New York, NY Friday, January 1, 2016
Whether evolution or revolution, academic and professional publishing is changing in ways that both augment and subtract from what has been familiar to us. Careful consideration of how we at ACM Computing Reviews (CR) might embrace certain newer developments is now on the table.
There has been a fair amount of interest for a while in a concept called “article of the future,” with reference to how research and scholarly work will be presented, incorporating additional forms beyond the traditional text plus images and graphs. We should expect to see charts that we can manipulate, underlying data that can be reused and re-analyzed, and of course executable code related to the problem studied. Some suggest that seeing data and code will become more routine and finding them will be easier. Perhaps such things will no longer be labeled as “supplemental.” Entire journals are dedicated to “data papers.”
These extra things will give a much more complete picture of the actual work, plus help explain it. A new way to introduce a lengthy and complex article is through a video abstract. The New Journal of Physics (Institute of Physics Publishing) has guidelines for its authors who wish to contribute a short video to introduce the research. Elsevier’s Journal of Number Theory has its own channel on YouTube for similar short introductions to some very abstract mathematics research. Better explication of lab methods is the motivation for subscribers to the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), said to be the first peer-reviewed scientific video journal.
There are several hundred videos already incorporated in the ACM Digital Library, and many more on the web, including departmental lectures and classes. We have recently begun a pilot project to review some of these. We have expanded our reviewer guidelines so that relevant aspects of the production values of videos are mentioned. The infrastructure that runs our operation is based upon feeds of metadata. Metadata for a video needs more descriptive elements, especially timings. Surely, among our active pool of reviewers, we will find more individuals interested in writing reviews of videos.
Many of the computing videos one finds on the open web are pedagogical; the video lecturer often ends up creating an accompanying book available from a self-publishing platform like Leanpub.com or Lulu. Few of these books have been reviewed in CR, probably because they do not routinely appear in the metadata feeds we routinely get from ACM. Any extra effort to cover these will help bring inexpensive or open educational resources to the attention of our audience.
Video is just one of the new media types we will be reviewing in the coming year. Look for reviews of these new media types in future issues. We’re interested in hearing what you think!
Editor in Chief