How to promote your research in the media with a video abstract

You know it, and I know it: your research could have a greater impact on society.

But first, the public needs to hear about it. Or dare I say, they need to see it for themselves.


One of the most powerful ways to spread your research findings to the masses is by harnessing the power of a video abstract.


mac computer scientific media release video abstract

Yep that’s right!


In the time needed to read through a detailed Wikipedia article, you could instead watch 2-3 video abstracts on YouTube and commit so much more to memory.

That’s because these formats are:


  • Audiovisual. This means you can more effectively remember content through two channels: hearing and seeing. Science has backed this up on multiple occasions, like here for example.

  • Mostly designed for a layman, non-expert audience. This means more people can access, appreciate, and comprehend the work.

  • Able to tell a compelling and concise story which can ultimately captivate your audience.


You’ll see these exact same characteristics described for movies and documentaries, which is why they’re such an accessible and fun way to digest science. To make sure you’re convinced, we’ve also written about why videos perform far better than written or graphical representations of research, or if you prefer video (which you should, if you’re still reading this) you could even watch our video abstract about video abstracts.


But there’s one more thing that the video format is good for.


Videos are excellent food for the media.


If you’ve got a good story, that’s great. But a solid video abstract will really attract the journalists, especially if it’s included as part of a media release. Put two and two together, and you’ve set the scene for the media to feature your research in the news. That’s because it’s becoming a common requirement for online articles to have strong visuals, either as a video or at least an infographic embedded in the article, since it greatly impacts their overall readership. A subset of these article readers would then be more interested in reading your paper.


So everybody wins!


flowchart video abstract and media release in response to journalists

There are so many reasons as to why it’s beneficial to be featured in the media, and now you know the secret!


On top of this, research visibility is becoming increasingly more vital in a world where over 7,000 new papers are flooding journals every single day. So what better way is there to stand out, compared to having your research on video?


hand emerging from pile of scientific papers holding a pipette science

Still need to take my word for it? You can hear it straight from the other researchers.


Check out our examples of how video abstracts, have helped researchers to unleash their impact by getting an amazing amount of media coverage!



Laying waste to oil spills



Summary


Marine pollution in the form of oil spills is extremely harmful to ecosystems and ocean-related industries. Indeed, removing immense quantities of oil from the sea is no easy task. Most removal methods are extremely expensive to carry out on a large scale, especially for countries with lower economic resources, where oil spills occur most frequently. Because of this economic barrier, we need a more affordable means of cleaning up the oil.

That’s where researchers, including a team from Flinders University, came up with a unique solution. They created a type of rubber, made from cheap and sustainable waste materials, that could effectively absorb oil from water like a sponge. On top of this, the rubber floats on water, so it can be easily retrieved and reused multiple times! Handy!



Impact


Dr Justin Chalker at Flinders University came to us in early 2018 and entrusted us with the task of sharing his research in a visually impactful way. But simply explaining the chemistry behind his research wouldn’t necessarily float everyone’s boat, so there needed to be a simpler way. Without a doubt, a video abstract detailing the big picture implications of his research was what he needed.


Several big-name media outlets immediately noticed the story, such as The Advertiser and ABC Science. His video abstract combined with these articles have since contributed to greater readership and real world impact for Dr. Chalker and the team!


media articles about scientific research studies

You can hear it straight from Dr. Chalker himself who advocates strong beliefs regarding how research could be made more impactful.





A glimpse into the future



Summary


Scientists have been closely monitoring how individual marine species have responded to climate change over the years. However, not much is known about how whole ecosystems will be affected by climate change, especially in our heavily acidified oceans.

That’s why researchers at the University of Adelaide aimed to predict how increased carbon emissions, which make the ocean more acidic, would have negative consequences on marine ecosystems in the future. They found that under these conditions, certain species would thrive better than others, meaning that ocean biodiversity is at extreme risk if our carbon footprints aren’t properly handled.


Indeed, everyone on Earth plays a part in ensuring the future of our oceans. 🌊



Impact


In mid-2017, we were approached by the former supervisory team of our very own director Dr Tullio Rossi, to create a video abstract for their latest research findings. While the science itself was complex and riddled with statistics, a story about the seas in relation to our carbon footprint was a story that we knew could be understood by everyone.


And before we knew it, it was a story well-received! Our video abstract was quickly noticed by several international news outlets and featured in the articles (in multiple languages even!) With more people having access to this research story, the more people will be aware about the implications of their carbon emissions.


media articles about scientific research with video abstracts


DNA nanotechnology for wound healing



Summary


While our bodies have no issues with healing scrapes and bruises, the story is different in the case of deeper injuries like a broken bone. Without surgery, therapeutics for such wounds simply cover up the damage, rather than fixing the problem directly. This is because most therapeutics can’t easily access these deeper tissues.


