You may have heard rumors that a new edition of the CSE style manual, Scientific Style and Format, will be published soon. As the CSE member spearheading this project, I will bring you up to date in the form of a question-and-answer session.
Q: Who is chairing the committee to create the next edition of the style manual?
A: Lindsey Buscher, ELS, was appointed by the CSE Board in 2011 to be the project manager for the eighth edition of Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (SSF8). She is a managing editor at Allen Press in Lawrence, Kansas.
Q: Who is on the committee to update the style manual?
A: There have been as many as 20 committee members (all CSE members) at one time, but several have resigned and others have joined as volunteer availability has fluctuated. There is also a team of four Advisory Group members, 16 peer reviewers, and 10 proofreaders.
Q: How do things work? What is the process?
A: The committee spent several months in brainstorming updates that should be made to the seventh edition of the manual. The first 2 years of the project have consisted of coming up with ideas, discussing them in monthly conference calls, deciding on changes to be made across the board and in specific chapters, deciding on what should not be changed, outlining and writing new drafts, and receiving feedback from Advisory Group members and peer reviewers. In 2013, the typesetting and print production began and the online platform is being developed.
Q: What is the projected publication date?
A: Publication is expected in spring 2014.
Q: Will the new manual be available in print and online?
A: For the first time ever, yes!
Q: Will the online manual be updated regularly? Will the online manual contain elements not contained in the print edition?
A: Yes. There may also be some elements that are available only online, such as supplemental tables and sample documents.
Q: What is being dropped from the current edition?
A: Major deletions and changes include language updates throughout to be more in line with today’s constantly changing technologies and terminologies (for example, instead of saying “this can be found on the World Wide Web”, we say “available online”), typesetting-specific and publishing-specific details are being moved out of the various chapters and placed in a new chapter or a supplement (to be decided), and general focus is shifting from paper-based to electronic workflows (mostly in chapters related to manuscript preparation, proof correction, and so on).
Q: What is being added?
A: There will be new recommendations for formatting references to such items as podcasts, blogs, online videos, and archive databases. Language in the chapter on astronomical objects has been updated to accommodate recent changes in terminology, such as the inclusion of dwarf planets (Pluto was declassified as a planet and is now considered a dwarf planet). All references are being updated. Discussion of PDF annotation is being added to the chapter on proof corrections.
Q: What are the most radical changes in policy that the new edition will recommend?
A: After agonizing research, polling, and discussion, two somewhat-controversial changes in recommendations are email (lowercase, no hyphen), and website (lowercase, one word).