The Need for Video in Scientific Communication

Open Access: PDF

Löwgren, Jonas. 2011. “The Need for Video in Scientific Communication”, Interactions xviii(1):22-25.

INTRODUCTION – In our academic field of inquiry – whether we call it interaction design, experience design, or new media – much of what we talk about is centered on experience. We design artifacts to catalyze new use experiences or to improve upon existing ones. We study existing artifacts and practices, again, increasingly with an eye toward use experiences. We do all this to construct and communicate knowledge, the signature task of an academic. But when we communicate the knowledge we have constructed, we do so almost exclusively in the medium of text, with a few images.
There seems to be room for some improvement in our choice of communication media. Christine Satchell reminds us interaction design has a proud tradition of using impulses from other fields – artistic as well as scientific – to improve upon its design and research methodologies. Doing the same for knowledge communication should not be entirely foreign to us. And indeed, it is easy to note how design-oriented researchers within our field are starting to use richer media to disseminate their results and how effective that form of communication may be.
A video forum has the potential to make the knowledge gained from scientific communication richer and more useful, by providing a deeper understanding of the experiential aspects of the published contributions. From the point of the view of the author/videomaker, however, it is not as clear that the new forum will be an attractive choice of publication venue for a knowledge contribution.

I think there are three crucial factors here. First, the new forum needs to be academically credible. If you publish a video article, it must be something you can put on your résumé of proper scientific publications, rather than having to lump it with general-interest magazine articles and public talks. A properly peer-reviewed forum, which is known to reject inadequate submissions and which resides within an archival scientific journal such as ACM CiE, might just do the trick. Second, the idea of publishing a video article might appeal to the more design-oriented researchers in our field as an innovative possibility and a way to engage in unconventional forms of expression (which, in my experience, is attractive to many designers). Third, the idea of communicating in video – and the necessary craft skills to produce video – is less foreign to our field than to many other scientific communities, which might mean that the initial threshold is not intolerably high.

© ACM, 2011. This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Interactions xviii(1):22-25, ISSN 1072-5520, (Jan/Feb, 2011)

Interactions is a RoMEO green journal: author can archive pre-print (ie pre-refereeing); author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing); author cannot archive publisher’s version/PDF.