Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Visual biology protocols

I was reading The Scientist.com blog this morning and learned that Current Protocols from Wiley-Blackwell will collaborate with the Journal of Visualized Experiments to include video protocols in the journal. As cool as this sounded, I wondered more about Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE). I hope I am not the last one at Eckerd to discover this open access resource.

JoVE is an open access online journal that publishes biological experiments via video. The journal was developed in an attempt to alleviate some of the lengthy learning curve for new experimental methods. In addition, according to JoVE, the videos should assist issues of "reproducibility of biological experiments."

The first issue was published in December 2006 and since May 2007 has been published on a monthly basis. Site navigation is straightforward with options for exploring by issue, by category, or editor's picks. Categories are listed as follows:

  • Basic Protocols
  • Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cellular Biology
  • Plant Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
In addition, the option to subscribe by RSS feed is available.

Video articles also contain written instructions and a table for materials that includes company name and catalog number. I watched the Editor's Pick:
The fascinating and concise (~12 min.) video provided both microscopic images and animation to illustrate the techniques. The last section of the video involved a discussion of the techniques from the viewpoint of the lab assistant. In addition, there is a place for viewers to add comments or ask questions.

Perusal of a few videos seems to indicate that most are less than 20 minutes and some are less than 10 minutes, which makes them feasible for classroom or pre-experiment view, the latter being a suggestion made by a lecturer in a comment on TheScientist.com blog.

Submission guidelines, of course, include the rules for making submission. In addition, they include a small section on how to cite one of the videos. There is an editorial review process for videos. The international editorial board consists of professors from Harvard, University of Kyoto, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and more highly respected institutions.

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