DSC Moving To WordPress
I am coming up on a year as Community Editor for Data Science Central (DSC) during what has admittedly been one of the most tumultuous times in decades. While there is likely a stereotype of editors out there among most people, perhaps as some kind of a hard-drinking, cigar-chomping old man screaming at his writers to “go out and get that story!”, the reality is more prosaic. Today, an editor is more likely in charge of a website than he or she is a print publication, is probably female, and for the most part acts to establish a particular tone or theme within the stories that his or her writers submit than to do a lot of writing.
They also act as filters, making sure that the content being submitted meets a certain thematic and quality threshold. Finally, they are the point of contact for writers, companies, other publishers, and the like, frequently representing the publication in social media. I, my assistant editor Scott Thompson, and my executive editor Ben Cole establish editorial policy for the site, recruit writers, and coordinate with other sites to make sure we are producing good quality content every week.
One of the tasks that have occupied a significant portion of my time, in particular, has been the migration from our existing publishing platform to a new one, built on WordPress. This became a priority early in my tenure, as we feel that the WordPress environment offers us considerable benefits moving forward.
For authors, there will be a number of new features that we here at DSC are excited about. First, the new WordPress site will support color-enhanced code listings, depending upon the language involved. Data Science Central is a specialist site, and while we have deliberately expanded coverage into the business arena, having the ability to show (and copy/paste) code, is critical for technical readers in particular.
Similarly, the site now incorporates the ability to use LateX to write mathematical notation. So much of what is going on in the artificial intelligence and data analytics arenas centers around core mathematics, rather than code, and the ability for authors to create mathematically sophisticated articles is one that I see as being critical moving forward. As this had previously required taking screenshots of LateX formatted content elsewhere and pasting these in as images, being able to write directly in LateX will be a huge boost.
Section header and table layouts are also vastly improved, as is the ability to add file attachments and to display Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) images both inline and linked via <IMG> tags. This should in turn support a better display of charts, network graphs, and similar components, again making for both a better reader experience and author experience. The layout of the site will also become more modern, with infinite scrolling, thematic sections, and better user pages, making the site more magazine-like in its focus.
A key change that is happening as well is that Data Science Central is moving from an open community publishing model to a semi-closed one. What this means is that authors will need to be preapproved to submit content, though all active authors on DSC will be grandfathered in. On the flip-side, all current members of DSC will also be given free access to all TechTarget properties available to its members. If you are interested in writing for DSC, either sign-up within the next month or contact me at [email protected].
The new WordPress site will be up sometime within the next few months. We’re excited for the opportunity to present Data Science Central in its best possible light and hope that you’ll like what you see.
In media res,
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