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Some Journals Rejecting Office 2007 Format

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the embrace-extend-extinguish-yourself dept.

Microsoft 474

hormiga writes "Some scholarly journals are rejecting submissions made using new Office 2007 formats. Science and Nature are among publishers unwilling to deal with incompatibilities in the new formats, and recommend using older versions of Office or converting to older formats before submission. The new equation editor is cited as a specific problem. Rob Wier recommends that those publishers consider using ODF instead."

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474 comments

Word processors seem unsuited for this (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19366991)

Huh, strange that Science and Nature are using a standard text editor format at all. You'd thing something TeX-based would be more suited for this purpose(based on my experiences on writing math on computers).

Re:Word processors seem unsuited for this (4, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367231)

Science and Nature are more about biological/geological/cellular/laboratory science. "Math" mean statistics and some charts and graphs.

Re:Word processors seem unsuited for this (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19367363)

Yes of course. Scientists use different numbers and equations than mathematicians dont they.

Yet at my job (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19367003)

We're still prying some professors away from Word Perfect 5.1.

Re:Yet at my job (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367147)

Word Perfect 5.1 and MS Office 97.

Why oh why did we ever buy any office suits after these?

The world would be a better place if all energy would have been put in maintaining these and having them interoperating.

Why use Doc at all? (0, Flamebait)

rritterson (588983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367005)

Why would you submit a journal paper in a closed, binary format? I'm surprised those two journals would even accept Microsoft formats. It makes a lot more sense to use something like TeX, to split the markup from the content, much the same way CSS and HTML work together. Not only is it easier to edit and send around the lab for editing, it's also much easier on the copy editors when they want to typeset it for printing. As far as I know, the journal only takes your images and text, and lays them out on the page. All of the extra crap Word stuffs into it's files is superfluous anyway.

Re:Why use Doc at all? (4, Insightful)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367035)

Why? Because some people do not care about formats, they simply use the computer as a tool to create work. If the computer their superiors give them has Word 2007 on it, then that is what they use. They type in their stuff, use the equation editor, etc, done.

The average user cattle doesn't care about the data format war, only the technical folks. It is a power that should not be wielded lightly, this format war.

Re:Why use Doc at all? (3, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367075)

some people do not care about formats, they simply use the computer as a tool to create work. If the computer their superiors give them has Word 2007 on it, then that is what they use.

Outside a cubicle, there is no such person. Find me a push over like that with a PhD in any scientific field and I'll give you a nickel. "Superior", that cracks me up. These people use Word only when their computer Inferiors demand it. You don't really want to know what they think of journals.

Re:Why use Doc at all? (1)

cooldev (204270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367169)

Outside a cubicle, there is no such person. Find me a push over like that with a PhD in any scientific field and I'll give you a nickel. "Superior", that cracks me up. These people use Word only when their computer Inferiors demand it. You don't really want to know what they think of journals.
-
Friends don't help friends install MS junk.

Well, it's good to see that you're open minded...

Re:Why use Doc at all? (2, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367295)

Science and Nature don't cater to people that spend all day writing emacs macros to prove their lambda calculus theorems, it's for people that wear labcoats and do chemical/biological research. I have a Master's degree in a cellular biology. I've worked with a lot of PhD candidates and tenured professors. Dozens of papers were published yearly. The secretary was more computer literate than most of them.

Re:Why use Doc at all? (3, Informative)

beyondkaoru (1008447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367411)

computer literacy aside, i've noticed that a ton of math and science academics know how to use latex really nicely, even if they don't know much about computers. it makes sense if you're doing a lot of equations/formulas and they need to be legible.

Re:Why use Doc at all? (3, Interesting)

esme (17526) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367327)

I wouldn't call her a push-over, but my wife is an experimental linguist who uses Word (and used Word for her diss). She uses a Mac, but generally upgrade to new versions as they come out to avoid problems reading docs from other people.

When she started working on her diss, I volunteered to learn LaTeX and BibTeX with her, to support her, bought a book on LaTeX, etc. But at the end of the day, she knew Word, and most of her colleagues and committee members used Word (especially the commenting and change-tracking features).

I've certainly known academics who used LaTeX, and even other stuff like roff. But most of the time, they use Word because the collaboration features are so much more robust, because that's what most people are familiar with, and all the journals accept it.

-Esme

Re:Why use Doc at all? (4, Insightful)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367415)

Outside a cubicle, there is no such person. Find me a push over like that with a PhD in any scientific field and I'll give you a nickel. "Superior", that cracks me up. These people use Word only when their computer Inferiors demand it. You don't really want to know what they think of journals.


We're not being elitist, are we?

You owe me a nickel. I know several people with various scientific PhDs (mostly in Physics and Chemistry) who use Word on a regular basis. They know and use TeX, too, but that doesn't mean that they don't use Word when it's the best tool for the job.

And, by the way, none of them would ever think of the people they work with as "computer Inferiors" because they don't want to screw with TeX files.

You know what? I'd rather that people not send me either. Don't send me ODF, don't send me DOC. Send me a damn PDF.

Re: Why use Doc at all? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367199)

Why? Because some people do not care about formats
Journals, OTOH, like all their articles to look the same.

Re:Why use Doc at all? (1)

bh_doc (930270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367083)

A thousand times yes. Using TeX is standard practice for physics and math papers. Why is it that Nature (not sure about Science) does not accept TeX documents? DOC? Why?

