- Science periodicals — New York, NY
For over a century, submission style guides have been the principal interface between authors and journals. However, as journals have evolved from paper to the digital age, style guides have remained largely unchanged. Style guides today provide recommendations to ensure uniform visual style required for print, but not machine-readability required for the web. The result is a time-intensive process for authors to fill in forms at submission to capture structured data already present in the manuscript, and an expensive and error-prone production process for publishers to manually extract structured data from ambiguous text before publishing on the web. We developed a new style guide for scholarly submissions, DOCX Standard Scientific Style (DS3). DS3 targets documents written in Microsoft Word (DOCX) and enables the capture of enough structured data to be automatically convertible to data-rich, accessible, semantic HTML (Scholarly HTML). DS3 was designed on a set of core principles: add structure, eliminate ambiguity, embed addressable rich content, and ensure accessibility; all while minimizing cognitive burden, presenting clear minimum requirements, and providing the convenience to choose between multiple input methods. Recommendations in DS3 are illustrated with an interactive visualization demonstrating the structured data (JSON-LD) each allows to collect. In the same way that librarians standardized collections metadata with Dublin Core, we call for a “Dublin-Core”-equivalent standard for scholarly submissions. Such a standard could serve to improve the authors’ experience, increase discoverability and accessibility of published science on the web, and reduce production costs. We propose DS3 as a candidate for such a standard.
eLife submission guidelines include a recommendation for explicitly linking resources to dependencies (see ‘Figure supplements’ and ‘Source data’ in http://submit.elifesciences.org/html/elife_author_instructions.html).