Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, June 04, 2007

Time for open file formats at Science and Nature?

Science and Nature are not accepting submissions created by Microsoft Word 2007.  (Thanks to Rob Weir via Slashdot.) 

From Science's instructions for Word users:

Because of changes Microsoft has made in its recent Word release that are incompatible with our internal workflow, which was built around previous versions of the software, Science cannot at present accept any files in the new .docx format produced through Microsoft Word 2007, either for initial submission or for revision....

Users of Word 2007 should also be aware that equations created with the default equation editor included in Microsoft Word 2007 will be unacceptable in revision, even if the file is converted to a format compatible with earlier versions of Word; this is because conversion will render equations as graphics and prevent electronic printing of equations, and because the default equation editor packaged with Word 2007 -- for reasons that, quite frankly, utterly baffle us -- was not designed to be compatible with MathML. Regrettably, we will be forced to return any revised manuscript created with the Word 2007 default equation editor to authors for re-editing....

From Nature's instructions for Word users:

We currently cannot accept files saved in Microsoft Office 2007 formats. Equations and special characters (for example, Greek letters) cannot be edited and are incompatible with Nature's own editing and typesetting programs.

I like Rob Weir's advice:

If Science and Nature need to update their templates, then I'd suggest they take a look at ODF [OpenDocument Format]. Not only does it use MathML for equations, but it is an open standard, an ISO standard, a platform and application-neutral standard that has many implementations, including several good open source ones....