It's probably the fault of the biologists. Silly biologists.

But besides, Nature (again, not sure about Science) takes DOC files that have to be formatted in a certain way that is quite different to what ends up in the journal. They accept PDF like that, too, which is interesting.

Re:Why use Doc at all? (5, Informative)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367113)

I'm not in a scientific field, but I am on the staff of a scholarly journal.

In my field, people don't even think about format. If you say "submit a paper," it's just assumed it will be in Word format. What's more, many scholarly papers are sufficiently complex that incompatibilities arise if you try to use OpenOffice or a variant to create those Word documents. If you are submitting a final product for something like a class, you can get around this by providing a PDF, but as journal articles face a lengthy editing process an editable format is required for submissions to journals.

If you asked our scholars for ODF, TeX, or anything else other than Word, they wouldn't even understand what you meant. If you are going to write something, you write it in Word, and hit "Save," and that's how things are written. You'd be amazed how many people ask me how I generate those weird PDFs... even though, if you have Adobe Reader installed, there is a PDF button in your Word toolbar. (And the people using Macs have a "PDF" button in the Print dialog box.)

I hate Word with a passion, although I've never used Word 2007, because it thinks it's smarter than me. (As OpenOffice so slavishly tries to imitate Word I have some of the same problems with it.) I'd use something else if it were remotely possible. But it's just... not, at least in my field.

Re:Why use Doc at all? (2, Interesting)

Beetle B. (516615) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367171)

You failed to explain why the default thing to accept is a Word document and not an Open Office one. I don't know your field, but I am an academic, and have never met a faculty member who was simply so incompetent that he could use Word but not Open Office. If a journal demands something in Open Office and puts up relevant links on how to get it, very few will complain. So why should the default behavior be to accept something that costs the users money, and not accept something that won't?

Regarding generating PDF's, I'm not sure what you mean. We have the free Adobe Reader on our office computers. And Word does not have an option to save as PDF. For that, we have to pay Adobe.

Re:Why use Doc at all? (4, Interesting)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367237)

I'm in law. Feel free to make your own joke here.

Many of our scholars, while they generate terrific scholarly work, are just not computer-competent. I absolutely cannot imagine getting them to successfully install OpenOffice, or their IT departments (which are frequently not much better) to support it. (These are folks who call for support to ask things like "How do I make a table?") If you required ODF, you would lose some submissions from those who actually read the requirement, and get 99% of your others in .doc format (as I said, people don't even think about format -- if they are writing something, they just open Word, hit "Save," and send it.)

Every school I know about buys a site license for MS Office, and either extends that to students (at considerable expense) or *requires* students to purchase MS Office along with their computers. Honestly, the assumption of Word is so ingrained, trying to challenge it in the legal academic field would be emptying the ocean with a bucket.

Re:Why use Doc at all? (2, Interesting)

Tickletaint (1088359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367329)

When did everyone in law stop using WordPerfect? Or was that only ever the standard outside of academia?

Re:Why use Doc at all? (1)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367351)

I don't know about everyone in the legal field by a long shot. But, in the environments I'm familiar with, support gradually dwindled once WP shifted from DOS to Windows, partly because Windows key bindings sometimes conflicted with age-old WP ones and people had to relearn stuff anyway, partly because WP for Windows always has had some stability issues, and partly because the makers of expensive macro packages often used in law firms started to focus on developing for Word.

Today (I would estimate since about 2000-2002), Word is basically universal. People expect documents in Word format; not everyone can even read a .wpd anymore. Even the DOJ, one of the last WordPerfect holdouts, simultaneously uses Word and often needs to send or file documents in Word format.

Re:Why use Doc at all? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19367293)

If you're using Word 2007, go here [microsoft.com] for the free "Save as PDF/XPS add-on" that Microsoft originally included in Office until Adobe sued them so ya haveta go get it yourself.

-AC

Re:Why use Doc at all? (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367333)

And Word does not have an option to save as PDF. For that, we have to pay Adobe
Yeah, because there aren't any free PDF print drivers out there. [google.com]

Re: Why use Doc at all? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367221)

I'm not in a scientific field, but I am on the staff of a scholarly journal.

If you asked our scholars for ODF, TeX, or anything else other than Word, they wouldn't even understand what you meant.
I'm guessing that your journal isn't in the field of science or mathematics.

Re: Why use Doc at all? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367253)

I'm guessing that your journal isn't in the field of science or mathematics.

People in math and many other sciences are not automatically computer savvy. For many people in science, the PC is more or less just for writing papers. Word has the wides acceptability because everyone has it. Many scientists don't care about the politics surrounding Microsoft, they are not computer scientists, and they have other things to care about. I know, shocking, but true.

Re: Why use Doc at all? (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367307)

I'm guessing that your journal isn't in the field of science or mathematics.
People in math and many other sciences are not automatically computer savvy.
That wasn't my point. It's just that LaTeX is the de facto standard for generating professional publications in most of the sciences, mathematics, and CS. So when he says his journal's authors wouldn't know WTF tex is, I can draw the conclusion with reasonable confidence that his journal isn't in one of those fields.

Re: Why use Doc at all? (1)

scheme (19778) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367367)

That wasn't my point. It's just that LaTeX is the de facto standard for generating professional publications in most of the sciences, mathematics, and CS. So when he says his journal's authors wouldn't know WTF tex is, I can draw the conclusion with reasonable confidence that his journal isn't in one of those fields.

