Fairly high on my list of "I want those hours of my life back" is time spent wrangling my LaTeX to compile correctly with the style files provided by journal publishers, and subsequently dealing with copyeditors who introduce errors while making my papers conform to "house style".
Back when the primary medium of a journal was a print publication, I suppose maybe it made some sense for all the papers in one journal to look the same. But nowadays I acquire nearly all papers electronically, and I assume the same is true for many people. Is there any good reason for journals to continue to insist on a house style?
To be clear, I certainly understand that some minimal requirements are necessary. For instance, a journal that has a print version will certainly want consistency in font, font size and margins, to ensure a fair comparison of the lengths of different papers. And I recognize that copyeditors serve a useful function in general. But I don't see why a journal needs to require that I use their custom
.cls file that is (for instance) incompatible with standard packages like
amsthm, numbers equations as (1) (2) (3) rather than the more useful (1.3) (3.2) (5.3), or requires enumerated lists to be labeled 1.2.3 instead of (i)(ii)(iii).
I recognize that this sounds like a rant. But I really intend it as an honest question. I can think of at least three possible kinds of answer:
- There is a good reason that I'm unaware of.
- There is a bad reason that I'm unaware of (e.g. somehow it makes the publishers more money).
- It's just inertia, leftover from older days of print journals.
I would really like to know which of those is the case, and if (1) or (2) then what the reason is.