The moment TV was invented, everybody thought it would mean the death of radio. That didn’t happen, though; instead consumer habits changed and adapted. After a while, one could identify a behavioral trend with the introduction of every new media: first an unsubstantiated fear and then the adaption after the initial surge. What does that mean for printed media such as books, journals, and research papers?
The point of research is to present the newest findings in a field and also, hopefully, to sometimes revolutionize the field. To write a research paper, the author needs to find literature to support new scientific findings. We may remember from our days at the university how intensive the writing of even seminar papers could be, imagine writing a research paper!
During my university time, thankfully, I could already find and use online resources, but many decades ago, one had to go to the library and physically flip through books to find what one was looking for. Some scholars even had to travel to libraries in another country because the one book that they were looking for was only available there. This was a very time-intensive process.
Are Only Printed Books the Real Deal?
However, even nowadays, in a very digital time and age, some still prefer the “old-fashioned” method. But why is that so, you might ask? The smell of books cannot be replaced by an e-book, and it’s harder (but not impossible) to add your notes or highlight important sections in a digital text. My mom, for instance, reads more books than anyone I know. I wanted to gift her with an e-reader many times, but she could not be convinced. “I like the smell and feel of books, it reminds me of a happy, uncomplicated time. Scrolling onscreen takes away the magic,” she says. So, I was curious to find out what readers of scientific content prefer when it comes to reading books and articles, printed or online. The infographic below showcases the results of a poll we published on our social media channels.
We can see that print is far from being extinct, but also that online resources are (just as) important. The main issue with physical books is that they are not as up to date as online articles, a physical book (or article) cannot be shared that easily, and you have to physically pack it in your bag, since it’s not automatically in your cloud or on your server. Books are relevant for general theories that withstood the test of time, digitalization, and other factors, but the findings and developments in a field are more likely to be found in recently published online articles.
Even though at Karger, most publications are articles, books and book series had a very significant role decades ago and some are still relevant nowadays. Most of the books are available on- and offline, and some of them are free access and downloadable as a pdf or an e-book file (check out our Fast Facts for patients or clinicians)
With the rising importance of Open Access and Open Science , we turned our focus more and more to online publications, videos, podcasts and other digital channels. Stay tuned for many exciting things that are coming soon!
What does a Community Insight Specialist at Karger do? Nives Vajda told us in an interview about her typical day at work, how she structures her tasks and what she appreciates working at Karger.
Take us through a day in your work life. What are some of the work habits you’ve developed over the years that help you maintain productivity?
My workday is usually a mix of many different activities, depending on where the projects I am working on are at the moment. Doing desk research or analyzing data and writing reports demand a lot of time for quiet, concentrated, analytical work. On the other hand, research planning and data collection are very dynamic, with lots of interactions with colleagues and research participants and many short-term tasks. I try to do the short tasks early in the morning and leave time later in the day for focused work, and break down larger projects into smaller units or tasks to make daily time planning easier.
What motivated you to apply for a position at Karger?
After starting my career in marketing, I later moved on to working on scientific research projects in the field of psychology. I enjoyed working at the university, but I missed the creativity and the dynamic of marketing. This position at Karger attracted me as an optimal opportunity to remain close to the scientific community while being part of a marketing team.
What has been your experience during the remote working over the last two years?
My job interview and onboarding were almost fully remote, so I was used to it from the beginning, and it was not challenging at all. The flexibility of remote work is also very helpful for my interactions with customers — it is much easier to accommodate the scheduling preferences of interview partners from different time zones when working from home.
It was interesting, however, to finally meet everyone in person when we returned to the office, and I am glad that we can now also have an informal exchange over lunch or in the hallway and that I got to know some of my colleagues better.
What do you enjoy the most about your time at Karger?
Openness for new ideas and initiatives. I greatly appreciate working in a team where I have freedom to try out new ideas and build new processes and have positive and constructive discussions with colleagues.
The other thing would be the opportunity to work with and learn from a wide range of experts from various fields both in Karger and in the Karger community. Listening to them to better understand how they work, their motivation and their needs often gives me insights into interesting new areas, opens questions I never thought about before and inspires new ideas.
