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Moving pictures

By Joe McEntee

Where to start? What to watch? What to watch it on? In the brave, new cross-platform world of iPads, smarter smartphones, Internet-enabled TVs and the like, channel surfing is no longer just a matter of putting your feet up and grabbing the remote.

Consider the latest service offering from New Journal of Physics (NJP), an open-access journal co-owned by the Institute of Physics and the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft and published by IOP Publishing (which also publishes

With the launch of its video-abstracts channel last month, NJP is shaping up as a prime destination for a new wave of scientifically minded channel-surfers – students, researchers and educators who like their content open and with plenty of added value thrown in.

It’s early days, but the video service is already winning plaudits from authors and viewers alike. “A great way to communicate our excitement and enthusiasm,” notes one early-adopter, while another adds that the video-abstract format makes the paper “more visible and accessible and is ideal for outreach”.

How all this plays out in the battle for online clicks and eyeballs remains to be seen, though in its favour NJP’s cross-disciplinary remit does map well against a broad chunk of the physics community. Press play on the latest videos and you’ll encounter everything from modelling of the financial crisis through the whispering-gallery effect in neutron scattering to the survival of competing languages.

My own favourite is this piece on nanoscale effects in amorphous carbon:

More TV, where you want it, when you need it. All you need to do now is figure out whether to watch those abstracts on your sleek new iPad2 or your laptop.

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