Victoria Dickerson 
Victoria Dickerson
Associate Editor for Technology and New Media, Family Process 

Before Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, there was the printed word.  Most of us learned new information, shared our ideas, promoted our research, and generally connected though a learning community by reading, writing, and publishing papers through established journals.  A colleague recently told me that when she was writing what became a well-known article in the family therapy field in the early 1990s, she sent it to a respected academician, who would read and critique it by hand on a lined yellow pad, and then mail it back to her.  These days that is all but unfathomable.  Before email and attachments, we used facsimile machines (some still do).  Now, with the Microsoft Word editing function, we can quickly turn around what was once a time-consuming process.  Beyond that, now we can promote our ideas and our articles, not only with social media, but also with add-ons that both complement the work and enhance it.

What we at Family Process have found to be most useful to promote our articles is the video abstract.  What is a video abstract? It is essentially a short video introduction that interests the reader in one’s article. The article does have a text abstract but the video supplement adds a new dimension and draws new readers to the article.

Research conducted by Wiley’s marketing team in 2012-2013, shortly after we at the journal Family Process began to utilize video abstracts, showed that :

Without exception, the articles with video abstracts were downloaded more than those without.  The full-text version of articles (HMTL and PDF) with video abstracts were downloaded an average of 115 times per month.  Articles without video abstracts were downloaded an average of 63 times.  Articles with video abstracts had 82% more full-text downloads.

We have continued to invite and encourage our authors to create video abstracts for their articles.  Our instructions are straightforward, suggesting the use of the computer webcam and built-in microphone for recording.  We ask that the presenters limit their time to 3-5 minutes, that they are careful about the background, and that they prepare their talk as they would any thoughtful presentation.  They then upload the video to You Tube, after which time we review it and sometimes, but rarely, make suggestions; they then add it to our You Tube channel: FamilyProcess1, where each video is placed in the appropriate playlist.

We feature one or two articles for each issue, using our channel to show the video as the trailer.  Because we have an Earlyview capability, we solicit early video abstracts, so they can be available when the article goes live.  Most recently, we had two of three articles with video abstracts on Earlyview.  We have also asked authors to prepare two video abstracts in two different languages since some of our articles are translated into Spanish and some into Mandarin.  Here are some examples:


The above is an English version of a video abstract for the article: “Parenting Styles and Parents’ Perspectives on How Their Own Emotions Affect the Function of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders” by Ting Zhou and Chunli Yi, in the March 2014 Family Process.

Below is the abstract in Mandarin.


Here’s an abstract for an article by Carmen Valdez:  “Fortalezas Familares Program: Building Sociocultural and Family Strengths in Latina Women with Depressing and Their Families” in the September 2013 Family Process:


And here's the Spanish version:


Having recently read Ryan Watkins account of using video presentations for assessing critical thinking, I checked out his template for making videos at  WeShareScience.  This is an easy-to-use set of instructions for making any kind of video presentation.

Now that we realize how effective video abstracts can be, we are continuing to refine and improve our process.   As Adam Shlachter, Head of Media Activation at DigitasLBi said in a recent blog from MadAveMobile, video is “one of the most significant formats and mediums that we have for brands to connect with their consumers, to tell stories, to bring them great content,”

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