In an effort to address information inequality around the world, the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) will now be offering free subscriptions through the HINARI initiative to developing countries in South America, Asia and Africa.
Developed to increase productivity in biological research, JoVE is the first and only science video journal indexed in PubMed and MEDLINE. JoVE publishes video articles demonstrating advanced experiments performed in laboratories of top research universities such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Yale. Seeing experiments, rather than translating text, saves scientists and students time and money when learning new research techniques. Access to this visual content is especially important in developing countries:
"The biggest challenges librarians face are lack of access to current resources and a lack of reading culture in several developing countries," said Pascal Mouhouelo, a librarian at the World Health Organization (WHO)'s Africa Office in Brazzaville, Congo. "Several studies have shown the importance of using video in training and medical practice," he added.
In 2000 a WHO survey found that 56 percent of institutions in the poorest countries had no current subscriptions to academic journals. In response, WHO founded HINARI, which now grants developing countries access to one of the largest collections of biomedical and health literature.
"Researchers from developing countries were saying 'we need access to the subscription literature, we can't afford it and without it we can't be part of the global research community,'" said HINARI Library Program Manager Kimberly Parker.
Despite having access to such a large body of research, Parker said that students and researchers were still struggling because of language barriers and little access to proper experimental demonstrations in labs. She believes that the visual aspect of JoVE will help address those problems.
Dr. Martie Van Deventer from The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Johannesburg, South Africa, who works with libraries and librarians all over the continent, agrees that access to visualized experiments would be enormously helpful for students and researchers in developing countries.
On a recent trip to the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Dr. Van Deventer visited a chemistry teaching lab. Among the 300 students in the lab, there was not a single piece of lab equipment or beaker of chemicals.
"If one were able to transfer knowledge through video, it would give them some real insight into what happens and what is required for chemical experimentation," she said. "It would make a big difference in places such as that."
Dr. Moshe Pritsker, the CEO and co-founder of JoVE, said: "Providing a window into top research labs at world leading universities for scientists and students in developing countries, JoVE aims to rapidly improve the transfer of scientific knowledge in the world."
About The Journal of Visualized Experiments:
The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) is the first and only Pubmed and Medline indexed academic journal devoted to publishing research in the biological sciences in video format. Using an international network of videographers, JoVE films and edits videos of researchers performing new experimental techniques at top universities, allowing students and scientists to learn them much more quickly. As of September 2011 JoVE has released 55 monthly issues including over 1300 video-protocols on experimental approaches in developmental biology, neuroscience, microbiology and other fields.