Genre innovation and multimodal expression in scholarly communication


genre innovation
digital media
digital literacies
English for academic purposes
English for research publication
digital video
innovación de género
medios digitales
competencias digitales
inglés para fines académicos
inglés para la publicación científica
vídeo digital

How to Cite

Hafner, C. A. (2018). Genre innovation and multimodal expression in scholarly communication: Video methods articles in experimental biology . Ibérica, (36), 15–42. Retrieved from


Digital media have the potential to foster genre innovation and change in scholarly communication, by 1) opening up new, diversified audiences to academics, and 2) facilitating the use of a range of multimodal semiotic resources, that combine word and image, in academic writing. However, relatively little applied linguistic research has investigated innovation in research genres, especially high stakes genres like the research article. In addition, some of the existing literature on the topic has concluded that the addition of digital elements to research articles (for example, embedded video) fails to add significant meaning to the genre, perhaps indicating a poor match between the affordances of digital media and the communicative purposes of the academic writers. This exploratory study provides a multi-dimensional genre analysis of a new research genre in the field of science: the video methods article (VMA), published online by the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE). In order to understand the intertextual communicative context of this genre, community documents were reviewed and two specialist informants were interviewed. A sample of eleven VMAs from JoVE, one per year of publication from 2006- 2016, was examined. The multimodal analysis shows how the VMA genre draws on the affordances of digital video in order to meet genuine needs of academic writers. The findings also show some innovation and development in the genre over time, which moves through an initial period of experimentation before settling on a stable generic structure

Copyright (c) 2018 Christoph A. Hafner

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