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"...to explore better ways to create and deliver the formal published record."
January 6, 2012 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Have you seen the article of the future?
posted by iamkimiam (52 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
MetaFilter: "Unobtrusively integrated at appropriate points.."
posted by obscurator at 9:28 AM on January 6, 2012


Completely controlled by Elsevier?
posted by oddman at 9:29 AM on January 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


I fervently hope that the "article of the future" has nothing whatsoever to do with Elsevier.
posted by yoink at 9:29 AM on January 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


Your institution is not authorized to access the article of the future. Click here for subscription information.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:31 AM on January 6, 2012 [28 favorites]


That sounds great. I can't wait to see all the different implementations of your open specification.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:33 AM on January 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Article of the future comes bundled with an assortment of other high quality articles at no extra charge above the normal cost of the articles and a nominal bundling fee, for your convenience.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:33 AM on January 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ah, a revival of the old multimedia DVD-ROM.
posted by imperium at 9:34 AM on January 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Remember when "multimedia developer" meant something?
posted by clvrmnky at 9:35 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hello, 5,000 patent infringement lawsuits in 2022!
posted by eugenen at 9:37 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, have you looked in the crisper drawer in the fridge? People keep strange things in there, like breakfast meats and left-over sweets that they don't want other people to eat.

Silliness aside, here's Elsevier on Wikipedia, for those not familiar with the company. Note that the Criticism and controversies section is a major portion of the wiki page.

And it seems that Elsevier has just found out that computers can display moving images within articles, and internet hyper-links can connect to other websites and off-site content within a single article, or am I overlooking something? It seems like another print-focused company touting all the things they can now do with computers.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:37 AM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Much like 3D is a desperate attempt of an increasingly-secondary part of the entertainment industry to create an experience that cannot be had anywhere else, this is an effort by an increasingly-unsupportable part of the production of scholarship trying to create something that will maintain their stranglehold on the market. In both cases, it is unnecessary and gives the viewer a headache. At least Elsevier doesn't make you wear silly glasses.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:37 AM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Because "a" and "the" are so over.
posted by dhartung at 9:39 AM on January 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


The table of contents stays visible and active at all times, and your position in the TOC is synced with your position in the main doc, too. That's actually super-slick. Wikipedia would be improved by the offering of such an option.
posted by Western Infidels at 9:41 AM on January 6, 2012


There is some interesting stuff in here, actually. The video is appalling, and I was reminded of the TPC pitch to Dr. Shaefer in The President's Analyst, but anyway.

A lot of journals are going for the 'additional content found online' thing. It's cool, because it allows you to write a focused paper without a huge amount of background that some of your readers may require; multimedia stuff like video, a hideously detailed description of your method which you don't have in any other publications, ALL the data rather than just those you've selected to plot for the article, etc. On the other hand, it's not cool because it's usually hard to find and view at the same time you're viewing the paper, etc.

Some of this 'article of the future' stuff is just a way of compiling the 'supplemental material' and the core of the article in a way that's readable and quickly accessible, etc.

This is nothing new in terms of the oh golly look what we can do with hypertext thing. However it is not used at all in serious scientific publication. It's fine. If only this wasn't Elsevier ...
posted by zomg at 9:47 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because "a" and "the" are so over.

Clearly, the article of the future is an indefinite article.
posted by zomg at 9:48 AM on January 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


But can it core a apple?
posted by Splunge at 9:56 AM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


good: it's not a two-column pdf; that's got to be one of the worst formats to read on-screen

good: they're trying to figure out something to do with the wasted horizontal space of a maximized browser window on a modern 16:9 display

bad: things that should be text are still images (yes, there's the mathjax thing, but in the article I picked there was a table of information in a typewriter font that was still an image :(

bad: "video abstract" is just wanking. When I want information about something technical or scholarly, I do not want a video.

bad: there's still nobody who is going to hold a gun to the heads of each author of comp sci papers to force them to include the source for their implementation of the discussed algorithm

bad: everything everybody else said about Elsevier. You think it's bad when you're affiliated with some institution who won't fork over the dough to the journal publisher; try being a guy on the street with technical and scholarly interests but no university connection and no budget. :-/ free full text or it never happened.
posted by jepler at 9:57 AM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


The psych article of the future is a little depressing. SVO is the Java of word orders. Give me LISP (VSO) or Forth (SOV)!
posted by Jpfed at 9:58 AM on January 6, 2012


At least Elsevier doesn't make you wear silly glasses.

That's only because the academics supply them themselves.
posted by yoink at 9:59 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


This might be a good reason to hold off on that college thesis....
posted by samsara at 10:00 AM on January 6, 2012


Scattered reactions:

-Multimedia, in particular video integration, is long overdue. Full colour figures should be the default now, rather than black and white for print (for some journals this is now true). These two changes alone are huge. Sticking Video in the supplemental isn't good enough in many cases.