What would you like someone who’s interested in applying to Karger to know?
That is a difficult question since there are many various roles in the company, but speaking from my experience I would say: you can look forward to a great start. You will be welcomed by a very well-organized onboarding process and kind colleagues happy to answer your questions. You will also have access to a user-friendly digital platform with extensive information about various topics, which allows you to get a better understanding of the company, products, and services in your own time.
What kind of media are you consuming every day?
Other than quickly checking the news and LinkedIn feed, I cannot say that I use any media daily. I am subscribed to many newsletters and follow many professional groups, to better understand the field that I am researching and keep track of new developments, so I visit their pages or take part in their webinars when something interesting comes up. Lately I have been reading a lot about big data and machine learning, especially its impact on society.
Are you interested in a career at Karger? Explore our current job opportunities at our job portal. Also, find out what Adrian does in the role as the “Head of Digital Landscape”.
Common purpose of science, publishing, and film is getting the message across to the audience. Swiss Science Film Academy believes that the “shortest distance between science and society is cinema”. Karger Publishers shares this belief and this is why we decided to organise and sponsor events whose purpose is to connect film, storytelling, and science, such as the Storytelling for Scientists Workshop, the Filmmaking Marathon and the Global Science Film Festival.
Below you will find experience reports by participants of the 5th Filmmaking Marathon, whose short films were also shown at the Global Science Film Festival this November (see our previous article about the GSFF). We want to offer congratulations to all and thank them for sharing their experiences. Enjoy the reading!
My name is Tatiana Alonso Amor and I am a postdoc working at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel. My everyday working life involves producing quantitative evidence to support decision-makers in Africa in their fight against malaria. But what does this mean exactly? With the help of mathematics and some very cool computers, we are able to simulate how different policy scenarios would affect the transmission of the disease. One of the most beautiful aspects of my work is the constant interaction with people from all sorts of backgrounds pursuing the same objective: reduce malaria and thus improving the life quality of many.
When I read that Karger was inviting PhD students and post-docs to participate in the 5th Filmmaking Marathon, it felt like a no-brainer. What better way to learn new ways of communicating complex topics to a wide audience than making a scientific short film? As soon as I sent my application to participate in the event, I started thinking about ideas for the short film. I knew I wanted to talk about the importance of using quantitative evidence for decision-making and highlight that this is something that, in many instances, policy-makers already do. At the same time, I wanted to point out that this is something we also do all the time in everyday life. That is how the idea for “Decisions” started. I teamed up with two great scientists, Lita Palomares and Jagannath Biswakarma, and with Albert Blanch, the amazing filmmaker. Now that the marathon has ended, I am looking into ways to incorporate what I learned into my current work, making short explanatory videos of the work that we do and showcasing how this type of work can help in the fight against malaria.
Science is beautiful, and it’s better when shared and understood by all.
My name is Nicole Friedli, I studied psychology at the University of Zurich and while searching for my PhD position of choice, I’m currently working as a research assistant. In my free time and in the course of previous jobs, I’ve been passionately involved in several commercial, creative, and scientific film projects. Accordingly, when my former professor forwarded me a call for applications to take part in the Scientific Filmmaking Marathon at UZH, I was very excited and immediately applied. Luckily, I was invited by Karger and soon after, I handed in my very own idea of a short film project.
The idea for the movie “What do you know about Molly?” emerged while I was writing my Master’s thesis on white matter alterations in chronic MDMA (also known as ‘ecstasy’) users. While diving into the topic, I was missing an explanatory video combining the acute subjective effects of the substance with the action MDMA takes on the neuronal level.
After my pitch of the idea on the first day of the Filmmaking Marathon, I was very happy that five inspiring researchers and a very competent filmmaker joined the team. We immediately dove into the topic and after three intensive days of story-writing, organising, filming, drawing, animating, and editing, our short film was ready to present to the other participants of the marathon.
I personally think that films are very powerful in transporting scientific findings to a broader audience due to their creative and often entertaining properties. For this reason, a while ago I started planning my own scientific short film series. As I will need skills in animation to realise my project, during the filmmaking marathon I concentrated on the animations for our short film. As expected, the event served as the perfect opportunity to gain introductory knowledge in this field. And last but not least, seeing all the beautiful projects other researchers and their mentors created as well as finally seeing our finalised project on the Filmpodium screen alongside movies by professional filmmakers was a huge motivational boost for further projects.
