I recently heard from David Goss, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Number Theory, that the journal is planning on introducing video abstracts for papers that they publish. Here’s his e-mail explaining this:
By now I believe that all of us have had the pleasure of watching a famous scientist or mathematician discuss their work on internet video. I have certainly done so myself and learned much. Indeed I can readily give a long list of mathematicians who I would very much like to view presenting the ideas behind their great works.
For example, it would be fabulous to watch a young Serre discussing the ideas behind FAC or GAGA; or a young Faltings discussing his solution on the Mordell Conjecture etc. I am sure that each of you can compile your own long list (and obviously not just papers on number theory!).
It is in this spirit that I suggested to Elsevier that all JNT authors be allowed to present a short (4 minutes max) “video abstract” of their accepted manuscript. Elsevier has kindly accepted this idea and is now quite excited about it.
The idea is very simple: When a paper is *finally accepted* for JNT, the author will be notified and given the option of putting up a video abstract — THIS IS ONLY FOR ACCEPTED PAPERS! The video will be watched to check for professionalism etc., and those videos deemed offensive will not be used (and the author sanctioned!). The video will then be linked next to the paper on the JNT website. Information on how to upload files, etc., will be on the JNT website by April 23, 2008.
Videoing virtually anything is now deeply a part of our culture as witness the rise of YouTube. In fact, we will be using YouTube itself temporarily until Science Direct is augmented to handle flash files (which I hope will be within a few months). The url is:
where there is a short video about these multimedia abstracts!
I expect the video to be very low key like the one on the above url. I also think that, frankly, it will be a fun thing to do after all the hard work producing an accepted manuscript! Certainly the technology to produce such videos is now ubiquitous worldwide.
It is important to note that ALL such videos will be archived by Elsevier and thus will be available for future scholars and mathematicians.
With a little thought one can see vast possibilities here: For instance a paper on the topology of elliptic curves could be proceeded by a short video of computer graphics narrated by the author etc.