That's only really the case for physics in the sciences. The chemists and biologists tend to use word or other things besides TeX/LaTeX.

Re: Why use Doc at all? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367443)

Odd. I asked my dad about that once. He was an oceanography professor for 30 years at a well known school on the West Coast. He's published a few papers... Said he used WordPerfect until switching to Word. But he's probably the exception.

Re: Why use Doc at all? (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367319)

While that might be true, I personally would be willing to speculate that many people in those fields would have at least had some formal training on how to use TeX/LaTeX or some Equation Editing software, at least for the sake of completing a thesis.

One of my professors, who is a mathematician in academia, is not the most computer-savvy, but is using some distribution of Linux and knows how to write documents in TeX fairly well.

This kind of argument is much like English major students not knowing how to use a computer by default. It is somewhat discriminative.

Re:Why use Doc at all? (2, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367227)

PDF. I've never submitted a paper in anything else. I didn't actually realize that big journals would take DOC either.

Re:Why use Doc at all? (2, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367239)

For quite a lot of journals the submission format really doesn't matter as long as they can get the text and the images (which you often need to submit separately for final submission). The formatting you did is just used for reviewing (and as such only needs to be an approximation of the final format); the final submission is set from the raw text and images no matter what the original format was.

Conferences (and newer, smaller journals) tend to be different in that they really do use the author-submitted formatting, as a base or directly, as-is. Then exact formatting becomes an issue. Of course, look in any conference proceeding and you'll be astonished at the breadth of typographical design that still formally conforms to the same formatting instructions. It's often trivial to pick up the LaTeX-submitted papers (very strictly correct, but with a somewhat formal, old appearance) from early Word versions (thick-set fonts, spacing is all over the place, flush right never really is) and newer Word (OK; pretty neutral appearance though still with strange spacing variability between different elements).

Re:Why use Doc at all? (5, Interesting)

ajanp (1083247) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367311)

Regardless of the reasoning behind it, it should be clarified what file formats are and aren't allowed currently at Nature and Science since it seems like there is a lot of conflicting information.


Nature: http://npg.nature.com/nature/submit/finalsubmissio n/SI/index.html [nature.com]
# MS Word document (.doc) (preferred)
# Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
# Plain ASCII text (.txt)
# Rich Text Format (.rtf)
# WordPerfect document (.wpd)
# PostScript (.ps)
# Encapsulated postcript (.eps)
# HTML document (.htm)
# MS Excel spreadsheet (.xls)
# GIF image (.gif)
# JPEG image (.jpg)
# TIFF image (.tif)
# MS PowerPoint slide (.ppt)
# QuickTime movie (.mov) (preferred)
# Flash movie (.swf)
# Audio file (.wav)
# MPEG/MPG animation (.mpg)

Science: http://www.sciencemag.org/about/authors/prep/prep_ init.dtl [sciencemag.org]
* .pdf (Adobe Portable Document Format)
* .ps (PostScript)
* .eps (Encapsulated PostScript)
* .prn (Printer file for a PostScript printer)
* .doc (Microsoft Word, version 6.0 and higher) -- note that we cannot accept files in Word 2007 (.docx) format, as explained here.
* .wpd (WordPerfect, version 7.0 and higher)

Science also specifically makes a point to mention:

Please do not send TeX or LaTeX files for your initial submission. Convert the files to PostScript or PDF instead.

Although we do not accept TeX and LaTeX source for initial manuscript submission, these formats are acceptable for manuscripts that have been revised after peer review. So as you can see,

Also, FTA, the reason that Word 2007 isn't being accepted is:

Users of Word 2007 should also be aware that equations created with the default equation editor included in Microsoft Word 2007 will be unacceptable in revision, even if the file is converted to a format compatible with earlier versions of Word; this is because conversion will render equations as graphics and prevent electronic printing of equations, and because the default equation editor packaged with Word 2007 -- for reasons that, quite frankly, utterly baffle us -- was not designed to be compatible with MathML.

Re:Why use Doc at all? (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367417)

It makes a lot more sense to use something like TeX[...]

Well, Science does accept LaTex, according to the submission guidelines. And they then run it through a DOS program that converts LaTeX to Word.

It's always a surprise (3, Informative)

l2718 (514756) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367007)

That journals accept anything but TeX/LaTeX. Of course some still accept typewritten documents (with a transcription fee), but if you have access to a computer why use Word (or OO writer) for serious writing?

Re:It's always a surprise (2, Insightful)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367089)

I'm quite sure that some of the brightest minds would not want to spend time to juggle with Tex. They have better research to do.

Re:It's always a surprise (0)

coaxial (28297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367109)

Your ignorance of how TeX is actually used, and of the research community is remarkable.

Re:It's always a surprise (3, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367435)

99.9+% of life science researchers have never even heard of TeX. Even in math-heavy sub-fields, it's rare. Word is overwhelmingly the standard. My limited experience in working with chemists is the same.

Maybe in physics and math TeX is the norm, but nowhere else.

Re: It's always a surprise (2, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367177)

I'm quite sure that some of the brightest minds would not want to spend time to juggle with Tex. They have better research to do.
It's actually quite easy, if you use it regularly.

Re:It's always a surprise (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367243)

I'm quite sure that some of the brightest minds would not want to spend time to juggle with Tex. They have better research to do.
That's what grad students (or even undergrad assistants) are for.

Re:It's always a surprise (2, Insightful)

kazem (205448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367449)

No, that's a really arrogant statement.

You must write in Latex. It's a more powerful for formatting and avoids exactly this problem. And no, they're not too busy to use it because using Word takes up more time in the long run.

So use Lyx (4, Informative)

shis-ka-bob (595298) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367315)

Lyx allows you to write TeX without having to learn all the funny commands. It's just like how you can use KOffice to write ODF documents or MS Office 2007 to write OOXML documents ;-) There are other LaTeX front ends that allow you to generate documents without having to learn all the tags, but I like Lyx and its free.

Re:It's always a surprise (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367321)

apparently you have never written a long paper with lots of mathematics in it.

Re:It's always a surprise (0, Flamebait)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367195)

Those who use Word are usually in the soft sciences, like economics or parapsychology, where practically any word processor is adequate since the arguments are mainly text and small tables of numbers.

Of course if those people had any clue, they'd realize that file formats matter in the long run and if they use popular word processors, they will probably not be able to reopen their own documents 100% accurately in ten years time.

Re:It's always a surprise (1)

Tickletaint (1088359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367259)

Of course if those people had any clue, they'd realize that file formats matter in the long run...
If you had any clue, you'd drop the fucking condescension and realize that maybe people are smarter than you want to give them credit for—yes, even people in "soft sciences, like economics or parapsychology" (good grief)—and are willing to risk having to retype their documents, should they need them again, ten years down the road. You are everything that people hate about IT, and your unjustified sense of superiority is fucking intolerable.

Re:It's always a surprise (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367437)

Eh? How many people do you know who would actually want to retype their documents ten years later? Most people I've met will rather photocopy or scan their old documents.

My point was that many people are finding that their carefully saved floppies with old work aren't as accessible as they once thought. And that's sad, they should have been told, or at least people should be told *now*.

backlash (4, Interesting)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367019)

Is it just me or is the new Office UI AND incompatible format coupled with the requirement of 3D cards to run Vista creating a perfect storm of backlash. If any one of these things were to come alone it would not have been this bad, but judging by the reaction from several companies including my own, this i driving people to look at OSX as a viable option.

Re:backlash (4, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367197)

Is it just me or is the new Office UI AND incompatible format coupled with the requirement of 3D cards to run Vista creating a perfect storm of backlash. If any one of these things were to come alone it would not have been this bad, but judging by the reaction from several companies including my own, this i driving people to look at OSX as a viable option.
Anyone who predicts the end of Microsoft risks looking like an idiot since these predictions have been going on for decades and yet Microsoft is still here and as strong as ever. That being said, allow me to risk looking like an idiot by agreeing with you. :) I don't see Microsoft going away anytime soon but I think that there are some risks for them out there now that simply did not exist in the past.

1. Office is Microsoft's bread and butter. Everybody used Office so anyone wanting to work with other people had to be in the Office game. Even if there were alternatives that might have been better from a technical perspective, Office was already the 800lb gorilla. People were no more going to switch from Office than they would switch from QWERTY keyboards.
2. The international push by governments to move to an open document format is huge. To do business with these governments, now you're forced to use a different word processor. This sort of mandate helps to redefine the playing field. As you said, on it's own this is not a ballbuster for Microsoft.
3. As you mentioned, Office 2007 is a pain in the ass.
4. Vista sucks.
5. This is another killer factor: you can get Linux on the desktop now, and not just for geeks. I used to scratch my head wondering what people on Slashdot were talking about when they said they had Grandma running on Linux. Not anymore. The latest friendly distros like Ubuntu are ready for normal people to use. Everything they need to see is there, open, friendly, no muss, no fuss. If somebody told me I had to explain Ubuntu to my mom, my first response would no longer be "shoot me now."

While I don't think any of this is going to lead to the inevitable collapse of Microsoft in the coming weeks, I think it could be the start of a downward slide, at least in terms of operating system and office app markets. Historically speaking, powerful and unstoppable kingdoms/empires/corporations tend not to be destroyed from outside but from within. Laziness, neglect, a lack of imagination and vision, all of these things will hollow out the entity until a trifling problem could become the crisis that finally brings the end. The problems we're seeing right now could be the start of that. But given Microsoft's size and clout, I think we'll be waiting a long time for the final curtain.

Re:backlash (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19367217)

I think it's just you.

Afterall, w(ho)tf owns a computer in 2007 that doesn't have hardware acceleration? .. and if you TRULY MUST run Vista on the PC you bought circa 1996, just turn Aero off, Vista works just fine in 2d.

As for the new Office UI, it is superior to the old in many ways. I realise that that idea is very hard for you to accept (not least b/c all you *nux/FOSS gearheads don't WANT to accept it), but I've been using Office 2k7 for a coupla months and I love it. I think if more ppl would quit pouting about the simple fact that it's DIFFERENT and actually spend some time getting used to it, they'd find that Ribbons and Task-groups are significantly superior to (and vastly more intuitive than) the many-layered, nested menus ever were.

As for the "incompatible" format, I'm not sure what you mean. Given that there's a FREE and easy-to-apply patch available here [microsoft.com] that enables any version of Office >= 2000 to use the new XML formats, AND since every Office 2k7 application has a highly visible and easy-to-use "Save as Office 97-2003" option, I really don't know what you're trying to say, oh, wait, I forgot about FUD, riiiight, I got it now...

-AC

Re:backlash (1)

sid0 (1062444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367371)

You can even set the old doc format as the goddamn DEFAULT to save files in.

The best thing about Office 07 is that it exposes a lot more functionality than older versions did, in a very logical format. Amazingly useful things like "Track Changes" that even an intermediate user couldn't find earlier, can now be used by a newbie.

As for REMOVING those hidden details, well, there's a great little "Inspect Document" feature that allows you to completely remove them.

Re:backlash (4, Insightful)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367441)

Plenty of businesses still own and run old hardware - it still works so why upgrade. In your world the problem is insignificant simply because you have the money available in such quantities that you don't need to care and can afford to be arrogant to the issues others face. The problem is simplistic, how do the remaining masses address your oddball (incompatible) MS-2007 xml document format. Is there a patch or plug-in for Abiword, applixware, koffice, gnome office, openoffice, frame maker, etc, etc, etc. Explain to me why I should lay out the bucks just to run an MS based machine to deal with your standard factory acceptance of the microsoft way.

Sure, there's a free one for other versions of Microsoft Office, but almost none for any other suite. Your logic is intriguing, all us nutjob nux/FOSS gearheads are so apathetic we don't want to accept it simply because it's different. No concept that some of us might be using other operating systems or have a different bottom line that dictates how and why we do things.

The rest of the world isn't as cut and dry as your tiny one.

Re:backlash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19367349)

If any one of these things were to come alone it would not have been this bad, but judging by the reaction from several companies including my own, this i driving people to look at OSX as a viable option.
Pure comedy gold!!!

Re:backlash (1)

ticklish2day (575989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367431)

It is just you. We've upgraded to Office 2007 on XP already (it works perfectly) with minimal training costs and issues.

How strange (4, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367021)

Microsoft has been pushing "upgrades" that break files from earlier releases for a couple decades now, and I've never heard of a publisher (or any other organization) standing up to them before like this. Generally, they just go along meekly, since "that's what computers are like, y'know".

What do you think might have given some of the publishers a backbone?

I'm assuming that they haven't actually converted to non-MS (or non-IBM) systems. That would be just too bizarre to believe. Do you think that they've actually noticed that non-MS systems can usually read files from 20 years ago without problems? Is this some sign of a pending movement in which more organizations will actually start standing up to the Market Leader?

Nah; it can't be. Something very strange must be going on behind the scene.

Re:How strange (2, Informative)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367181)

Word has only changed file formats once in recent memory, between Word 95 and 97 (or 6.0 and 98 in the Mac versions).

I remember exactly the same issues that time. Word 97 .doc format was not widely accepted until at least 1999. Once Vista and Office 2007 are widely adopted, which will occur within a three-year replacement cycle, and Office 2008 for Mac is well established, the new formats will become standard and there will no longer be a peep of protest, whether or not MS has fixed the issues with the formats.

Re:How strange (1)

hey hey hey (659173) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367257)

Microsoft has been pushing "upgrades" that break files from earlier releases for a couple decades now, and I've never heard of a publisher (or any other organization) standing up to them before like this. Generally, they just go along meekly, since "that's what computers are like, y'know".


What do you think might have given some of the publishers a backbone?

Without knowing anything about how Science or Nature actually publishes things, I suspect that in the last couple of years they have gone for more and more automation. Where in years gone past, somebody had to actually convert manuscripts from a submitted form on paper into something that could be typeset/printed, now this can be done with the raw manuscript. Now that they have these nice systems in place (Science can accept Word, WordPerfect or LaTex), they probably really REALLY don't want to go back to any kind of manual processes (not only costs more, but it is an obvious source of errors). So, the usual reason, money.

We've had our own problems (2, Interesting)

gerf (532474) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367261)

[p]Macros that have worked even back in Office97 are now broken. A contractor at work tried to go buy Office at any Brick n' Mortar place, and since 2007 is the only one available, he's pretty much screwed... [p]I wish OOo had really good macro compatibility. If it does, let me know (email shown)

Re:How strange (2, Interesting)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367279)

Take that a step further and really wonder why MS got as big as it did. IBM came out with the AS400 in 1988 and promised that programs written for it would never be obsolete. A textile company in NC is using a program written for an IBM S36 on the latest version of the AS400. The program is 25 years old! Big companies use custom software and can't afford the hassles of the shrinkwrap world. Think about a 20 year old program that has been maintained and modified for that timeperiod it might be a million dollar program today. Payroll, accounting, employee records, these are things that require constant modification due to laws and rules changing every year. It's simple, maintain your apps and IBM upgrades the OS without ever having to redo anything.

Re:How strange (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367297)

There is no reason to expect a company to support old formats forever. There are many rational reasons to prefer Word over OpenOffice, which is why many people do. Someday, that may change, but that day has not arrived.

Re:How strange (2, Informative)

JuliaNZ (17473) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367433)

What do you think might have given some of the publishers a backbone?

If you read the article you'll see it's because Office 2007 fucks up equations and some Greek characters, and documents can't be further revised or published in the journals after they've passed through this version of Office. It's not an ideological battle, it's that the software doesn't allow them to publish those papers properly.

