Wednesday, 2 June 2010

eBooks and eMags with interactive contents - the future for scientific journals?

The iPad is a great pdf-viewer and I just love reading scientific papers with the Papers app. But it's just static pages so I can't do much more than if I print it. Then, I downloaded the Wired magazine app and it's really nice. Take a look at the two YouTube movies below.

The thing with the iPad as a magazine reader is the interactivity between user and contents. This makes me wonder what the future for scientific journals could be? Instead of having a few static brain images, why not create an eJournal that lets you browse through the brain and look at the statistical images from any view? Think of NeuroImage Digital Edition - how cool wouldn't it be to slice through the brain with your finger when you look at a specific figure?

We are almost there. Journals today allows you to send up extra digital material with your papers, such as movie clips. But it can be done better. If Wired can do an interactive magazine for iPad, so can NeuroImage and any other scientific journal.

I would really like to see something similar to NeuroPub in an eJournal. The idea would be that you just double tap on a figure that you want to interact with, for instance a 3D volume rendering of the brain. Then you immediately get into interactive mode and can rotate the brain in any direction in real time to see how the activation pattern looks like from another view.

Why stop there? Since the iPad has Internet capability, you could also let other readers comment on your paper, directly in the eJournal itself!

This is also a little bit how I perceive the future for NeuroPub. The first version will just be a simple viewer, but future versions could allow you to chat with other users through Twitter and even share your statistical images with others, perhaps with an interactive method description which points out some interesting locations in the brain that the author finds most interesting.

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