Video abstracts

Top tips for a good video abstract

The tone of your video should be relaxed and friendly.

If you’re writing something you’re going to read out, write it as you would say it and not as it would be written in an article. It might be difficult to put scientific terms into conversational language, but imagine you are telling the story to a lay person. Video abstracts are aimed at the scientific public but are open to anybody and will reach a wider audience, including journalists, if they are more accessible. For more sensitive subjects, a brief reference to BMJ’s disclaimer will be added to the description of the video, stating: “This video abstract describes a scientific research study and its contents may not be appropriate for clinical purposes. Please refer to BMJ’s full disclaimer.

It’s a good idea to keep the video abstract in mind while writing your paper, so you can think of potentially useful footage and other media to use. Please note that we ask you not to submit a video abstract until your paper has been accepted, so do not try to upload a video abstract upon initial submission of your manuscript. However, BMJ will aim to publish your video alongside the paper when it goes online.

To increase the chance of your entire message getting across (i.e. to ensure your viewers watch the video to the end), your video needs to be engaging but also as short as possible, and no more than 4 minutes. Remember your viewers can read the full details of the research in the written article. Ultimately, we don’t want the video to detract from the reading of your paper!