Comments on the paper Ceci n’est pas un hamburger

Very VERY occasionally I read a paper that is so well written, and which addressed the points so accurately and so eloquently, that I rejoice.  The paper by Pettifer et al. entitled Ceci n’est pas un hamburger: modelling and representing the scholarly article that appeared in Learned Publishing last October [1], is one of this special handful. 

It is beautifully written, and the scope of its coverage is highly pertinent to the recent discussions on the future of research communication detailed in the previous post.  It also has the benefit of being published as an Open Access paper in what is otherwise a subscription access journal. 

I particularly liked the authors’ evaluation of FRBR‘s classification into works, expressions and manifestations to describe the relative benefits and drawbacks of PDF, XML, and RDF as representations of a journal article, since that is exactly what Silvio Peroni and I modelled in FaBiO, the FRBR-aligned Bibliographic Ontology.

The paper is also an excellent introduction to Utopia Documents, the ‘smart’ PDF reader that the authors have developed, which is used to create the Semantic Biochemical Journal, and which is to be highly recommended for personal use to enrich the experience of reading articles in PDF format on-line.  The Utopia Documents software is freely available, and can be downloaded from http://www.utopiadocs.com.

[1] Pettifer S, McDermott P, Marsh J, Thorne D, Villeger A and Attwood TK (2011).  Ceci n’est pas un hamburger: modelling and representing the scholarly article.  Learned Publishing, 24 (3): 207-220.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1087/20110309.

 

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