OSCAR's wishList for Nature

Neil Withers of Nature Chemistry has asked the community what they would like to see. Before answering let me applaud Nature on asking, and I see that the blogosphere has already started. Although I campaign for Open Access I’m more interested in Open Data, so I;m going to add those thoughts at the end. I write from the point of view of OSCAR the chemistry text-mining journal-eating robot…


Hi everyone,
This week the Nature Chemistry team have been thinking about how we display our wonderful papers (when we finally open the doors and eventually publish a paper, anyway).
We’d really like to see what everyone else thinks about some of the things we discussed after looking at what other journals have to offer.
So, the things we’re interested in:
(1) HTML vs PDF: does anyone read the HTML articles? Do you read the PDF on-screen or print it out?

OSCAR: I hate PDF. It tastes awful – like eating paper. I like HTML. It tastes of ASCII

(2) Big vs little graphics: what does everyone else think about the tiny size of the graphics in ACS html articles?

OSCAR: I don’t like graphics – they hurt my brain. I’d much rather have nice crunchy CML behind them

(3) Tagging/’semantic web’: what do you think about the toys on the RSC’s Project Prospect? What kind of things would you like to see tagged/linked to other content in Nature Chemistry? For instance, Steve would love to do something with named reactions.

OSCAR: I helped the RSC with Project Prospect so I feel quite proud. It’s got a way to go, though before it’s a full meal.
If you are going to do reactions, please use CMLReact. It’s scrumptious

(4) 3D molecular structures: do these help your understanding of a paper?

OSCAR: Oh yes. I can eat hundreds before breakfast

(5) How useful to you are InChIs and SMILES?

OSCAR: They’re both useful. I don’t like INCHI-Key – it’s like chewing beanstalks. InChI’s OK. SMILES is fine but it tastes too organic for my liking.

(6) Forward linking: the RSC and Elsevier/Science Direct offer this – do you use it? Would you use an RSS feed that alerted you to new citations of a particular paper.

OSCAR: If I can read a paper I can store it and I can do my own linking. But I’m not allowed to. Everyone keeps saying I should wait till I grow up before they’ll let me have real papers. I get some scraps called “Fare use”, but the fare is pretty awful.

(7) Would you actually comment on papers if there was a comments box at the end?

OSCAR. Absolutely. I can commone on hundreds of papers a day. Or thousands. Unfortunately I’m trained to fid the bad bits in papers and spit them out. Like missing decimal points or silly formula. Not every likes being told their food is bad.

(8) We really like the Biochemical Society’s HTML article style (sample one here) – do you?

OSCAR: ARGGGGGGGGGGH! Fancy trendy eye candy. Look nice tastes horrible. I can’t even read a page without falling over. Just plain XHTML, with RSS sauce and CML, please. It tastes good and it does you good.

If we could get a deluge of posts about this one, we’d be overjoyed! And this is your chance to voice your opinion on what a Nature Chemistry paper should look like.

OSCAR: Oh, and I’d like a free lunch of OPEN DATA, please. Structures are good, but how about some spectra as well. Mind you, if I eat too many spectra I get a hangover.

Neil Withers (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to OSCAR's wishList for Nature

  1. I’m sure copyright forbids you to use the green garbage bin monster, but I clearly see him raise his head out of the bin on this item! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Science in the open » A new type of chemistry journal: Nature Chemistry requests input

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *