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Hans Aberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 31 Oct 1997 16:08:30 +0100
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>> Phillip Helbig <[log in to unmask]>:
>>Are there a lot of authors
>> writing papers in several English dialects simultaneously?
>Well, my next paper I intend to submit to the Monthly Notices of the
>Royal Astronomical Society, who in their style guide say `please use
>British spelling'.  Part of this might be recycled for, say, a
>conference proceeding (or the other way around) published by, say, an
>American publisher who is equally adamant about using American spelling.

  This sounds like an ethics violating from the part of the involved
scientific journals. The question should be brought up before the ethics
committee of an international scientific association.

  In general, I think authors would be expected to write scientific papers
in an acceptable scientific style of their choice; if the journal then
wants to alter that style, they should engage its own personnel. If a paper
is rejected on basis of style, it is an ethics violation of that journal,
and that should be pointed out. Journals that do not follow this cannot be
labelled scientific journals, just as those that do not demonstrate proper
refereeing procedures. Clearly, the purpose of a scientific journal is not
to present material in a particular style, but to present scientific
results; the style is subordinate to that, only serving the purpose of
aiding the communication of those scientific results.

  I understand well that this is not the reality of today: In fact, there
is a strong tendency of forcing authors doing the work that typesetters
should do. Physicists are inventing typesetting standards which are really
not possible to write mathematics in, and so on. I do not think there is a
case of a scientific journal that is labelled as non-scientific regardless
of how much rules they break. But the reason it is going on like that is
that nobody protests.

  I can give one example, in order to make this more explicit: In
traditional math, it is common to label only important equations, and those
that are referred to. This is a way to communicate information to the
reader. However, I have noticed that some applied journals require equation
numbers on pretty much all equations. This is not not to be considered a
journal style really, but a request to the author to alter some of the
semantic contents (as the information communicated to the reader is
changed). In fact, I think the AMS packages had to implement special
commands in order to accomodate this common mathematical style, because
LaTeX does not permit it.

  Returning to LaTeX3, I think Frank Mittelbach said that the idea is to
serve the user community. So this seems to imply that one should such
special commands in order to serve the user commounity. But on the other
hand, it can be hard to accommodate various whims by journals. For example
US and UK English do not differ only in choice of spelling for different
words, but also in choice of words and in some cases, the grammar, too.

  Hans Aberg
                  * Email: Hans Aberg <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
                  * AMS member listing: <>