Home > Scholarly Communication > On Digital Publishing and Readability

On Digital Publishing and Readability

While it did start a discussion on a topic that I am interested in reading, I am not going to spend time dissecting “Reinventing academic publishing online. Part I: Rigor, relevance and practice”. However, there are two things I wish to say about this article regarding its content. The first point is that I am not going to bother reading this article (which is part 1 of their paper), but I am very much looking forward to reading part 2 of their paper.


Because there are only so many “these are the problems” articles I am willing to read and comment on before I want to read nothing but “here are our/the solutions to these problems” articles. And the second point is that I think it is very ironic how more and more journals are publishing articles that talk about the limitations of the journal publishing models. And, correspondingly, how there is a need to improve them to fit with the reasonable but growing demand for a higher degree of quality, efficiency and effectivity of scholarly communication.

“Smells like “friendly” fire to me.”

Of course, in their defense: scholars generally still consider the (current) journal publishing models the best they have for scholarly communication. So scholars publishing in journals is (still) justified. And journals operating the way they currently do is also (still) justified. The latter not without growing pressure to do better, I think/hope.

Anyway, this article actually triggered a discussion on the issue of readability on FriendFeed.

“But nothing on the content itself? Awkward…”

I cannot constructively comment on the (lack of) readability of this article since I have not read it. Yet, I did notice the use of bulleted lists as I skimmed through the article, and there is something I wish to share. See, I was once told by one of my professors, as a critique on a report I submitted, that using bulleted lists was generally not recommended. Apparently, bulleted lists take the “flow” out of (reading) the text. That was a sad day for me, since I really like bulleted lists. To me, it makes reading/absorbing the information easier/faster, but I could see my professor’s point, too.

“Now you have to learn how to write better. Bummer.”

Also, they read all their stuff printed/analog, while I try to read as much (and fast) off the computer screen as I can (saves ink, printing can be expensive!). I wonder if that can make a difference, too. Maybe bulleted lists are just better for people who aren’t solely focused on reading something, while they can be an annoyance to people heavily focused on the text.

“It’s probably just the ADD kicking in for Internet Junkies like you.”

Indeed. Maybe I should just try to read more printed stuff, away from my computer.

“That is a natural progression from “IT bum” to “adult”. I guess there is still hope for you.”

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