Microsoft and STM Publishers Meet to Discuss DOCX / Word 2007

Since my post to Nascent in June on the best way for publishers to deal with Word 2007 within their publishing ecosystems,

I have been involved in the conversation about the best way for publishers to adopt Word 2007 into their publishing ecosystems on two fronts:

  • Tracking the conversation.

    See my tagged Connotea links

  • Participating by hosting a meeting on 25 July 2007 at the NPG office in New York between staff from Microsoft (Jennifer Michelstein, Lee Dirks, Murray Sargent), AIP (Tim Ingoldsby), AGU (Carter Glass), AAAS/Science (Brooks Hanson), Inera (Bruce Rosenblum), Aries (Ben Peterson and Lyndon Holmes), and Nature (Howard Ratner and Chris Flammang).

The meeting agenda was quite simple. Discuss a typical journal publisher’s workflow from authoring through to publication and archiving. This was not specific to any of the publishers present, but rather a high level overview of the various stages involved and a quick overview of the types of software systems that have been built to aid in these workflows along with a quick overview of the standards that are important to this community. The four publishers in the room did an excellent job of relaying this to the Microsoft staff. This was then followed up by presentations from Inera and Aries detailing the problems Word 2007 was causing for editing automation tools (eXtyles) and manuscript tracking systems (Editorial Manager).

The open and fruitful conversation quickly turned toward how Microsoft, third-party vendors and publishers can work together moving forward to make Word 2007 work within the STM publishing ecosystem. Here were some of the outcomes:

  • Microsoft will establish a page on one of its websites with more advanced details on how to best use Word 2007 in a publishing environment. (For example, an image of an equation created when saving a Word 2007 file to Word 2003 actually carries important semantic information that can be reused when reopening in Word 2007 file. Microsoft refers to this as dehydrating and rehydrating.)
  • Microsoft will consider adding text to its help file with Word 2007 especially about its Math Markup Language Support.
  • Microsoft will make real efforts to educate publishers by presenting more often at publisher events.
  • Microsoft will consider supporting STIX fonts when they are available. I just heard from Tim Ingoldsby of AIP, “Microsoft seems to be trying to cooperate with the STIX Fonts project. They have supplied us with a Font Edit program that will let us get the STIX Fonts ready for Word 2007 (so they can be used in place of Cambria Math).”

If you can’t wait for Microsoft’s information site to go live have a look at Bruce Rosenblum’s excellent summary of the current state of play.

It is also worth reviewing the press release from Design Science, producers of MathType, about Word 2007, equations, and scientific journal submissions. Also be sure to read their toolbar tip which gives instructions on how to add a button within the Word 2007 quick-access toolbar for the legacy equation editor.

More information is sure to be published on this topic in the next few months as vendors ramp up to better accept the new DOCX format. Be sure to check out my Connotea bookmarks on this topic.


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