August 15th, 2012 by Joonas Rokka

I recently wrote a piece on the Financial Times (July 2, 2012 Soapbox column) about doing research on video format. This was a great opportunity to spur the discussion about the changing academia. In fact, as a result, I got over a dozen of encouraging emails and feedback from professionals around the world. Basically, we all agreed that the academia needs to reconsider the ways in which breakthrough research should to be delivered and be accessible to wider audiences.

To briefly summarize my points – and btw the full article can be found behind this link – I argued it is unfortunate that given the ubiquitous technologies including online streaming platforms (YouTube, Vimeo, TedTalk etc.) that are increasingly available to us, academia does not make much use of them. Rather, it seems, research is published in paper format and disseminated in selected international academic journals, making the impact of research relatively limited, at last in terms of potential readership. Echoing themes we’ve discussed in this blog, there lies several benefits in using video to explain and share research findings. However, audio-visual techniques used in conducting research, i.e. doing videographies, or in publishing findings require new skills (shooting film, editing, storytelling etc.) and equipment that academics are not used to. In addition, the present academic publication system with a heavy focus on journal rankings plays an important role in this (lack of) development too, as it keeps researchers occupied with writing research papers for the journals and leaving little time to consider the exchanges with the public.

Our humble attempts to experiment research on video have shown some interesting results already (see below stories about our projects in more detail). Stay tuned for more.

The cartoon (by Roger Beale, was pretty cool too!