In general I celebrate every effort to move beyond the pdf-format. And Elsevier’s “article of the future” looks like a neat solution. It is however not unproblematic. First, and most important, the number one feature I would like to see in the evolution of the research article is increased transportability and display-ability. I would like to–without effort, there are hacks–be able to view an article wherever I want and on whatever device I want. This new article format doesn’t exactly seem to improve on that. For instance, what if I would like to view the article on a tablet computer? I must assume that most of the reading in the future will be on iPads, Windows (8) tablets, and whatever comes thereafter. Elsevier’s new article format would require me, it seems, to hold the tablet in landscape mode, and, in lack of a native client, have access to the Internet. I would much more prefer if they went in the other direction and made it (as close as possible to) plain text.1 Plain text combined with Markdown or a similar markup language would also address my wish to be able to display the article as I wish.
- 1. And then we of course get into the whole open access issue. ↩