion Services

3. Making a figure talk: Figure360 by Cell Press

Video rendering of a figure for Figure360
Video rendering of a figure for Figure360

The video format has asserted its dominance across social platforms. Editors at Cell Reports wanted to go a step beyond “static” highlights and graphical abstracts and attempt something more dynamic. They tried out short videos, akin to a “talking figure.” This feature, called Figure360, enables readers to quickly assimilate the key points and take-home message of a paper. The dynamic format of Figure 360 makes a paper more accessible to broader scientific audiences, amplifying core points with clarity.

Impact Science hosted a web portal with Cell Press and created 31 Figure360 videos for 11 Cell Press journals. In a reader survey, 63% stated that Figure360 helped them to easily and rapidly comprehend content, and 66% said that it improved their content consumption experience.

Next Up

In Part 2 of the series, we will be looking at some prominent innovations top publishers have introduced into the content workflow to stay relevant in this digital era. Stay tuned!

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