Science dissemination is broken.
Textual media is restrictive for scientists and researchers as they are unable to explain parts of their work effectively (experimental paradigm, multidimensional data visualization, etc.). Additionally, written articles risk obfuscation of the information for the readers
The authors are not able to provide a more personal explanation of their findings and put their work into a broader perspective
Publications are hidden behind publisher paywalls and institutional firewalls which impede knowledge flow and… (Pay $50 to get instant access to this sentence)
In-person dissemination activities such as conferences, seminars, and workshops often demand steep registration fees and are subject to travel restrictions
Current dissemination formats are limited to their domain and fail to reach a wider audience and have a larger positive impact on society.
The current global pandemic has compelled the community to make the transition to virtual gatherings- online conferences and lectures. This has created an opportunity to capture and archive this audiovisual content for the greater good of society. It is imperative to provide the scientific community with a centralized platform for scientific dissemination through a novel use of multimedia. Moreover, there is a need to shine light on young researchers to provide recognition, networking opportunities, and recruitment opportunities.
ResearchTV is a platform for the scientific community to share their research using the audiovisual medium. The fundamental idea is to archive scientific communication of published work and make it accessible to the masses. We exploit modern data analytics tools to help researchers gain recognition, employment match-making opportunities, and active feedback from the global community.
ResearchTV is not a replacement for journals and conferences. Instead, as proponents of open science, we position ourselves as a supplementary service to aid the dissemination of science.
By providing a centralized video sharing platform, we aim to provide the following benefits:
Scientific teleconferences and discussions are archived and made available on-demand for a wide audience using a centralized platform to ensure that the data is easily accessible without the burden of registering for multiple services
A richer and more interactive experience for the audience which will augment the propagation of research work and enhanced user experience
An openly accessible service that enables everyone to access the content without having a subscription or paying a fee, unlike the articles locked behind paywalls
Harnessing data analytics to connect young researchers with potential employers and the scientific community to enable collaborations, support, and discussions.
Impact on society
COVID-19 has affected our daily lives and businesses. Although the pandemic has caused a lot of problems, the scientific community has benefited from an increasing virtual presence. Conferences and seminars have become virtual, collaborations are held through teleconferences, and scientific video streams and podcasts have gained popularity. At ResearchTV, we want to harness this opportunity to make the audiovisual scientific content permanently available to an even broader audience. The way we present scientific work, promote research, hold discussions, can greatly benefit from a centralized archival platform.
Content and Target Audience
Scientists and researchers will assume the role of creating audiovisual content. Peer-reviewed publication presentations, seminar talks, and keynote speeches will be the primary type of content hosted on ResearchTV. This valuable content will then be accessible to the broader scientific audience. Additionally, live presentations and talks about recent scientific advancements will be arranged in cooperation with scientists
Scientists, researchers, and university students across the globe are our target audience. Furthermore, our audiovisual medium will allow the content to reach a broader audience. For instance, a video may reach end-users such as resource managers, recruiters or health-care workers who might not read the technical publication but will be willing to watch a short video
Why should they use it?
ResearchTV brings publicity and recognition to the researchers who share their content on the website. It will propel their career by increasing facetime and enabling potential recruiters to witness their work. Moreover, the activity will help young and inexperienced researchers to hone their presentation skills. Being positioned in a two-sided market will enable us to bring value to the end-users by extending the availability of on-demand scientific content which would otherwise not be within reach. ResearchTV will lift barriers such as geographic limitation, pandemics, financial limitations, and travel restrictions which hinder patrons from attending scientific events.
|1||Client-side||HTML5, CSS, Bootstrap||Multi-platform support to view and upload videos|
|2||Server-side||PHP + Apache HTTP Server||Versatility and open-source support|
|3||Linux instances||Amazon EC2*||On-demand pay-as-you-go low cost, elastic capacity|
|4||DNS Service||Amazon Route 53||On-demand and easy integration with AWS services|
|5||Dynamic IP||AWS Elastic IP||Enables load balancing on EC2 instances|
|6||Elastic Capacity||Amazon Cloudwatch, EC2 Auto Scaling, Elastic load balancing||Monitoring AWS resources, automatically scaling EC2 capacity and distributing incoming traffic to EC2 instances|
|7||Media Storage||Amazon S3||Simple storage service with 99.999999999% durability|
|8||Data Processing||Amazon SQS, Amazon SimpleDB||Efficiently converting uploaded media to support different players/devices. Also, captures a wide variety of author metadata through an unstructured NoSQL database.|
|9||Content Distribution Network||Amazon Cloudfront||Distribute and cache data on data centres across the world to guarantee efficient delivery of content|
Privacy and security
The technical design will be compliant with GDPR to secure users' privacy.
Two-factor authentication, SHA encryption and all other relevant best practices for web security will be followed to prevent unauthorized access to user data.
Content moderation managed by community volunteers will ensure only good quality and reviewed videos are uploaded on the platform.
User identity and authenticity will be verified via ORCID platform https://orcid.org/
Strategic partners and Scalability:
52 million: People in the global science and engineering workforce superscript 
17 million: Researchers in the world in 2011 
7.8 million: Full-time researchers in the world in 2013 
133,000+ (approximately €80 billion): Grants issued by the Horizon 2020 program alone 
Publicly-funded EU sponsored projects such as those under the Marie Curie framework. Taxpayer-funded projects invite guest speakers and host lectures which should be beneficial to the population
ResearchTV can mutually benefit by partnering up with textual archives such as the HAL Archive
Conferences and symposiums which host presentations (IEEE, Nature, etc.) can be valuable partners as they have recognized the need for archiving but lack a centralized and freely available platform
Journals and textual publications can augment their reach by partnering with ResearchTV and promote their organization
Universities and other educational institutions regularly host talks which are often funded by public money. These can be made available to the population whose contributions make it possible
Recruiting agencies and private companies who are seeking talent to join their organization
As young scientists ourselves, we have decided to adopt a non-profit structure for our organization. ResearchTV will be free for all as we strongly believe that there should not be any barriers to access science. Discarding monetary benefits ensures that the platform remains uncensored and uninfluenced.
