Re: Newsletter & Call for Papers WebSci'18

Warning: there is *nothing* about the Semantic Web in this post.
I guess that mean I won't complain if a moderator removes it as inappropriate.

I apologise to those who are annoyed that my previous post may have caused this thread to be bigger than it might have been.
And also that this post is probably so long and rambling that even I wouldn't read it, but there you go.

My personal feeling is simply that I am bored with these discussions - I have been having them for more than 35 years, and there is very little, if anything that I ever see new in them.
(This is because of things like: I got interested when I photo-typeset my own book in 1983; I was a fellow-traveller of David Barron (peace be upon him) with SGML etc.,; I was/am a colleague of Stevan Harnad and Les Carr; and on the Open Access front I was in charge of what I think was the first institutional repository to have an Open Access mandate, following the Budapest OAI. Oh, and I worked hard to get ePrints to deliver RDF and even provide Linked Data too.)
There are many, many other fora that have these discussions, and I have been in them, and choose not to any more.
So having them in this forum is a bit like me going to the pub to get away from the kids, and then finding there is a school party in the pub when I get there.
Perhaps we could also discuss the following:
vi or emacs?
Word or Latex?
But I digress.

OK, you did get me, so I'll try to be little helpful.
There may even be some requirements from this.
I should say that I hate PDF with a passion - it just seems the most bizarre thing to do for electronic document delivery, and I have always felt that.
In the early days I remember getting PDF documents from the US that wouldn't print properly (US legal or whatever v. A4), and saying that if a PDF document can't be printed, then really, what is the point?!

> On 22 Feb 2018, at 11:41, Ruben Verborgh <> wrote:
>>> Having your work more openly available,
>>> faster feedback by a much broader audience,
>>> having more means to communicate and visualize research.
>> How does switching away from PDF get all this?
> For HTML as a format:
> – screen-based text flow instead of being locked to a page,
er, and this is helpful?
When I read an important document, I put at least two pages side by side, or sometimes four (on quite a big screen, of course). This is easily done in PDF, and the result still looks sensible, without me having to mess about with anything (other than one menu click).
Is there some web page viewer that helps me do this, such as making pages multiple columns in a readable fashion?
(Sounds like a fun plugin, but I can't find one.)
[What really pisses me off is when things take up the full width or height of my screen, by the way.]
>   so you can read on mobile and other devices
hmmm, don't really need that - if I want to read something that I need to think about, I want it on a big screen, also so that I can easily have related documents in view at the same time.
> – possibility to use interactive visualizations and video
I happen to much prefer words, as giving good cost/benefit on time, for research papers, although I guess some people and subjects are different.
> – linking to individual sections from other documents
I don't like this.
I prefer to understand a sequence of stuff in a logical order, as proposed by authors.
I deeply, deeply hate footnotes, and even worse, end of chapter or book annotations. You are the author - tell me what you want me to read, with the words you want me to read in the order you want me to read them.
I would be happy with proper transclusion (à la Ted), of course, but that isn't what you are talking about.
Anyway, PDF and Word allow the sort of thing you are talking about.
> However, it's not just a format issue of PDF versus HTML,
> but rather of closed page-based communication versus open Web-based communication:
> – faster feedback because the feedback loop starts when something is published on the Web
> – broader audience for feedback because anyone can link and comment, not just the reviewers
> – the page remains alive and updates can be added; paper is locked
Yeah - so these are all arguments for Open Access - fine.
Heard it all before - been there, got the T-Shirt.
But good that you separate it out from the format discussion.
And I'm guessing that you understand that it is nothing to do with the rest of the discussion - it is a social issue that has implications for some of the technologies.
(As is the question of formats too.)

>> For me to  switch the new model has to be easier to author content, or make up
>> for it in other ways.
> Difficulty does not increase; other ways, see above.
>>> The job of a reviewer doesn't change.
>> Again, it's not enough to just keep things the same.  There have to be
>> benefits to switching.
> True; I did mention them.
I haven't seen any benefits I recognise - certainly nothing worth spending my time on.
> Just wanted to make the point it doesn't become harder,
It does become harder for me at this moment - there is already a mature, but possibly broken in concept, set of technologies that hang together in a fragile way, after years of evolution.
Trying to get to a new set of technologies that are as convenient as the existing lot is a phenomenal challenge.
It's very like trying to persuade people to use triple stores and RDF instead of relational DBs - the provision of hardened toolsets and environments (and trained staff), to get someone to move to them is not something that I can usually honestly argue.
(OK, I lied - I just slipped something semantic in there.)
> but that it brings the benefits of doing science on an open network
> without centralized control.
>> Open reviewing is an interesting idea, but I'm not convinced that there are
>> any benefits that come from it.  In any case, PDF can be used in open reviewing.
> It's not a format war of PDF versus HTML.
> It's about using the Web to do scholarly communication.
So I'm not sure what you are saying - me delivering my content in PDF is OK then?
>> There are benefits to having a single-file fixed-format
>> publication vehicle like PDF that I don't want to give up. 
> That's an interesting point, and it would be good if we'd all list them,
> so we can see what we still need to do with our tooling.
As in my first comments above.
You can add:
Offline document creation;
Offline document reading;
Working well with existing tools such as Word, Latex, EasyChair, email, Google Docs, Excel, PowerPoint, KeyNote, Dropbox, vi, emac, ePrints, Space, PURE, etc. (So I don't have to replace all my tools and learn lots of new stuff at one go.)

> Mathematical typesetting has come up already
> (but still waiting for examples that are hard/impossible now).
> Best,
> Ruben

023 8061 5652

Received on Thursday, 22 February 2018 16:00:36 UTC