As a Mac guy... (4, Interesting)

imamac (1083405) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367025)

...I would love to say "Ha Ha! Proof that Microsoft's end is near." But this is typical for version changes. If you didn't yet spent the thousands of $$ to upgrade, then you won't be able to read the newer formats. It's that simple. The only real story here is they are pushing ODF, which is nice to see.

Re:As a Mac guy... (0, Troll)

TheSoggyCow (1052136) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367281)

Has anyone even used Office 2007? It's really awesome... I wouldn't go back to Office 2003 after using 2007. Everything has been simplified and I find myself much more productive. It seems like everyone automatically assumes Office 2007 sucks, when in reality its a really solid piece of software. Science and Nature need to get a grip. I installed compatibility packs on my systems that don't have 2007 and they can open the new formats just fine. There is no need to upgrade, just download and install a free patch...

Oh and to you Mac lover above, I didn't spend thousands to upgrade, I received Office 2007 free from Microsoft as part of their "Power Together" campaign. I want to see Apple send you the newest version of iWhatever for free... They charge you for driver updates so you can take advantage of the pre-n cards in your MacBooks... I don't get Mac lovers, if you hate M$ so why not just jump ship altogether and go Linux? Why choose another flawed company with a pretty name?

RTFA, please (5, Informative)

shis-ka-bob (595298) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367393)

The point is that they did try and it turns out that Word 2007 screws up the math, even if you save the results in Office 2003 formats. As it turns out, mathematics is the language of Science and Nature. So, while many of us can go thought life without ever writing a contour integral, most of us will never be published in Science or Nature either (the closest I got was Physical Review Letters). Unless you want to assure us that you can handle complex math expressions with you free patches, I would suggest that you have a bit more respect for the staff of Science and Nature. They are reacting to a observed problem. I'll bet you that they tried the free patches before they decided to warn scientists all over the world about submitting articles using Word 2007.

Re:As a Mac guy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19367403)

I don't get Mac lovers, if you hate M$ so why not just jump ship altogether and go Linux? Why choose another flawed company with a pretty name?
Listen, twatwaffle, and learn. Real Mac users aren't Mac users because we hate "M$." We're Mac users because we appreciate Apple's holistic philosophy of design, a truly all-encompassing sense of good taste that neither Microsoft nor Linux has ever managed to emulate.

you mean they even take office? (1)

cbc1920 (730236) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367029)

I thought that they barely took office format at all anymore. I was under the impression that they preferred LaTeX. Everyone that I know in my department (Aerospace Engineering) would not think of using anything but LaTeX for journal submissions- to do otherwise is cruel to the typesetters and asking for your article to look horrible.

In general, a WYSIWYG format, whether ODF or DOC format, will not be what you get in the journal, since any good journal will do some heavy formatting changes in order to make your article fit and play nice with the rest of them.

Re:you mean they even take office? (3, Informative)

Alan Shutko (5101) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367095)

There are a few reasons that Science and Nature prefer Word to TeX. First, they are not nearly as equation-heavy as a pure physics or mathematics journal would be. Second, they've got a publishing workflow that takes Word as an input and ties into the rest of their technology. They don't care how well Word typesets documents, they want common input formats that they can rip information out of and edit themselves.

TeX and LaTeX are great if you've got substantial finicky needs (esp around equations) that you really need the author to get right, and to be able to carry that through. However, to support that comes at a price. As the TUGBoat editors experience on an ongoing basis, publishing a journal composed of arbitrary TeX content from different authors is difficult. Different authors may use conflicting macro packages, or it may be harder to coerce each into the house style.

Re:you mean they even take office? (1)

Falstius (963333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367127)

IEEE requests documents as PDF. They provide a .doc template to help you get the formatting correct, as well as guidelines for tex.

The main incompatibility between ODF and Word for technical writting is equations. Word completely fails on equations in documents exported from OpenOffice.

How about 'neither'? (0)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367039)

Just use RTF instead of *any* MS format.

Re:How about 'neither'? (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367061)

RTF is MS format.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rtf [wikipedia.org]

Re:How about 'neither'? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367079)

Yes, they support RTF, but i didnt think they *created* it.

Re:How about 'neither'? (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367173)

Since you didn't follow the link I put in my little post; let me spell it out for you.

wikipedia.org:
"The Rich Text Format (often abbreviated to RTF) is a proprietary document file format developed by Microsoft in 1987 for cross-platform document interchange."

Re:How about 'neither'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19367189)

from the wikipedia article: "The Rich Text Format (often abbreviated to RTF) is a proprietary document file format developed by Microsoft in 1987 for cross-platform"

It's not important that ... (4, Insightful)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367041)

It's not important that people will use open-source software for writing documents.

It's more important that MS supports ODF.

Office 2007 is Irritating right now... (3, Interesting)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367055)

My department has started getting Office 2007 files and we find it irritating. We are not ready to go there yet. We have many macros that interface to our database that must be rewritten. It will probably be a year or so before our small I.S. department has time to convert to Office 2007.

The amount of money that will be spent to rewrite code that works with Word 2007 will not be insignificant and the real down side is that we get virtually nothing for our effort!

virtually nothing for our effort (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367105)

Thats the real key.

And just wait until you start getting 'protected documents' or emails.

