New Short-Form Video Competition, Science

Publish Date: Mar 09, 2016

Deadline: Apr 15, 2016

Science is now accepting submissions for a new short-form video competition

Wow us with your best data! And when we say “wow,” we mean just that: Make us laugh, make us cry, make us gasp with delight at the stunning discoveries and probing insights you can bring to life with data visualization. All entries should be in video format, and all videos should last no more than 90 seconds. Other than that, no holds barred. You can narrate, animate, or even act out your data points to tell us your bigger story. Contest winners will be featured on the Science website and will receive a year-long membership to AAAS, including a subscription to Science. Take a look at the examples below, and check out our rules-and tips-to get started!

How to enter

Once you’ve polished your masterpiece, it’s time for the upload! We want your work to travel as widely as possible, so we’re hosting all of our videos on YouTube. To submit yours, simply use your Google account to upload your file. Make sure to add a pithy title and a concise description that includes a link to the data set (or sets) you’ve used for your story. Mark your video "unlisted" and under the “advanced settings” tab, choose the option “allow embedding.” Next, complete the entry form here. It’s that easy! Just remember, your data sets should be hosted on a free, publicly accessible site—after all, we want your data to wow the world, not just our judges!

Entry categories

Student – An individual at least 18 years old who, at the time of entry, is enrolled full- or part-time at an accredited degree-granting institution of higher education seeking an undergraduate or graduate degree.

Professional – An individual at least 18 years old who, at the time of entry, is not a student but entering individually.

Corporate – A profit or nonprofit organization, however organized, entered by an agent of the organization who warrants that it has the authority to bind the organization to the rules and regulations of this contest.

Get to know our judges

Who are our judges? All five are data visualization experts, with backgrounds in the arts and sciences. This carefully selected panel will choose winners in each of the three categories. More interested in wowing the world? There will also be a people’s choice contest, with the winner chosen by popular vote.

How to wow the judges

Putting together a good video is no easy task. Neither is scripting, narrating, and adding all the bells and whistles that help tell your story … to say nothing of gathering and analyzing all those good data in the first place! That’s why we’re using a three-part rubric for judging.

The first thing our judges are looking for is creativity. How original are your ideas, and how original is your presentation? The second thing our judges are looking for is complexity. How many data sets have you incorporated in your story? How do they interact? And how difficult was it to find the right tools to present your data in a clear and compelling manner? Finally, our judges are looking for clarity. It doesn’t matter how interesting your ideas are or how cleverly they are packaged if we can’t understand them! Imagine that you are making your video for an audience of educated professionals outside your field or for discerning undergraduate students, with equally discerning attention spans.

Final point breakdown is as follows:

  • 33% Creativity
  • 33% Complexity
  • 33% Clarity

Key dates

  • Submissions accepted: March 7, 2016 – April 15, 2016
  • Judging: April 18, 2016 – April 29, 2016
  • Voting for “people’s choice”: April 18, 2016 – April 29, 2016
  • Winners announced: First week of May

Video tips

Your visualization can be as simple—or as complex—as you choose to make it. But before you run off to design school, here are a few tips and tricks from the Science team:

  • Find your story: It’s not enough to lay down your data and assume that everyone will automatically see what’s important. Your role—as researcher and artist—is to expose the relevant patterns and relationships that make your data so interesting. What is the story that you are burning to tell us? Don’t make it subtle. Make it obvious.
  • Start simple: There are a lot of tools out there to make data beautiful. But you should start simple. A wise designer once said: “Function before aesthetics.” He meant, or so his disciples tell us, that truly effective visualizations start with the data and then use the right tool to convey them to a wider audience. Beauty is a byproduct of the process.
  • Quality video: If you are shooting video, use the highest quality possible. If you can shoot in high definition, do it! When you finally upload your video, you’ll want to do so using a resolution of 720–1080 pixels.
  • Captions: Consider providing subtitles or closed captions to make your video accessible to all. Automatic captioning rarely works as well as you wish it would!
  • Credits: Captivating videos usually require the expertise of more than one person and contributions from various sources. We recommend that you add a title slide to the end of your video crediting these people and sources.

Official rules

A complete list of official rules is available here. Here are the highlights:

  • You must be 18 or older to enter and win.
  • You must include a link to the free and publicly-available data set on which your submission is based. Open data = open minds.
  • You must confirm that you have the right to use any material—audio, video, data sets, and still imagery—and that you are not infringing copyright.
  • If you win, you will have your work featured on the Science website.
  • If you submit a video with obscene, offensive, or otherwise inappropriate content, AAAS reserves the right to disqualify your creation. So create wisely!

Contact us at if you have any questions.

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