According to the description on the Citation Style Language (CSL) website, CSL is an open XML-based language to describe the formatting of citations and bibliographies. We use reference managers such as Zotero, Mendeley, or Papers to format our references in manuscripts we submit for publication, and underneath a CSL processor such as Citeproc-js - together with a CSL file for a particular citation style - is doing the work:
When the journal article is accepted the publisher takes the text with the formatted text citation and turns it into XML, a process that is error-prone and takes time:
It is not hard to see that something is very wrong here:
It is also obvious how the ideal workflow should look like:
We go from structured content to structured content, and never use citations formatted as text as intermediary steps in the workflow.
What is surprising is that this is an ideal workflow and not something that publishers actually do. Most journal author instructions don’t even mention CSL styles (I work for PLOS and they are no exception). There are some issues to be solved, but they are all minor:
I would really like to push Citeproc JSON as a standard bibliographic exchange format for authors. There are several things I like about Citeproc JSON:
I have five suggestions to move forward:
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