Re:Office 2007 is Irritating right now... (2, Interesting)

shis-ka-bob (595298) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367201)

This is interesting. We are looking at upgrading Office, and both Office 2007 and OpenOffice.org 2.2 are being considered. I had thought that Office 2007 would be able to use existing macros, but if this is not the case it could help tip the scales in favor of OO.o. After some study, it turns out that OO.o has templates that are more capable that Word (See thesis instructions from MIT [mit.edu] or David Wheeler's blog [dwheeler.com] . (Even if you don't want to write a thesis, they do represent a highly structured documents with stringent standards. This is something of an acid test for document formating.) The OO.o master documents are also a selling point, since dividing large written works into chapters is a time-honored approach to collaboration. If MSO 2007 doesn't import existing macros better than OO.o, its going to be harder for management to justify the considerable upgrade costs.

Doc Formats? (1)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367067)

Okay, I know the popular stance on this site will be "Why aren't they using x open source open standard format! Why aren't they using some latex!?!!?"

Firstly, I am a CS major and have a number of linux machines ..and TBH I am not even sure how latex works...how can you expect writers to know about this format which is primarily (as far as I can tell) used in *nix?

If it were me, I'd just demand PDF and be done with. So much wasted energy in this.

Re:Doc Formats? (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367119)

Did you ever receive PDF's with diagrams and images and had to merge them together and edit them?

PDF would worse.

Re:Doc Formats? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367267)

All the journals I've ever submitted to require you to split your figures out into separate PDF or TIFF files. They grab the text out of the main PDF and then can put the figures anywhere they fit.

Re:Doc Formats? (2, Informative)

bh_doc (930270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367137)

Knowledge of TeX/LaTeX is pretty much a prerequisite in the Maths and Physical Sciences. I'm not so surprised that a CS major missed out. No disrespect, one of my majors was CS, too. It depends on what you typically write, but once you learn LaTeX you might find it hugley more sensible than any WYSIWYG system. I did.

Re:Doc Formats? (3, Informative)

coaxial (28297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367139)

LaTeX generates both Postscript and PDF. I don't know anyone who would submit or accept raw LaTeX source. All the journals I've looked at took either .doc or PDF, with the expressed requirement that it be "a single, self-contained file." You don't get that with LaTeX. Unless you're a masochist, all your references are in BibTeX, and all your graphs are in either PDF or EPS format, not that weird line-draw TeX command thing.

Re:Doc Formats? (1)

e**(i pi)-1 (462311) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367235)

>I don't know anyone who would submit or accept raw LaTeX source.
Most mathematics papers are now written in latex and the submission often by latex source.

Re:Doc Formats? -- Counter-example (4, Informative)

beanyk (230597) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367331)

I submit to some physics journals (Physical Review D, for example). They -prefer- LaTeX source with .eps figures. Though I use BibTeX with an external .bib database for references, I explicitly cut-and-paste the contents of the resulting .bbl file into the main paper draft.

I -think- they'll allow PDF or postscript submission of the whole thing, but it's slower to process, and they might add charges.

Re:Doc Formats? (1)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367191)

Firstly, I am a CS major and have a number of linux machines ..and TBH I am not even sure how latex works...how can you expect writers to know about this format which is primarily (as far as I can tell) used in *nix?

TeX is pretty much standard in physics and math. I'm a physics student and TeX was the second thing we were taught in the computer introduction course -- after learning how to log in and do basic file management in Linux. It's just a matter of learning it.

It's actually a bit strange that TeX isn't more widely used in CS. CS people, if any, should be able to understand the benefits.

TeX works just fine in Windows, by the way.

Re:Doc Formats? (1)

Beetle B. (516615) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367211)

Why has this discussion suddenly become one of MS Office vs TeX?

What happened to Open Office?

FWIW, the journals I publish to accept Word, PDF or TeX. Satisfies all crowds. If you don't want to do TeX, and don't want to pay for Word, use Open Office and export as PDF. No one is saying that they should require TeX and nothing else.

Re:Doc Formats? (1)

ameoba (173803) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367263)

In a normal CS curriculum, you probably won't need to use TeX at all as an undergrad. On the outside, you might have one math/theory course where the prof thinks it's worth knowing. If you continue on to graduate studies, OTOH, the use of TeX increases significantly.

Is the public FINALLY pushing back? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367103)

For years and years, I fell into the fold where if Microsoft came out with something new, I upgraded. Latest and greatest was always the best. Then when XP came out, I somehow didn't find myself rushing to upgrade. The computer I was using at the time would barely run the OS and the newer Office software didn't mean anything to me except for occasions when someone would send me a document I couldn't read. (Though at some time close to that I was also trying out OpenOffice...guess what I was using to open those documents! Also around that time, I was starting to use Linu for more than a router and network server) I guess around that time I started questioning the wisdom of blindly upgrading.

Now at my office, shortly after Vista came out, people started asking me when we would upgrade. My answer was simply that I could see no business case at this time for doing so. Some people were actually happy to hear me say it... others were just like "okay..." My stance on Office is the same except I may have some issues if one of the primary office apps (that is build on office) is updated to require the newer office suite. I'll be unhappy but I won't have any choice... :(

But to hear these cases where people are pushing back against the upgrades? I'm very very happy to hear it.

Stay off the MS Treadmill (1)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367135)

I use to have a machine that BSOD on upgrade to service pack 2. Office 2007 won't install on pre SP2. From another machine I used Word 2007 to send out resumes to several prospective employers only to have them request 1997-2003 format because they couldn't read my Word documents. I do government work now and where I work they have standardized on Windows 2000 with the Office 2003. I doubt Office 2007 would work on their machines and for reasons of security and stability and having gotten so many machines all working together smoothly they won't be upgrading to XP anytime soon. Maybe Windows 2000 is inferior to XP in most aspects, but big organizations HATE reworking everything to get it to work again when they have work to get done TODAY.

