Scientific typesetting

Alex Reinhart – Updated June 23, 2017 notebooks ·

See also Scientific publishing.

There are two common ways for academics to write their articles: LaTeX and Microsoft Word. LaTeX is well-suited to heavily mathematical and structured writing: it has extensive equation typesetting that still sets the standard for quality, comprehensive automatic cross-referencing and indexing, high-quality PDF output, support for multiple customizable document styles, and is completely programmable through a (admittedly rather unpleasant) macro language.

Word, on the other hand, is WYSIWYG. That’s about all I’ll say about it.

The problem with both is they’re not well-suited to modern publishing. We don’t just want static PDFs: articles must be presented on the web, archived, searched, reformatted for new devices and apps, cross-referenced, and so on. LaTeX, with its focus on print output, isn’t very good at this, and Word is, well, Word.