The Bourne Innovation: UC Researchers Launch a YouTube for Scientists

11/24/08Follow @bvbigelow

As an editor at a growing online resource called the Public Library of Science, UC San Diego Professor Philip Bourne is in an ideal position to see the disruptive changes that are remaking the $11 billion scientific publishing industry. As it has with other types of traditional publishing, the Internet is turning the staid-but-highly lucrative business of academic publishing on its head.

Of 1.35 million peer-reviewed articles published in 23,750 journals of science, technology, and medicine in 2006, two Finnish researchers recently estimated that 8.1 percent are now available online at no cost. They estimate another 11.3 percent can easily be found on authors’ Web sites and free repositories.

Bourne saw the emerging trend and recruited Leo Chalupa, a friend and colleague at UC Davis, to launch an online video project to help scientists make their research better-known. Bourne and Chalupa were initially unsure if the project they started last year was merely an interesting science project or a business. But they decided to form a startup company earlier this year around what they call SciVee. It is basically a YouTube for academic researchers.

As Bourne explains in this SciVee video, “What we’re really trying to do here is to further the dissemination of science.”

Bourne says his first idea was to essentially create “pubcasts,” which typically consist of a 15-minute video in which the author of a published and peer-reviewed article explains the research and highlights the key findings. Presentations can include slides, computer-generated animations, and other graphics.

“What Phil and Leo saw was the opportunity to add new capabilities … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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