Cameron's Blog - Scientific Papers

Scientific Papers

An excellent article from the Atlantic explores the way that computational essays haven’t seemed to penetrate academia. There’s some information about the contest between open source and for-profit tools, like this:

But it’s hard to sell the scientific community on a piece of commercial software. Even though Wolfram Research has given away a free Mathematica notebook viewer for years, and even though most major universities already have a site license that lets their students and faculty use Mathematica freely, it might be too much to ask publishers to abandon PDFs, an open format, for a proprietary product.

Fair point. Why use Mathematica when you have Jupyter, which gives you access to R (in which this post is written), Julia, Python, and nearly any other worthwhile language?

The broader point is about the failings in take up in the scientific community. Honestly, it’s one of those blatantly obvious points I don’t ever think about. There’s very little reason to publish the same droll LaTeX paper when you can spit out a highly interactive web document even just a PDF that exposes some of your code – it’s just about providing information and making sure people understand it.