Scientific articles

Elsevier are experimenting with different ways of publishing scientific articles. Here is their site. At a first glance neither article looks groundbreaking. But this one has an interesting feature — a discussion section. That makes the paper more ‘wiki’ like and this is something that is surely valuable.

But here is the thing. Elsevier are presuming that they can research and work out the optimal paper layout and then implement it. When it comes down to it, there are discipline specific idiosyncrasies and also individual specific ones. What we want is a standard for paper content classification — abstract, introduction, methodology, results etc — and then to have API’s that allow others to present and manipulate the content as they see fit. It is the content of the paper that needs to be covered by open standards not the presentation.

One thought on “Scientific articles”

  1. Hmm.  Nothing that new in the “discussion” bit at Elsevier.
    Probably the premier open-access peer-reviewed biology-related set of journals in the world at (Public Library of Science) has allowed comments from inception.  Even publishing pingbacks/trackbacks and pointers to the blogosphere.
    It’s also worth looking at open-source journal publishing software “Public Knowledge Project” (looks after the business processes from submission), that allows discussion by and with reviewers and readers, has plugins, email alerts….  You might like to browse the <a href=””>List of journals using the PKP OSJ software</a>, but the full software suites not only manage journal publishing, but organizing conferences, and more.
    Hmmm.  If you kick off your own journal (or conference or monographs) using PKP OSJ, maybe you could let me know.


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