Columbia's Group for Experimental Methods in the Humanities
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Sustainable Authorship workshops + article


03/14 The Sustainable Authorship Workshop publishes Tenen, Dennis, and Grant Wythoff. “Sustainable Authorship in Plain Text.” The Programming Historian.

A series of workshops on authorship using markdown, plain text, and pandoc, that culminated in an article for the Programming Historian.

Writing, storing, and retrieving documents are activities central to the humanities research workflow. And yet, many authors base their practice on proprietary tools and formats that sometimes fall short of even the most basic requirements of scholarly writing. Perhaps you can relate to being frustrated by the fragility of footnotes, bibliographies, figures, and book drafts authored in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Nevertheless, most journals still insist on submissions in .docx format.

More than causing personal frustration, this reliance on proprietary tools and formats has long-term negative implications for the academic community. In such an environment, journals must outsource typesetting, alienating authors from the material contexts of publication and adding further unnecessary barriers to the unfettered circulation of knowledge.