Re: Journals dying?, apparently rather slowly (was , I->-I)

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg106826] Re: [mg106791] Journals dying?, apparently rather slowly (was , I->-I)*From*: "David Park" <djmpark at comcast.net>*Date*: Sun, 24 Jan 2010 05:42:33 -0500 (EST)*References*: <27994965.1264251543203.JavaMail.root@n11>

Two topics: technical publishing in general and technical publishing with Mathematica. All those journals are known as vanity publishing, Richard. You pay the publisher, they don't pay you. In the technical world it is hugely expensive, interminably slow, and grossly inefficient at making the useful communication links. More and more, work is published on the web. It is the better archive. Everyone has access to it. An adequate descriptive title and good search engine will find any paper. There is at least one very important paper that is only available on the web. Any useful paper is probably useful to a rather small selected group of people. It is only important that they read the papers. (And one might hope that they would read them closely.) Various groups may have prime characters like Father Marin Mersenne, who spread word through emails and may even send copies of the important papers. It doesn't take long for the scientific world to separate the good from the bad and the useful from the useless. The price of tulips soared before it crashed. Trading in mortgage backed derivatives soared before it crashed. The only thing worse than linear extrapolation is exponential extrapolation. Instead of looking at trends, look at what the intrinsic qualities of things are before deciding what is best. Active, dynamic Mathematica notebooks are a better medium for communicating technical information than static papers. Most of us already know that. I've tried to give some of the reasons why this is so in previous posts. Basically it is because they have more avenues for presenting information, because it is easier for humans to understand actions than static objects, and because there is higher integrity since things have to actually work. That is why Mathematica notebooks, or something like them, will eventually displace static papers. You already see the interest in this with web based Java displays. But they are not yet a part of standard paper publishing. Andrzej suggested that active, dynamic notebooks could be useful for publishing in a field such as financial economics but perhaps not in a field such as algebraic topology. Even though I myself couldn't write anything useful in either of these fields, I wouldn't concede the point. I think Andrzej is saying that dynamics may be more useful with graphics than with algebra, derivations and proofs. This may be only because we haven't worked hard enough at developing the techniques. In fact, algebra, derivations and proofs are the difficult things. They are not only difficult to work out in the first place, but they are difficult for students to understand and for readers to follow. Why are they difficult to follow? Basically because they are presented as a set of static objects and the reader must fill in the transitions. But suppose we think of a derivation or proof as a kind of animation, but instead of an object moving from frame to frame we have an algebraic expression that changes from step to step. The transformations could be carried out by axioms or previous Theorems in the form of rules and definitions. It is much more convincing to see a transformation effected by an active symbolic calculation than having to fill it in by hand, or by imagination. Furthermore, if the writer develops the axioms and theorems in the form of rules and definitions, he has a powerful set of tools at his disposal for further work, and he presents these tools to his reader. One of the difficult things for students is to know precisely what are the starting givens for a proof or derivation. They are often implied or vague. An active, dynamic proof makes them clear and explicit. A proof may be complex and long. It may have an inherent structure and be more like a tree than a straight linear development. It may run on for pages and, especially if there is poor typography, be difficult to follow. It would be much nicer if we could present a proof as a single compact object. Proofs sometimes omit the justification for a step, or refers to it cryptically (Axiom A.5, found 3 pages earlier.) The reader is like a real estate lawyer doing title searches. One part of a proof may depend on other parts that are separate so one has to do a certain amount of flipping back and forth. With dynamics we can do a lot to overcome these problems and clarify the presentation of proofs. We could lay out the proof with buttons in a grid or tree, or any structure we want that might reflect the actual structure of the proof. Thus, in a notebook, the proof would be a compact object. Each button could display a particular 'page' of the proof so we could read the proof in organized chunks. The pages could consist of two-column displays that had explanations on the left the current expressions on the right. Putting the cursor over the expressions would display the Mathematica statement that produced that expression. Then you could arrange it so each button could either produce the page directly in the notebook, just below the structure, or bring it up in a separate window. That way you could arrange any two pages side by side when it was convenient. For example, one page might be the axioms and lemmas (in full useful form) used in the proof. (All of these facilities are actually in the Derivations sub-package that comes with the Presentations package.) One of the principles of dynamic notebooks is: Don't jerk the reader around. Bring the needed material TO the reader, when and where he needs it. Of course, Mathematica notebooks as papers are only useful if they can be universally and freely evaluated. That's the sticking point. David Park djmpark at comcast.net http://home.comcast.net/~djmpark/ From: Richard Fateman [mailto:fateman at cs.berkeley.edu] I just checked my online catalog for names that include "computer" and "journal" and got 945 hits. Now these are either online, or they appear in the catalog which is on line. Do you really think these are all going to be replaced by Mathematica-based dynamic .nb stuff anytime soon? Even stuff like Interactive multimedia electronic journal of computer-enhanced learning [electronic resource] : IMEJ of CEL (started in 1999). and what about International journal of applied mathematics and computer science / Technical University of Zielona That's in Poland. searching for mathematics AND journal I got 600 hits. searching for mathematica AND journal I got 18, e.g. Acta Mathematica Sinica So, in spite of all protestations to the contrary, journals seem to be around, and in fact new ones are starting up and apparently making money, even now. I'm not saying it's a good thing, of course. RJF