SIAM News Blog

Q&A: Tamara Kolda on SIAM Journal Macro Update

In January, SIAM introduced a substantially updated macro set for 11 of our journals, with a corresponding upgrade to our four exclusively online journals to follow. This development was the work of a committee under the leadership of Tamara G. Kolda of Sandia National Laboratories. We sat down with Tammy to find out what the update will mean for SIAM journal authors and readers.

SIAM: What changes will authors notice between the old and new macros?

TK: There are numerous changes, and it is recommended that authors review the guide for complete instructions. Following are a few highlights.

– The names have changed: Authors will need to specify a different LaTeX class (siamart) and bibliography style (siamplain) to use the new macros. There is now a “review” class option that adds line numbers.

-Authors will also see that hyperlinking is now supported via hyperref, supporting links within the document (generated automatically via cleveref) as well as external links (using \url or \href commands). Additionally, PDF bookmarks are created automatically.

-Cross-referencing is now facilitated via the cleveref package, which means that authors should use \cref rather than \ref. This new method automatically names the cross-referenced item appropriately, i.e., it understands that a cross-referenced table should be preceded by the word “Table” and an equation should have parentheses. More importantly, it does automatic hyperlinking in the PDF version of the document.

-New fields are introduced for BibTeX entries, including doi and url. We also have improved support for preprint archives like arXiv and PubMed. We now support electronic publications that have article IDs rather than page numbers. We highly recommend that authors include DOIs for cited references.

-We have new ways to specify theorem-like environments, based on the ntheorem package. This includes a more robust proof environment that works even when the proof ends with an equation.

-There is now support for supplementary files, including an example PDF supplement with appropriate titles, cross-references, and more.

SIAM: Much time and effort went into the newly revised SIAM standard macros.  What led you to take on leadership of the project?

TK: It was very important because SIAM needed better support for hyperlinking, including references using DOIs. This was a larger undertaking than I realized and took more than a year of effort by the team, including SIAM staff as well as volunteers from the community.

SIAM: Of the improvements and enhancements that our authors can now make use of, what did you find to be the most challenging feature to implement?

TK: In some ways, LaTeX is a very old-fashioned system. Moreover, no one on the committee had experience writing LaTeX or BibTeX style files. This meant that every feature was difficult! But thanks to searching various web forums and many helpful ideas from the SIAM staff and committee members, we were able to work out the various bugs and snafus.

SIAM: What change in the new macros are you personally most excited to see come to reality? And what was the most rewarding part of being involved in this effort?

TK: I’m very excited about the automatic cross-linking provided by the cleveref package. I knew that we needed hyperlinks, but implementing them was sure to be difficult. This was a great solution to what had promised to be a very difficult problem. It’s a fantastic package.

I’m also happy to see that SIAM has worked closely with its print service for published volumes so we are now able to generate PDF directly, skipping the intermediate step of producing PostScript.  This means that SIAM now accepts high-resolution images in PDF, JPEG, and PNG as well as EPS.

SIAM: As advances in scholarly publishing push forward, do you have any predictions or suggestions for future changes to the macros?

TK: I expect published papers will eventually be only electronic, enabling more sophisticated embedded materials including interactive visualization of numerical results and much more.  The new package pgfplots makes changing plot characteristics extremely easy, so it’s possible to imagine this happening interactively in the very near future.

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Tamara G. Kolda is a SIAM Fellow, a member of the SIAM Board of Trustees, chair of the Journal Committee, a SISC Section Editor (Software and High Performance Computing), and a SIMAX Associate Editor. She is a member of the Data Science and Cyber Analytics Department at Sandia National Laboratories.

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