What you need to know

  • Video abstracts tend to be 1-4 minutes, and allow the authors of an academic paper to personally explain their work to a broader audience.
  • Video abstracts maximize engagement and visibility by allowing authors to combine filming themselves with images, animations and laboratory experiments to explain their research paper.
  • Video abstracts should tell a story, rather than a regurgitation of facts. They should convey the researcher’s interest and excitement.
  • More journals are accepting video abstracts (e.g., New Journal of Physics, Cell, Elsevier).

Resources, time, and skill

  • A video abstract can be created with a simple laptop camera and have the researcher summarize their research.
  •  More complex video abstracts can use visuals or animations (free software such as Paint, Pant.NET, or Windows Movie Maker may be used). Use the best quality camera possible.
  •  Depending on the complexity of the video abstract, the amount of time, resources and skill will vary.

Key Considerations

Video abstracts are not meant to replace a text-based article, but rather to enhance the understanding (e.g., explanation of complex methods, or technical aspects) of the research. Just as text-based abstracts provide a preview of the article to allow the reader to determine to purchase or download the article, the same applies to a video abstract, except through images, animations, and sounds.

Incorporating webinars in your KMb

  • Video abstracts are a great way to reach other audiences that may not be directly involved in your research field.
  • Video abstracts can be a way for research to have an immediate impact on students, colleagues, and/or other researchers by streamlining, and increasing visibility and access to the research.
  • These informative and accessible communication products may be appreciated or required by funding agencies.

The take away

  • Video abstracts maximize engagement with viewers, allowing researchers to explain complex concepts, thereby reaching more diverse audiences.


How to make a video abstract (step by step guide with additional resources)

DovePress video abstract guidelines


Where temperate meets tropical: multi-factorial effects of elevated CO2, nitrogen enrichment, and competition on a mangrove-salt marsh community

Cell journal video abstract guidelines (examples are on the right pane)

Elsevier video abstracts

Video Editing Software

Windows Movie Maker (freeware, usually comes with your machine)

Adobe Premiere (Not free, but does offer a free trial)

Graphic Editing Software

Paint.NET (freeware)

Gimp (freeware)

Adobe Photoshop (Not free, but does offer a free trial)