The tyranny of formatting
The early conferences put on by FORCE11, the Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship, were exciting events. FORCE11 was founded because kindred spirits around the world felt that our current system for scholarly publishing seemed to be stuck in a model that had come into existence 350 years ago. The early conferences were originally named “Beyond the PDF” exactly for that reason. While most of our revolutionary zeal was directed towards pushing new forms of communication and reward systems for designed around data and code sharing, these conferences also shined a spotlight on how even seemingly mundane processes such as formatting needed to be rethought.
After the 2013 Beyond the PDF meeting in Amsterdam, I wrote a little blog about the costs imposed by simply porting conventions about formatting from the print era into the electronic age on scientific productivity (and the author’s blood pressure!). In this presentation, I will revisit the issues raised in the blog to see where we stand and perhaps bring up other petty annoyances that are eminently fixable.
Maryann Martone received her BA from Wellesley College in Biological Psychology and Ancient Greek and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego. She is a professor Emerita at UCSD, but still maintains an active laboratory, the FAIR Data Informatics Lab. She started her career as a neuroanatomist, specializing in light and electron microscopy, but her main research for the past 20 years focused on informatics for neuroscience, i.e., neuroinformatics. She led the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF), a national project to establish a uniform resource description framework for neuroscience, and the NIDDK Information Network (dknet), a portal for connecting researchers in digestive, kidney and metabolic disease to data, tools, and materials.
Dr. Martone is past President of FORCE11, an organization dedicated to advancing scholarly communication and e-scholarship and served as Editor-in-Chief for Brain and Behavior for five years. She completed two years as the chair of the Council on Training, Science and Infrastructure for the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility and is now the chair of the Governing Board. Since retiring, she served as the Director of Biological Sciences for Hypothesis, a technology non-profit developing an open annotation layer for the web (2015-2018) and founded SciCrunch, a technology start up based on technologies developed by NIF and dkNET. Her current projects include dkNET, the Open Data Commons for Spinal Cord Injury, the Open Data Commons for Traumatic Brain Injury, the PRE Clinical Interagency Research Resource for TBI (PRECISE), SPARC (Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions), Re-JOIN HEAL and ReroNIM.