Heidi Zuniga, MA, MSLS
Colorado State University
Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary online journal and video collection of scientific experiments and laboratory methods. JoVE produces videos in laboratories throughout the world and makes them available online through its website along with text-based protocols for each demonstration. It is targeted toward researchers, educators, and students with the aim of sharing research methods, increasing reproducibility, and improving science education and laboratory efficiency.
JoVE features two distinct resources — JoVE Video Journal and JoVE Science Education Library — each with discipline-specific modules or sections such as genetics, medicine, neuroscience, clinical skills, bioengineering, and more. A full list of the sections can be found at the website: https://www.jove.com/. The sections in JoVE are sometimes tracked in library systems as separate, individual journals — JoVE Biology or JoVE Chemistry, for example — but JoVE operates under a single ISSN. There are currently over 9,400 video articles available through the site, which launched in 2006. The current website design was released in 2017
JoVE’s vast editorial board is divided into field-specific sections whose members hail from well-known universities, hospitals, and institutes. JoVE also has a veterinary advisory board, library advisory board, veterinary reviewers, and staff science editors.
Recent developments in the Science Education Library focused on increasing interactivity with all the Science Education Library videos. Engineering videos, lab animal research, and lab safety collections have recently been added. A new “Author Pages” feature provides authors with the option of having a dedicated webpage that includes information about their background, research, and publications. In an effort to advance its mission to support reproducibility, JoVE created a travel award for librarians to attend the Medical Library Association meeting or the Charleston Conference.
JoVE’s homepage showcases a rotation of recent videos. Dropdown menus for the Video Journal and the Science Education Library make it easy for users to browse different disciplines. Information on how to publish and information for librarians is featured here as well. Also on the main page are the newest and most popular videos, which can be filtered by section. JoVE is mobile responsive and works with both tablets and smartphones.
A simple search bar at the top of all pages also contains a link to the advanced search option. Boolean operators are available within the advanced search, as are filters for author or institution name, publication date, and journal or science education subsections. The advanced search performs adequately, although it does not have as many searching capabilities as standard academic library databases. Each search result record includes a helpful thumbnail image of the accompanying video. The record also lists the article title, authors, and institutions.
Users can browse by section and are able to sort by “most recent additions” or “most viewed articles,” or search within a section in the Video Journal. The Science Education Library section doesn’t appear to have as many browsing and sorting options, but that may be because there are fewer videos than in the Video Journal. It would be helpful to have additional sort or filter features available in both browse and search, such as the ability to sort alphabetically or by topic. It would also be helpful if abstracts popped out when users mouse over the article title.
The videos in JoVE are streamed and not downloadable, but they can be embedded into learning management systems such as Canvas. Users can create an account, which allows them to post comments, create a favorites list, etc. In each video, chapters are listed, which enables users to jump to a different section of the video. Most videos switch between showing researchers describing the experiment and showing the experiment being performed. Users also can turn on subtitles in English for each video in the Video Journal. Subtitles in multiple additional languages are available in Science Education Library. Users also can download a transcript of the video in Science Education Library, or can download a materials list and supplemental materials in the Video Journal.
As users scroll through the text of an article, the video follows along the right side so users can shift between reading the article and watching the video. The text portion of the Video Journal’s articles include a summary of the procedure, abstract, introduction, step-by-step protocol, results, discussion, materials, and references in one document. Article text can be translated into several languages, including German, Chinese, and Spanish, and is available as a PDF. A “cite this” button makes it easy for users to copy or download a citation, although no style choice is given. Detailed video usage statistics are available at the bottom of the page and show which institutions have viewed the video most often.
Within the Science Education Library, instructors can create and manage tests based on a particular video and article, which many instructors may appreciate. Although JoVE-generated test questions are already added to each test, instructors can deselect any questions they prefer not to use and they can create their own.
JoVE is indexed in PubMed/MEDLINE, Web of Science, Biological Abstracts, and Scopus, among others, and its Impact Factor in 2017 was 1.184. Its articles and videos are available in PubMed after a 2-year embargo, except for open access content. JoVE also provides MARC records upon request and updates its index on a variety of discovery services, such as Primo and Summon, on an ongoing basis. Librarians can access usage statistics through a statistics platform. Statistics generally include total page views and times, individual page views, searches, user recommendations, and section or collection usage by article views and video viewing time. The usage page automatically generates informative graphs and librarians can download individual page views or turnaways as a CSV.
JoVE offers several annual subscription models. JoVE Unlimited gives access to all content. The Video Journal and Science Education Library sections are available as separate subscriptions, and JoVE Customized allows subscribers to select individual sections from within both the Video Journal and the Science Education Library. Users authenticate either by IP access or username and password.
It is worth noting that due to the cost of video production, authors are charged a one-time fee of $2,400, which is not incurred until the paper has been accepted and a script has been generated. Authors also may pay an additional $1,800 to make the video and text open access.
JoVE grants perpetual access to the videos that were published during an institution’s subscription period and within its subscribed sections for the JoVE Video Journal. Sections of the website are dedicated to librarians and corporate labs and include information about subscription options, case studies, FAQs, outreach material, etc. Pricing is not publicly available, so potential subscribers must contact JoVE directly. JoVE supports trial access.
JoVE’s strength is its videos. Users may find that complicated, visually-oriented experiments, procedures, and protocols are far easier to understand and replicate when watched on video compared to text-based resources. JoVE’s video articles are high quality, peer reviewed, and include many useful supporting tools and features. JoVE is a good resource for training, education, and increasing reproducibility by standardizing lab protocols. Subscription costs could be a factor for some institutions, but JoVE’s a la carte subscription options may make it easier for libraries to select only the modules that would be most used. JoVE is recommended for libraries and institutions that support science researchers and students alike.