-I like the idea of reference linkages. They're using crossref, which appear to be just a DOI wrapper and proprietary Scopus links. I'm not certain why they aren't just using DOIs directly, but at least they're making some attempt to use standards. Scopus integration is actually beneficial to me personally---my institution has a site license for Scopus---but they should be careful to keep the free/standard services available in all cases.

-The interactive graphs look like chart-junk to me. I can't help but think that they're going to be an utter pain to produce, and the exact raw on the graph is better presented as a data file in the supplemental info. Automatic graph generation, now, that would be more interesting. Perhaps this can be made more useful, but I'd rather write another paper than have to spend weeks fiddling with interactive graphs.

-The author details/research interests stuff smacks of trying to reinvent social networks for academics. Scopus already has a bit of this built in. That's probably where they're getting a lot of the info from. Every program in the 80's and 90's seemed to evolve into a mail client; does every new web application/framework have to reinvent social media?

-Those "research highlights" are repugnant. This is what Abstracts are for! They make us write these at work too; "science summaries" for managers. My attitude is that if the abstract isn't doing a clear job of summarizing a paper's thought, you need to improve the abstract. Making an abstract of the abstract isn't a useful answer. Video abstracts are a joke, right?.

-WTF is up with the math? Why are some of them images?

-I'd like to see a useful implementation of a keyword taxonomy. Keywords on articles have been around forever, an early analogue version of what we now call tagging. There's a lot of data and history there---it would be disappointing to see that lost. It's not displayed on the articles I looked at.
posted by bonehead at 10:00 AM on January 6, 2012


Conceptually fantastic, this is what internet is for. But if you want to sell, meaning monetize and propagate, this awesomeness, then for fucks sake hire some decent voice talent cause it's hard to keep track of all the cool innovation whilst trying very hard not to sleeeeeeeep.
posted by mikoroshi at 10:03 AM on January 6, 2012


According to the BBC "The firm [Elsevier] offered a $25 Amazon voucher to academics who contributed to the textbook Clinical Psychology if they would go on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble (a large US books retailer) and give it five stars." Elsevier said that "encouraging interested parties to post book reviews isn't outside the norm in scholarly publishing, nor is it wrong to offer to nominally compensate people for their time. But in all instances the request should be unbiased, with no incentives for a positive review, and that's where this particular e-mail went too far", and that it was a mistake by a marketing employee.[38]

Wow. I mean, I didn't think you could put a price on integrity, but then here we are.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 10:04 AM on January 6, 2012


I didn't think you could put a price on integrity

What's shocking here is not so much that there's a price on people's integrity--it's that the price is $25!
posted by yoink at 10:08 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Awful lot of similarities to what Inkling is doing (though they're just in scientific textbooks for the time being).
posted by Kabanos at 10:13 AM on January 6, 2012


I thought the Cracked style "50 Things You Can Do With a Blender with Pictures of Jessica Alba (on 49 pages of html)" was the article of the future?

Or maybe it was "How to tie your shoes" on ehow.com, written by a sweatshop copy writer in Indian for .03.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:15 AM on January 6, 2012


-WTF is up with the math? Why are some of them images?

Mathematical equations in HTML are a real bitch.
posted by Kabanos at 10:18 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, a revival of the old multimedia DVD-ROM.

Everyone knows the future is really in doing that CD-ROM shit on iPads.

posted by Artw at 10:20 AM on January 6, 2012


Fuck Elsevier Evilsevier.

They represent everything that's wrong with academic publishing today. I wish those parasites would burn in hell. Last time I ran into an Elsevier big wig at a working group, he tried to convince me that PLOS was evil and poor Elsevier has to charge $42 per article, because well, that's the cost of doing business. Well, fuck you.

They don't pay for peer review. They don't fund research. And then they charge institutions forever to access research that were paid for through public funds. To make your article open access (only select journals), they ask you to pay 2x page what PLOS journals charge.


Title should read "...to explore better ways to extort the academic community"
posted by babby╩╝); Drop table users; -- at 10:20 AM on January 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


ah... MathJax
posted by Kabanos at 10:22 AM on January 6, 2012


Well, I found out how to pronounce "Elsevier".
posted by delmoi at 10:22 AM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mathematical equations in HTML are a real bitch.

I fully appreciate that now, after being thoroughly schooled recently.
posted by bonehead at 10:24 AM on January 6, 2012


oh god, it's like gizmodo's new format, only worse.
or scribd...i wince whenever i link there..
what was wrong with html again?
posted by sexyrobot at 10:24 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Have you seen the article of the future?