I’m Christoph Häfelfinger and I’m a medical student in my second clinical year, currently working on my Master’s thesis in a neuroscience lab. For the future I am planning on becoming a surgeon and a scientist. In learning how to make a film, we as scientists get the potential to present our thoughts and work in an emotionally captivating and graphic way. Personally, I am convinced that new forms of communication, such as short films, have the potential to bridge the contemporary trust gap between science and society. Thus I am thus very thankful to Karger Publishers for making this amazing workshop happen and inviting me to participate in it!
At the Filmmaking Marathon (FMM), I was able to connect with a team of amazing scientists with diverse talents. In our piece “What do you know about Molly” we did our best to illustrate the effects of MDMA (ecstasy) on two levels: its action in the brain and its effects on the human. In achieving our goal, we managed to acquire new skills in animation and acting. By aligning our creativity and experience, we were able to create an exciting piece tailored towards various knowledge levels (I hope you enjoy it!).
The FMM has sparked the idea of creating a YouTube channel for conveying scientific topics to a broader public. I am very excited to use and further develop my newly learned skills with a colleague with whom I was working on the MDMA movie. Further down the road I also see myself using filmmaking in my own scientific and clinical work as a surgeon in order to break down abstract concepts into tangible pieces of information.
I am Celestin Mutuyimana from Rwanda and I am a PhD student at the University of Zurich Department of Psychology in Switzerland. My area of interest is trauma-related disorders, focusing on identifying unrecognised long-term effects of trauma and the corresponding healing strategies. Because of the history of genocide against the Tutsi in my country in 1994, I had a big dream to become an activist for positive social change, resilience, and trauma healing in the community. Since then, I have developed three strategies to achieve my goal: Research, community-based therapy, and making films for a wide audience. I tried the two strategies but I had no idea how to implement my last strategy. I was very busy with research and thought it was not possible to combine research and filmmaking.
Surprisingly, I found an ad from Karger Publishers inviting scientists to participate in the Filmmaking Marathon. The invitation message was very motivating and showed how useful it is for scientists to connect their scientific knowledge with film and bridge the gap between scientists and the general public. As a result, I applied and my application was positively received and supported by Karger Publishers and I received a ticket for the Filmmaking Marathon.
During the marathon, I made a film showing how trauma survivors live for long periods with collective and cumulative unhealed psychological wounds that can only be healed through a specific community-centered and cultural approach. Through this process of filmmaking, we learned a lot of useful skills. First, we learned how to put a scientific idea into a form that an audience can understand. Second, we learned how to create a script for a film and make it short and stable. We had the opportunity to film, take photographs, and edit videos. Finally, with the help of professional filmmakers, we learned different strategies to find the appropriate music, footage, and images for the film. I plan to use these skills in making more videos aimed to help survivors heal their traumatic wounds. So I think film studies is important because it helps bridge the gap between science and society; it helps scientists improve their creativity, use their talents, and network with other people.
My name is Lita Palomares, and I’m from Peru. Currently, I’m doing my PhD in Public Health & Epidemiology at the University of Basel. Also, I have a Master’s in Food and Nutrition Management and Teaching, and a professional degree as a Licentiate in Nutrition. I wanted to take part in the 5th Science Filmmaking Marathon 2021 because I have loved movies since I was a child; I feel that we can learn so much through a good movie, documentary or short film. I found that this Filmmaking Marathon experience was full of learning experiences for me.
My short film, “Decisions”, was made by an international team and invites us to reflect on how we make decisions every day in our lives. This short film emphasizes that we must trust in science. I plan to continue using the skills I acquired for the future and someday make a full-length film. I strongly believe as a scientist that it is important to communicate our findings in a way that is easy to understand for every member of the public, and audiovisual projects help us to do that. Finally, I learned something very important in the 4th Global Science Film Festival, namely that the shortest distance between science and society is cinema.
Watch the short films “Soul Wound”, “What do you know about Molly”, “Decisions” and others.