Today in Mr. Big Food’s World | Where are the Humans?

A publisher sent Mr. Big Food page proofs for a paper he has coming out in a respected academic journal. The first four pages are instructions on how to make corrections, and a list of corrections that need to be made. I was standing beside him when he began scrolling through the suggested corrections which read something like this:

  • A et al., (2010) cited in text, not referenced. Please delete or include in references.
  • B et al., (2011) ….
  • C et al. …
  • Z …

WTH? With ~90 papers, five books, etc., under his belt, Mr. Big Food actually does know how to cross check citations and references.

I will spare you the details of his five minute investigative journey and cut to this. For every “cited in text” there was a corresponding “A, M, and N referenced but not cited in text.” I’m not going to say “idiot” but idiot. I understand that the publisher has some program that searches for citations and matches them with references. But what idiot does not put into that 01010101 code / argument / whatever an “if authors > 1 then replace w/ et al.” line? (I don’t code– that’s Kat & Ton– but it must be something like this, right?) And what idiot, preparing the report to attach to the page proofs doesn’t wonder, “Wow. That’s an awful lot of missing citations and references. Maybe I’d better check this.” I know. Once the editor made the decision that Mr. Big Food had properly addressed all of the reviewers’ concerns and had accepted the  paper for publication, the humans just up & disappeared.

Also in Mr. Big Food’s World, his PUSH authentification  thingy stopped working.

And now it’s storming.