Saturday, April 05, 2008

A question/annoyance

Can someone explain to me how the interests of science are served by journals asking all authors to conform to some meaningless and arbitrary document standard for the purposes of review? Why, pray tell, must articles be submitted in 12-point Times New Roman? And why must they be ragged right? And why, for the love of all good and holy, must they be submitted in Word? What about those of us who actually care about offending the eyes of others, have seen the light, and have moved to Latex?

In short, why are authors made to conform to silly and arbitrary standards prior to acceptance and publication, especially when every author already has sufficient incentives to present their work in a clear and professional manner. Sheesh.

UPDATE: As Varnson notes in the comments, it is almost certain that no journal actually uses Word when it comes to setting the journal. Rather, they probably use a typesetting program like latex. You know, the type you're not allowed to submit in in the first place. Sheesh.


Anonymous said...

Indeed! My suspicion (no, it's probably fact) is that editors don't have a clue about typesetting. LaTeX is a typesetting program. MS Word is not. It is a word processing program. And when any publisher worth their salt goes to put together an issue of a journal they TYPESET it. Therefore it doesn't much matter if authors send in .pdf, .doc, .txt, .tex or ANY other format. The typesetters at the publisher will rip out the text and set the journal issue.

So, why not, as Peter says, let authors who care about the way their documents look submit them as a properly typeset PDF? Sheesh.

Peter Loewen said...

The only solution, i guess, it to leave it to one's co-authors.

The Pundits' Guide said...

Just a guess (from a programmer): maybe they have a Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) program/macro written for MS Word to convert those documents into a first pass of whatever they're publishing into.

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