Computing Publication Online

A lot has been said about the scientific publication process, and how the publishers add value. I have commented before on the joys of being asked to pay extra page charges for colour pixels [1], which as a naive scientist [2] I would think costs the same as black and white ones. I am not always convinced of the value that is bought but even I am occasionally surprised by how paleolithic the industry can be. An example is a new article on Clojure for concurrency.

The article itself is fine, and I make no comments on it. But the display is highly interesting. Firstly, it uses a nice Javascript paging interface in case your browser is not equipped with scrollbars. If you manage to defeat this (there is a “Display stuff on one page” button), then scroll down to Figure 2 which is a code listing. It is split into two parts: Figure 2 and Figure 2 (continued) — if anyone can tell me why this is a good idea on the web, I’d be interested. Even better, it’s a GIF. An image, of a piece of code. Not easy to say for sure, but it even looks rather like an image of a print out.

Still, all is saved, because if you scroll to the end, you find that all the code is on github. There is even a URL there which takes you straight to it; or, rather, you can cut-and-paste it into your browser, because it’s not hyperlinked, and neither are any of the others.

A quick check suggests that this is normal practice. All a bit of an epic fail really.

References

  1. P. Lord, "Bringing Things to Life", An Exercise in Irrelevance, 2012. http://www.russet.org.uk/blog/2170
  2. P. Lord, "The Naivete of Scientists", An Exercise in Irrelevance, 2011. http://www.russet.org.uk/blog/1924