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ASA at 175 - Journals update

By Ronald Wasserstein - March 19, 2014

Last month, I blogged about the ASA’s journals.  Here are two important updates since that time.

MathJax: The ASA has, since the advent of online publishing, sought to improve how articles appear in full-text HTML, and particularly how math is rendered. Now, thanks to an initiative by our publishing partner Taylor and Francis (working with online host Atypon), this may finally be a reality. In the near future, articles in ASA journals will be published online using MathJax.

MathJax is a language that allows complex mathematics to be rendered online as clearly and cleanly as they appear in print or in a PDF. Currently, our full-text HTML articles render math as bitmap pictures. This is far from ideal. In addition, unlike earlier versions of MathML, MathJax works on all browsers and does not require special plug-ins or add-ons.  This will make the mathematics look sharper in HTML, and also allows this mathematics to be searchable.  Users will be able to copy equations from web pages into Word and LaTeX documents, science blogs, research wikis, calculation software like Maple, Mathematica and more.

Supplementary Material: ASA journals have greatly expanded use of online supplements, and we encourage authors to post extended appendices, code, data, and additional material to support individual articles. Due to another Taylor and Francis initiative, all supplementary material is now freely available to all. This applies retroactively, so supplements posted previous to our partnership with T&F are also free. There are safeguards to prevent someone from, say, posting copyrighted material.

Open access:

This is more of a news item than an update.  As I mentioned in a January 14 blog, The newest ASA journal, Statistics and Public Policyis up and running.  The journal is the ASA’s first policy-related journal.  It is also an experiment, our first foray into a true open access journal.  The experiment will allow us to work through possible models for producing and financially supporting such journals.  This is important, as new journals that emerge in the future will most likely be created in an open access mode.

What’s in it for you?

These new features mean better access to journals that are clearer to read and whose content is easier to locate.  The supplementary material will advance further research and improve reproducibility.  All in all, it means advancing statistical science.

What don’t you see in ASA journals that you would like to see?  Drop me a note (

Special thanks go to Eric Sampson, ASA Journals and Publications Manager, for his substantial contributions to this blog.

In 2014, the American Statistical Association is celebrating its 175th anniversary.  Over the course of this year, this blog will highlight aspects of that celebration, and look broadly at the ASA and its activities.  Please contact ASA Executive Director Ron Wasserstein ( if you would like to post an entry to this blog.

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