Computer Usefulness in Publishing, 1969 and Now

In 1969 a publishing executive mused about whether and how computers had helped his industry: “Pitfalls to Computer Use in Publishing and Communication,” Daniel Melcher, Journal of Business Communication, vol. 6, no. 2, Winter 1969, pp. 47-51. The author, chairman of the R.R. Bowker Company, says: Most large publishers now have computers; many small ones […]

Blank pages in 18th century books (study)

Anyone who’s seen the phrase “This page has intentionally been left blank” and who has been left thinking that it’s a relatively modern construct – think again. Intentionally blank pages have been around, in abundance, since at least the 18th century. Dr. Anne Toner (Trinity College Cambridge, UK), has extensively researched varieties of incompleteness in […]

Time Travel and Journal Publishing

Can journal publishers travel backwards in time? You may think the answer is no, but consider the following case. Along with Ginestra Bianconi of Queen Mary University of London, I edited a special issue of European Journal of Applied Mathematics on “Network Analysis and Modelling.” To introduce the special issue, Ginestra and I wrote an editorial. As […]

The promiscuous use of promiscuous in zoology papers

Watch your language about promiscuity, suggest Elgar, Jones and McNamara — and watch out for other people’s language. Their study explains: “Promiscuous Words,” Mark A Elgar [pictured here , above left], Therésa M Jones [pictured here below, right] and Kathryn B McNamara, Frontiers in Zoology, 2013, 10:66. (Thanks to Ed Yong for bringing this to our […]

In Lamentably-Successful Search of Rotten, Scammy Journals

Reader (when reading a study) and writer (when submitting a study for publication) beware — if the journal publishing (or offering to publish) that study is not known to you. Dan Vergano explains, in this National Geographic article: Fake Cancer Study Spotlights Bogus Science Journals A cancer drug discovered in a humble lichen, and ready […]

Antarctica research discovery: A mighty publishing empire

A mighty publishing empire grows (sort of) in Antarctica (sort of). Investigator Matthias Ehrgott writes: “Some time ago I wrote to you about the Antarctica Journal of Mathematics. It seems the research activity in Antarctica has now considerably expanded to many sub-areas of Engineering, Bio- and Information Technology.”  Ergott gave us a copy of this […]

Computer Usefulness, 1969 and Now

In 1969 a publishing executive wryly tallied up whether and how computers had helped his industry: “Pitfalls to Computer Use in Publishing and Communication,” Daniel Melcher, Journal of Business Communication, vol. 6, no. 2, Winter 1969, pp. 47-51. The author, chairman of the R.R. Bowker Company, says: Most large publishers now have computers; many small […]

Gutenberg’s desired output (toilet paper, of a sort)

The man who invented the printing press planned to make good, practical use of it, according to Michael Lewis (writing in Vanity Fair): The first thing Gutenberg [pictured here] sought to publish, after the Bible, was a laxative timetable he called a “Purgation-Calendar.” Here is a fragment of that Purgation-Calendar (reprinted in An introduction to […]