There has been a marked shift towards learning and consuming information through video. Most academic research, however, is still distributed only in text form, as researchers often have limited time, resources, and incentives to create video versions of their work. To address this gap, we propose, deploy, and evaluate a scalable, end-to-end system for crowdsourcing the creation of 5-minute research videos based on academic papers. Doing so requires solving complex coordination and collaborative video production problems. To assist coordination, we designed a structured workflow that enables efficient delegation of tasks, while also motivating the crowd through a collaborative learning environment. To facilitate video production, we developed an online tool with which groups can make micro-audio recordings that are automatically stitched together to create a complete talk.
We tested this approach with a distributed group of volunteers from 52 countries, who produced over 100 video talks in 12 languages, attracting over 235,000 views and 2,700 subcribers on YouTube . These research talks consistently received high ratings from a diverse group of non-experts and experts, including the authors of the original papers. These results indicate that our crowdsourcing approach is a promising method for producing high-quality research talks at scale, increasing the distribution and accessibility of scientific knowledge.