You can save 1997-2003 format from 2007, but it doesn't do it by default.
When I upgraded my Wife's machine to IE7 it broke all her access to bank accounts, which ironically would inform her she needed to "upgrade" to IE6.

This is just the kind of crap that will cause OS to win eventually (even if it is still years off). BTW, we use a mix of Windows and Linux and we UPGRADE the Linux all the time -- no big deal.

Re:Stay off the MS Treadmill (1)

BlurredOne (813043) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367277)

IE7 'broke' online banking because SSL 2.9 and TLS 1.0 are disabled by default. Go into Internet Options --> Advanced, scroll to the bottom, and put a check in the 2 boxes. Problem solved.

Re:Stay off the MS Treadmill (1)

rwhealey (957969) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367287)

You can save 1997-2003 format from 2007, but it doesn't do it by default.
My school set Word 2007 to save in 1997-2003 by default. It's probably in some obsecure setting, though.

Obscure? (1)

sid0 (1062444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367395)

Word Options -> Save -> topmost option "Save files in this format".

Stop pulling such nuggets out of your ass.

Old fraud hanged. Open Office is winner. (0, Flamebait)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367175)

The parable has the wrong ending:

"Nonsense", said the old man. If you offer a reward for something, of course you want more of it, not less. This is just the free market in action."

Next comes community outrage and jailtime for fraud. Let's hope we see some of that for all the intentional waste M$ has created in two decades of coercive monoply.

The author does get one thing right but fails to follow up on it correctly:

None of the cost-driver factors lead to reduced costs with multiple formats. They all have minimal costs when there is a a single format in use.

This is true but by this argument the lowest cost solution should be chosen and M$ has screwed themselves by creating a new non free format. Before they pushed OOXML, it could be argued that everyone had access to a M$ Word Processor. The use of a non free format created plenty of problems, but changing formats created others and people could pretend nothing was wrong. Now OOXML is used by none, so that choice maximizes the transaction costs for everyone. This should drive everone to Open Office, which costs nothing to install, works well with the old format and comes with a superior free format that all government agencies should be moving toward.

Shocking. (0, Troll)

DarkLegacy (1027316) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367343)

Personally, I'm suprised that anyone accepts the Office 2007 format.

Garbage. (1)

sulfur_lad (964486) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367347)

I'm not even reading this. This is pointless. 90% of the journals I've ever submitted to have been PDF or bust. What a bollocks statement. Of course they're rejecting the Office 2007 format, they rejected every single other format before that too! "PDF, please." Now, rejecting PDFs that were created in Office 2007, that would be funny.

Go ahead, flame me, but this is ridiculous and not even news. Guess what? ODF will be rejected too and they'll say "GAH! PDF!!" On the other side of the composition fence, while powerful for its features, TeX-based stuff has lost out to the much more powerful WYSIWYG editors now available out there (includes both free and pay-office varieties). It is still great though, for whoever is still a TeX junky (and I get the picture that once you are one you always are).

My Secretary (1)

crimguy (563504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367373)

She got a new computer with Vista/Office 2007. Started doing my docs (I'm a lawyer) without paying attention to the save dialog. I then get a bunch of work with the docx extension. Put the kabash on that pretty fast. But . . . that is how MS will achieve ubiquity with their new format.

Re:My Secretary (1)

sid0 (1062444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367427)

Compatibility Pack [microsoft.com]

Baby steps. (1)

Farfnagel (898722) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367375)

While I applaud the refusal to accept Word 2007 format docs, why not go all the way and refuse to accept ANY proprietary Microsoft formats?

MS Office Compatibility Pack (2, Informative)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367389)

For those with older Office (2000 to 2003), why not use the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack [microsoft.com] for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats? I have not run into any 2007 files yet since I still use 2000, but at least I am ready if any appear.

equivalent of wvWare for .docx? (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367405)

There's a convenient OSS library called wvWare that can convert .doc to various other formats, including xml, html, and plain text. You can run it from the command line, or from scripts. Is there any similar OSS software that runs on Linux, and can, e.g., convert .docx to html or plain text? Please don't tell me I just have to write some XSLT transformations in Java or something :-), and no, I'm not suggesting that something like wvWare would be sufficient for most scientific journals.

Automatic Conversion (4, Interesting)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367407)

The first time I opened a 2007 Word document on my machine (with only Office 2003), Word was smart enough to go "Hey, can I download the compatibility patch for you?"

I said yes, and in one click I was able to open the document up. I imagine the same holds true for the other Office apps, though I haven't tried it.

Office is not the biggest issue. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367419)

I find this report a bit disingenuous because the implication is that this is unique Microsoft and Office. Not that I'm defending this at all, because it's extremely frustrating but I would say compatibility would be a much larger issue with Adobe and Quark software.

Given the industry they're in I tend to think compatibility with page layout applications is more important than compatibility with Office. I can only imagine the problems they'll encounter in upgrading to Adobe Creative Suite 3, assuming they do so at all. If other publications I've dealt with are any indication I wouldn't be surprised if they're still using Quark 3 and InDesign 1.
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