PubCasts and SciVee

Have you noticed that everything is named in CamelCase these days? Anyway…

I’ve had a couple of conversations with Dr. Rachel Karchin here at the ICM regarding Open Access scientific publishing, and PLoS specifically. Last week, she forwarded an email to me regarding PubCasts on SciVee. (Example here.)

A “PubCast” is basically the same thing as a “SlideCast“. (Have you noticed that everything is named with “Cast” at the end lately, all spawned from the term “Broadcast” and made popular by “PodCast”?) Let’s start with a SlideCast. The idea with a SlideCast is that presentations are not composed merely of speaking or merely of slides. Many people make their presentations in such a way that the slides stand on their own, but these are typically awful presentations. They’re just slide-formatted outline notes. A good presentation requires the visuals and spoken commentary. In a SlideCast, slides with their various animations and transitions are shown with an audio narration by the presenter. PubCasts go one step further and actually include video of the presenter speaking along with the slides. They also preferably include the paper. I think the video is probably not necessary, unless it’s video of the person presenting in front of the actual slides, but that requires green screening or extremely high quality video (for the slides to be readable), both not worth the hassle.

On the whole, I think PubCasts are an excellent idea. A proper scientific presentation should get the audience engaged by getting them emotionally involved, making them see why they should be interested, while a paper gives all of the gory details. In this way, you get both together. How often do you have the paper handy to follow along when watching a scientific presentation? In my experience, pretty much never. People usually present the stuff they’re working on, not the stuff they’ve published (background excepted).

Unfortunately, I don’t have any true Open Access papers yet. My paper that’s supposed to come out next month will not be Open Access, as the fee from the publisher for it was outrageous, and I couldn’t really justify it to my advisor. Nonetheless, I already have a slide deck put together for the paper, and have presented it, so in the near future I’m planning to do a SlideCast of it and post it here on the blog.