Science and Nature both reject MS Office 2007 file format

Summary:While I am a big fan of Office 2007 and it has been received very well by our students, it is not being received so well by others because of inherent incompatibilities.

While I am a big fan of Office 2007 and it has been received very well by our students, it is not being received so well by others because of inherent incompatibilities.  Given the new XML-based file formats used in the latest incarnation of Microsoft's Office suite, even our students have had to learn to save their documents in legacy formats if they wish to share their documents with teachers who have not upgraded or edit them at home, since most students don't have the software on their home PCs.  Obviously, the stakes are much higher when submitting for peer review and publication in two of the largest scientific journals in the world.

Both Science and Nature have recently updated their publication guidelines and note that native Office 2007 file format documents will not be accepted for initial review or revision.  While users can obviously save documents in the legacy versions, the  Science instructions for authors go on to state:

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. Regrettably, we will be forced to return any revised manuscript created with the Word 2007 default equation editor to authors for re-editing. To get around this, please use the MathType equation editor or the equation editor included in previous versions of Microsoft Word.

Nature also notes some specific incompatibilities, even when files are saved in older versions:

We currently cannot accept files saved in Microsoft Office 2007 formats. Equations and special characters (for example, Greek letters) cannot be edited and are incompatible with Nature's own editing and typesetting programs.

A very interesting exchange on the MSDN blogs chronicles one user's attempts to seek a solution for this.  The end result?  Maybe if you  jump through some hoops of fire and beg scientific journals to change their workflow and accept Microsoft's new standard, you'll get published.  Really, you should click the link - If you've ever been  involved in a publication, you'll get a kick out of it.  Something to keep in mind, certainly at the university level, but also in K-12 as people running on a variety of platforms try to share documents.

Topics: Microsoft, Software

About

Christopher Dawson grew up in Seattle, back in the days of pre-antitrust Microsoft, coffeeshops owned by something other than Starbucks, and really loud, inarticulate music. He escaped to the right coast in the early 90's and received a degree in Information Systems from Johns Hopkins University. While there, he began a career in health a... Full Bio

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