Not yet.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:28 AM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was hoping to like any of the ideas in this. As it stands, my general feeling is bemusement. Interactive plots with crosshair cursor? If I want that level detail, I'm going to want to actually use the numbers; make the authors submit the raw data if you want (it's a good idea), but don't make us jump through some crazy hoops to make it happen. Better integration of multimedia should happen, but this is pretty low hanging fruit that could make an appearance in PLoS article without much change, I'd think. Video and/or image abstracts are already available in some of the Cell journals (they even have a youtube page for them), and I actually like them quite a bit. There's a lot of interesting science that I lack the background to understand, and they provide good introductions without the technical density of the paper itself. I don't see anything about tracking retractions, which feels like a critical part of future paper management. Better citation handling would be nice, although it will bump up against some tricky issues with non-journal formats and institution-specific access links. Personally, I'd rather see google scholar be able to handle a search copied out of a bibliography and parse it correctly (instead of returning papers with the same citation text, thanks google!). And how am I going to read these future papers offline?

Mostly, though, I anticipate some horrible author tools they provide for all the fancy nonsense. Writing a paper and generating plots is already time consuming enough, without trying to bring the reader into my "world of discovery." Unless they handle all of the tedious work for us, no one is going to bother with most of this, other than rich media.
posted by Schismatic at 10:32 AM on January 6, 2012



Mathematical equations in HTML are a real bitch.


I know, right? HTML should have really been based on TeX. That would have been completely awesome. AM I RIGHT, TIM BERNERS-LEE?

(he's gotta be a mefite)
posted by zomg at 11:02 AM on January 6, 2012


1. Reverse engineer the internet.
2. Sue everyone!
3. ???
4. Profit!
posted by gallois at 11:10 AM on January 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


But wait! When you order Article of the Future for the low cost of $30,000 a year, we will also charge the author an exorbitant fee for the cost of maintaining Internet "hyper-linkages" (patent pending) within the Article, which must be buffed and polished every time the Article is read! And if you call within the next five minutes, we'll throw in Crazy Critter™, the chew toy your grad students will love!
posted by Behemoth at 11:11 AM on January 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


So the article of the future is a webpage from 1996?
posted by j03 at 11:32 AM on January 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I might be being dense, but it looks like they've invented the <frame> tag.
posted by lekvar at 11:33 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The article of the future is from...

JOVE
posted by mfoight at 11:41 AM on January 6, 2012


Thesis of the future: presented through interpretive dance
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:43 AM on January 6, 2012


"Oh my God, what are we going to do if the US does actually follow through and make all government supported research open access?"

"We've gotta come up with a plan B, something we can still charge for ...

I'll get right on it."

'Article of the Future (may God forbid!)' is plan B.
posted by jamjam at 12:02 PM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I didn't think you could put a price on integrity...

Write a number on this slip of paper and pass it over to me. We already know what I am. Now we're working on the price.
posted by Splunge at 1:07 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


By "future" what they mean is "a place in space-time we once ruled with a clenched fist that we certainly hope is not dwindling as rapidly as it seems to.

If you want to instead see the article of the most futuristic now we've seen yet, go check out PLoS.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:43 PM on January 6, 2012


I know, right? HTML should have really been based on TeX. That would have been completely awesome. AM I RIGHT, TIM BERNERS-LEE?
Actually, that was his first choice. But, he didn't think the average desktop at the time (1989) could handle it, so he went with an SGML derivative.
posted by delmoi at 3:11 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, that [TeX] was his first choice.

I'd love to read more on that. Can you point me to details? [I tried searching for myself, but 'HTML' and 'tex' are almost useless to Google.]
posted by benito.strauss at 4:40 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Elsevier is both evil and worthless : Elsevier attacking scientific publishing. Elsevier supporting SOPA. etc.

Anyone who participates in journal purchasing decisions should skim eigenfactor.org's cost effectiveness rankings and ditch all your Elsevier journals.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:02 PM on January 6, 2012


I hadn't realized that Elsevier has a youtube channel one could vote down and comment one, thanks iamkimiam! lol
posted by jeffburdges at 9:08 PM on January 6, 2012


#firstworldproblemsonly.

Also, a decent portion of this (the whole frame-based thing, not the charts and such) reminds me of Quicklaw or Westlaw. I and most of the students I've discussed it with have found that they are slow to load and look through, visually cluttered, and impede the search process. While something like CanLii is actually a pleasure to read, it's faster to search, and it uses a basic url for references to other cases because hey, we use tabs nowadays. Oh and it's free access.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:34 AM on January 7, 2012


I'd love to read more on that. Can you point me to details? [I tried searching for myself, but 'HTML' and 'tex' are almost useless to Google.]

I remember reading a quote from him once saying basically that. He liked TeX but thought desktop PCs couldn't handle it. If you search with quotes around "tex" Google will find it. I'm just finding stuff that talks about both TeX and SGML, but separately.
posted by delmoi at 7:56 AM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't know, plenty of computers in '89 could handle TeX just fine. Mostly it was rendered into PostScript, which, ahem, was built in to the Display PostScript subsystem of the NeXT computer TB-L was working on at the time he created the damn Web anyway. I will do some more research and see if I can find an interview with TB-L about it.
posted by zomg at 1:16 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


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