Economies of scale
The largest expense which we can foresee is that of the development of the platform. The moderation of the content uploaded to the platform will be done by volunteers. We project our costs to stabilize over time and will be limited to the regular maintenance and functioning of the platform.
Considering the extending support of the private sector for scientific events, we would invite organizations to sponsor our platform as part of their ongoing corporate social responsibility campaigns. The idea is to cover all of the initial development and launch expenses using sponsorships
Crowdfunding and Bootstrapping:
A crowdfunding campaign will be initiated to cover the costs which were not covered through sponsorships. The three founders of Research TV - Ali, Akshay, and Sarvesh will self-fund the amount if the venture is short of money after crowdfunding
Funding from governmental organizations:
National governments and European grants will be targeted to create a constant influx of funds to cover the recurring maintenance costs
Funding from individuals:
ResearchTV will keep its doors open for private donors who would be interested in helping through services such as Patreon contributions
Execution and Budget
We will initiate the development of the web-based platform in 2-3 months once we have secured the funding. It will take 3 full-stack developers (Akshay and two developers who will be hired) approximately 3 months to build and test the platform.
While the platform is being developed, Ali will source content from known sources and scientists within his circle and the various EU funded ITN projects he has connections with. Sarvesh will focus on securing partnerships with private sector companies and strategic partners such as journals to build a repertoire of videos that will be used to launch the platform. It is expected that ResearchTV will go live in October 2020.
Going to market:
Most of our work will be focused on promotion and constantly gathering new material after ResearchTV is launched. We will continue active promotion until we have achieved a sustainable level through organic uploads from the community.
Conferences, journals, and academic institutions have taken note of the open science movement and the importance of on-demand audiovisual material. Although ResearchTV is in the development phase, we will make use of this traction as the starting point. To kickstart the venture, we will invite scientists to share the videos of their best paper publications. This will help attract young scientists to share their work which will in return attract avid learners. The founders are part of the RealVision ITN and will attempt to convince their peers and their distinguished PhD supervisors to share their work on the website. Later, we plan on recruiting volunteers from each field to scale our reach and cover all realms of science and technology.
€30k for hiring two full-stack developers for 3 months
€10k for equipment, infrastructure, and testing costs
€10k for marketing and promotion
€10k for unexpected expenses and cushion
Estimated Cost = 3 * (N/1000) * (α + β) + (γ + δ) * θ
N => Number of Daily User
α => Price of AWS EC2 instance
β => Price of Cloudwatch / EC2 instance
γ => Price of Amazon S3 / GB
δ => Price of Cloudfront / GB
θ => average upload data per user (lifetime) = 1GB/User
|User Traffic (daily)||Daily Operational Cost||Yearly Operational Cost|
Administration costs: We expect a recurring cost of €30k a year to compensate the chief administrators for their time and effort
Key Assumptions and Challenges:
Overestimation of the value of publicity for content creators:
One of the key assumptions for ResearchTV is the valuation of publicity and recognition. The current way of presenting scientific work is through textual publications. Visual content, conference presentations, seminars, etc. are supplementary ways of reaching out to your audience. Although many researchers agree that audiovisual medium brings a broader audience, the scientific community may fail to put an effort into delivering the necessary content. Thus, this assumption creates a challenge and emphasizes the importance of outreach and promotion.
Accessibility to funding:
Non-profit organizations bring their challenges along with the benefits. Obtaining funding and sponsorship is a crucial challenge to maintain the functionality of the organization. However, with the open science initiatives taking steps forward in the EU and across the globe, this challenge can be eliminated by engaging the relevant stakeholders.
People and organization
Sarvesh R. Agrawal
Research Fellow, Design and Innovation at Bang & Olufsen
Audio nerd and PhD student Sarvesh is responsible for business development, strategic planning, and the financial well-being of the operation. His primary job is to secure funding and promote the use of the platform by seeking strategic partnerships.
PhD Student | Computer Science | University of Cambridge
Tired of missing conferences due to conflicting schedules, Akshay joins ResearchTV in an effort to digitize the research landscape. Akshay is responsible for the full-stack development of the web platform capable of scaling to the demands of millions of researchers across the world.
PhD Student in visual perception at University of Nantes, France
He has entrepreneurship experience on creating virtual reality platforms. He is making use of vastly available virtual scientific content during the pandemic which eventually leads him to join ResearchTV. He is responsible for the design and marketing aspect of the organisation.
Our Hackathon Story
As an escape from the boredom of lockdown, Ali, Akshay and Sarvesh joined EUvsVirus in an attempt to make a positive impact on our society. Starting with the ideation process on Thursday, which involved a very engaging and frank discussion of their day-to-day problems, the team identified the lack of a centralized audiovisual research platform as a challenging and impactful problem on Friday. Over the weekend, the team worked on developing the solution from product design, business planning, impact quantification to lucid presentation. After a long and taxing (but fun) weekend, we are proud to present ResearchTV: An open-access web platform for scientists to reach a broader audience through audiovisual medium.