But what if there was a way to more effectively deliver therapies to deep wounds?


Researchers at Imperial College London have brewed up exactly what we needed. Using advanced nanotech, they have figured out a way to deliver growth and repair hormones into cells using a DNA-based package called Traction-Force Activated Payloads, or TrAPS for short.


Express shipping is one of the world’s greatest inventions — now we have it in nano form! 🌟

Impact


There’s nothing more exciting in science than sharing your breakthroughs with the world. That was the first step that Dr Almquist’s team at Imperial College London decided to take, when they got in contact with us to produce a video abstract in early 2019.


And let me tell you, it became an internet SENSATION!

Thirty-seven news outlets picked up the story, and over 5,000 people watched the video abstract on YouTube, Twitter and other social media networks.


Many news outlets embedded the video abstract directly into their articles, giving Dr Almquist’s team the control they needed over how their research was interpreted by the media and presented to the public.


On top of this, their study was in the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric. In an academic world moving away from the old “Publish or Perish” model, this was a game-changer.



media news articles for scientific research and video abstract


Immunotherapeutics vs. the Superbugs



Summary


Antibiotics are our frontline medications against the toughest of bacterial infections. In fact, we use them so much that certain species of bacteria have unfortunately figured out how to protect themselves from them. These resistant species are often referred to as ‘superbugs’, and Staphylococcus aureus (a.k.a. Golden Staph) is a particularly tough one to treat. With superpowers like antibiotic resistance and invisibility against our immune system, we need to craft new weapons against it.


That’s why researchers at Monash University have worked on immunotherapeutics: a chemical treatment for boosting our immune system. The core of it all is to ensure that our immune system is able to see these bacteria again. So they’ve found a way to tag them using a chemical attractant that our immune cells can easily identify. Once the bacteria’s on the radar, the immune system’s cannons go blazing and the enemies are wiped out!

Impact


We collaborated in mid-2021 with Dr Jennifer Payne produce a fun-filled video abstract that portrayed the immune system as the hero, and Golden Staph as the elusive super villains. A representation like this would be more easily understood and widely appreciated by the public in order to foster awareness about antibiotic resistance.


Indeed, the media loved this video abstract too! In an article from The Guardian, our video was proudly featured to help explain the complexities of the work conducted by the Dr Payne and the Cryle lab.


media article about scientific research with a video abstract


Species on the move



Summary


Life goes to wherever the wind takes it, and this is especially true for many species in an age of climate change where the environment is undergoing major ecological changes. This can result in large-scale migrations of species that we simply aren’t prepared for. Imagine: a whole swarm of mosquitoes which could transmit diseases moving up to colder countries! At this rate, tropical diseases won’t stay tropical for long!


But it isn’t just animals, even certain plants are responding by growing in previously uninhabitable regions like the Arctic. What implications does all this change have for future ecosystems? There are many sides to this picture, and awareness is the first step in ensuring government bodies and world leaders start listening to the science.

Impact


There isn’t a day when we aren’t proud of this video abstract. That’s because it marked a huge stepping stone in the growth of Animate Your Science as you know it today.


It was our very first client job.


In fact, we love it so much we dedicated a whole article to it, so make sure to check that out!


But to put it in a nutshell, in 2017 we received our launch order from (formerly Associate) Professor Gretta Pecl to produce a simple video abstract about her research. At the time, we had simple resources available to us in terms of video production, but we had all the passion a science communicator could ever need to make sure we’d do justice to this great piece of research.

This passion would then result in a video boasting nearly 9,000 views on YouTube, featured in The Conversation, which ultimately bumped Professor Gretta Pecl’s Altmetric score to incredible heights. Without a doubt, researchers with this level of impact are definitely moving up to higher altitudes!


media article about scientific research with a video abstract

Main take-aways


  1. Video can be appreciated and consumed by a broader audience who wouldn’t otherwise read the paper.

  2. Journalists LOVE video material for popular science articles. Be smart. You scratch their back, they scratch yours.



Ready to promote your research?

The countless days and nights you’ve spent on your research deserve to be acknowledged. While we agree that the feeling of publication is an incredible one, there’s an equally great feeling when your work is recognised by the world on a completely separate platform.

And indeed, that world stage platform is accessed through video and the media.


Let’s roll out the red carpet for your media debut 🎥✨


red carpet rolled out for scientists with a video abstract

At Animate Your Science, we’re here to ensure your research story is broadly shared with the worldwide community and not just with scientists in your field. New modern attributions to success are now being based on research visibility. With increased visibility, you can expect a boost in citations, a bump in your Altmetric score, and a solid reputation for all of your future work.

Contact us today to find out more about promoting your research!


Until next time!

Authors:

Dr Juan Miguel Balbin

Dr Flynn Slattery

Dr Tullio Rossi

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