April 2011: Editor's Message: Going Online

S. Keshav
Appears in: 
CCR April 2011

Twenty years ago, when I was still a graduate student, going online meant firing up a high-speed 1200 baud modem and typing text on a Z19 glass terminal to interact with my university’s VAX 11/780 server. Today, this seems quaint, if not downright archaic. Fast forwarding twenty years from now, it seems very likely that reading newspapers and magazines on paper will seem equally quaint, if not downright wasteful. It is clear that the question is when, not if, CCR goes completely online.

CCR today provides two types of content: editorials and technical articles. Both are selected to be relevant, novel, and timely. By going online only, we would certainly not give up these qualities. Instead, by not being tied to the print medium, we could publish articles as they were accepted, instead of waiting for a publication deadline. This would reduce the time-to-publication from the current 16 weeks to less than 10 weeks, making the content even more timely.

Freeing CCR from print has many other benefits. We could publish content that goes well beyond black-and-white print and graphics. For example, graphs and photographs in papers would no longer have to be black-and-white. But that is not all: it would be possible, for example, to publish professional- quality videos of paper presentations at the major SIG conferences. We could also publish and archive the software and data sets for accepted papers. Finally, it would allow registered users to receive alerts when relevant content was published. Imagine the benefits from getting a weekly update from CCR with pointers to freshly-published content that is directly relevant to your research!

These potential benefits can be achieved at little additional cost and using off-the-shelf technologies. They would, however, significantly change the CCR experience for SIG members. Therefore, before we plunge ahead, we’d like to know what you think. Do send your comments to me at: ccr-edit@uwaterlo.ca