Welcome to the 21st century

Here’s an exchange I had with the editorial assistant of a journal (and via them with a publisher) in the last two days. No names, no embarrassment.


Referencing in our manuscript was accomplished using Zotero, with the stylesheet ‘Unified stylesheet for linguistics journals’. If you could let me know if there is a Zotero stylesheet which matches your house style, or alternatively, the closest match that you know of, this would make editing much simpler for me.

Editorial assistant:

I have spoken to a number of people at [publisher] and none of them are familiar with Zotero or know of any (close to) matching style sheets, so I am afraid that I cannot ease the job for you.

What is truly astonishing (at least to me) is that none of the publisher’s staff know anything about Zotero. And the question is how long authors will accept having to post-edit the output of Zotero (or Endnote or Mendeley or …) to meet the ultra-specific requirements of publishers who cannot be bothered to provide the needed tools (or to switch to a more standard format).

Is this a humanities problem, or do scientists have as much trouble?

Update (7/12/2015): I have now taken the plunge and modified a stylesheet – not to solve this problem, but for another citation issue. Details in the next post.