Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Snarkiest Style Sheet I've Ever Read

The honor for snarkiest style sheet would have to go to Philosophy and Literature. Their style sheet contains the following advice to authors:

"Many authors with whom the editors deal appear not to understand that Philosophy and Literature does not have house copy-editors whose sole job is to carry out mechanical or stylistic copy-editing of manuscripts. Where a manuscript is sloppily prepared, it is either the editors themselves or the author who must make it right. We urge authors to cooperate in careful manuscript preparation. It is frankly unfair to expect the editors to do the work of authors, and it will very likely result in delaying the appearance of a manuscript."

What astounds me is that a good, peer-reviewed journal like P&L still has to specifically tell potential contributors this. It reminds me of what I have to tell my students.

It gets better, though! After telling authors how much they hate automated footnoting in submissions, the editors say this: "Regretfully, we cannot publish articles that require us to extract notes from the text, disentangle them from some automated numbering system, and place them in the right order at the end of the article. The author — or the author’s secretary, spouse, manservant, or graduate-student slave — must get those notes into the form of normal text at the end of the article."

These editors also prove that they're after my own heart with their attitudes to jargon:

"And finally, jargon. The natural home for jargon is the natural sciences, where the need for technical language is undisputed. The farther we move into soft sciences and the humanities, the more does a reliance on jargon become a matter of trying to attain prestige by using big words."

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