YouTube for Science

Granted, it's not even in beta yet, so this isn't entirely fair, but if SciVee, a new website being billed as the YouTube of science, is really going to reach the people, the presentations will really need to evolve. Right now the site consists of a few video presentations from biologists. The material is interesting, and there's a cool feature that lets you follow along in the actual published paper as the speaker presents his or her work. But the overall effect is really no different than what you'd get if you trained cameras on presenters at a biology conference, then posted the clips on the Web. And that might be part of the point of this site—it gives scientists a new, slightly less formalized way to communicate the ideas in a new paper to their peers. But part of the stated mission is also to reach a wider audience, and to do that these scientists are going to need a different approach. Step One: Getting rid of the powerpoints. It's not too, too hard to get most scientists to sum up their research in layman's terms, but once they get a few of those slides in front of them, they revert to speaking the very technical language of their peers, not the masses. Again, though, it's only in the alpha phase, and it's a great idea. So let's hope it works.—Gregory Mone