Stuck on a Protocol? A Simple Click Will Do the Trick



Video demonstrations for online scientific articles are now just one click away.

By Phil Meagher at JoVE (the Journal of Visualized Experiments) 

Communicating scientific protocols is difficult. Word count limitations result in ambiguous protocols and techniques are becoming increasingly cross-disciplinary and complicated. As a result, reproducing experiments is frustrating. But there is a solution. What if instead of having to read protocols you could watch them first?

On January 17, the team at the Journal of Visualized Experiments, JoVE, released an application to help scientists at the bench do just that. The idea was simple: allow scientists to “visualize” all of the scientific articles available online by leveraging JoVE’s rapidly growing scientific methods video collection. (To date, JoVE’s published 2,966 methods-videos since the company launched in 2006.)

The application is called the AskJoVE button, and offers a novel opportunity for scientists looking to learn procedures from scientific articles. Functioning from within your internet browser’s bookmarks bar, this application, or “bookmarklet,” produces a collection of video-demonstrations of techniques mentioned in any given scientific articles—even for those published in the traditional, text-based format.

“We created this new feature because we want to visualize all the science literature in the world,” says Dr. Moshe Pritsker, JoVE’s CEO and co-founder, “For every science article you read, click on the Ask JoVE button and immediately see videos of experiments related to this article, filmed at the best university labs.”

With this in mind, try to now imagine yourself at the lab, reading through an article you’ll need to learn to replicate as part of your research. If a small, important part of the protocol suddenly becomes vague, getting help no longer must involve scheduling training with other scientists half way across the globe. Instead, simply click the AskJoVE button, and watch as the methods in that article are demonstrated on your screen.

Jove action

The AskJoVE button is free to download, and it is easily set up via drag-and-drop installation.

Each technique featured by the button is demonstrated by its own original authors (filmed by JoVE) and accompanied by scientific animations produced by the JoVE video team.  Once clicked, the AskJoVE button provides scientists with a concise and powerful tool that saves time and money.

Interested in introducing your lab’s technique to the world? Submit your abstract to JoVE via our publishing information page. For subscription information you may reach out via our website, or you can take a moment to recommend JoVE to your institution’s librarian.

See in JoVE how nest building can indicate the well-being of lab mice


See in JoVE how nest building can indicate the well-being of lab mice
J. Vis. Exp. (82) e51012, doi:10.3791/51012 (2013)

We’re pleased to have another guest post by the team at JoVE (The Journal of Visualized Experiments). This month’s featured article explores how the way that lab mice build their nests can provide a useful indication of their welfare. The video format is a great way to convey all the subtle behavioural nuances that might be lost in the traditional print-only journal format and again illustrates the great potential of using multimedia content in academic research. Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

By Kira M. Henderson, Ph.D.

Deputy Director of Journal Development Editor, JoVE

The JoVE video article, “Nest Building as an Indicator of Health and Welfare in Laboratory Mice,” offers an effective and simple solution for monitoring animal welfare of laboratory mice concurently with experimentation. Brianna N. Gaskill et al. document the two-part process of scoring nesting habits as representation of mouse behavior and overall health and wellbeing. The nesting and scoring process is fairly simple but includes numerous variables and subtle behavioral analysis. The method is presented with an additional layer of detail in a dynamic JoVE video article as opposed to a static text article.

Identifying pain is the first step in mitigating discomfort and addressing disease or injury. The field of pain management is highly coupled with pain identification through behavioral cues in laboratory animals, as animals cannot verbally describe when or where they have pain. Video articles allow researchers to precisely capture subtle differences in animal behavior as related to changes in wellbeing, which may be lost in standard methodology texts.

Advantages of the presented method over other pain and health monitoring techniques include the ease of use and ability to analyze results even if mice are inactive. The first part of the test examines and scores nest building according to the quality and complexity of the prepared nest. Considered variables include extent of material manipulation, size and shape of nest as well as height and depth of the overall nest dome. The second part of the test, “time to integrate to nest” or TINT, occurs after the mice complete their initial nest. The TINT test requires the addition of a single piece of new material into the mouse’s cage to determine if the mouse is actively integrating material into their nest. A cage where the mouse utilizes the new material is considered TINT positive, whereas a mouse that disregards the new material is TINT negative.

Proper nest building can signify mouse health and stability. High nest building scores and TINT positive outcomes suggest normal or healthy mouse behavior, while low nest building scores and TINT negative could be a sign of disease or behavioral defects requiring veterinary attention. Sick or wounded mice could compromise the results of a research study as well as cause general discomfort for the animal.

This publication in JoVE provides other researchers with a clear and visual demonstration of how to test nest building behavior in lab mice as an indicator of animal health. JoVE is further exploring the field of pain monitoring in an upcoming Special Issue titled, “Chronic Pain Modeling and Analysis”. This Special Issue is currently accepting abstracts for consideration at