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If you’re interested in the new open-access “Journal of Computer Graphics Techniques“, some of us editors, contributors, and other birds of a feather are informally meeting up at SIGGRAPH 2012. You’re welcome to come and chat (half the point of SIGGRAPH, amirite?):

Time: 5:30-6:30 pm Monday (just before this party in the same hotel)
Place: Marriott HQ hotel lobby, behind registration. This area:

Yes, this time conflicts with the Electronic Theater on Monday, etc., etc. – every time almost every day from 9 am to 8 pm on conflicts with something, and oddly no one wanted a 7 am meeting.

Morgan McGuire, the Editor-in-Chief of JCGT, won’t be attending SIGGRAPH, but has a great blog entry about JCGT’s progress and status. The whole post is worth reading, and I’ll repeat the last part here:

How is the JCGT board funding the journal?

The answer comes in three parts. First, it isn’t that expensive to publish a graphics journal electronically. All of the writing, editing, and reviewing is done by volunteers and most of the software is free open source (LaTeX, BibTeX, Apache, MySQL, mod_xslt2, Emacs, Ubuntu, etc.). The board is unpaid, as is the case for most academic editorial positions. Graphics authors and editors are capable of producing professional-quality typesetting, layout, and diagrams on their own.

Second, Williams College has a grant from the Mellon Foundation to create digital archives to match the quality and reliability of the college’s substantial physical scholarly archives. Those physical archives are in rare books, visual art, scholarly journals, and congressional papers. I find the breadth and depth of those fascinating: the college’s holdings include original drafts of the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution, first editions of major scientific works such as Principia Mathematica, and paintings by major artists such as Picasso. The college is well-positioned to archive and conserve digital computer graphics papers and unlike a commercial publisher, an academic library has no agenda for those materials beyond preserving knowledge for all.

Third, the minor incidental costs of advertising, hosting, and legal are being picked up out of pocket by a few of us. Of of the financial contributions and dues I’ve given to graphics organizations, this was the one I was most pleased to make. We’re not accepting donations or seeking outside funding–that would subject us to bookkeeping overhead and legal requirements. If you want to support the journal, the best way to do so is to read it, write for it, and offer your services as a reviewer.

One other tidbit: the first paper accepted by JCGT has been downloaded over 10,000 times in four weeks. Clearly there’s a high curiosity factor for an inaugural article, but reaching this wide an audience is a good sign.

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I was cleaning up the RTR portal page today. Of all the links on this page, I often use those linked in the first three items. I used to have about 30 blogs listed. Trying them all today, 5 have disappeared forever (being replaced by junk like this and this), and 10 more are essentially dead (no postings in more than a year).¬†Understandable: blogs usually don’t live that long. One survey gives 126 days for the average lifetime of a typical blog. Another notes even the top 100 blogs last an average of less than 3 years.

Seeing good blogs disappear forever is sad for me. If I’m desperate, I can try finding them using the Wayback Machine, but sometimes will find only bits and pieces, if that. This goes for websites, too. If I see some article I like, I try to save a copy locally. Even then, such pages are hard to find later – I’m not that organized. Other people are entirely out of luck, of course.

My takeaway: feel free to start a blog, sure. But if you have some useful programming technique you’ve explained, and you want people to know about it for some time to come, then also submit it to a journal. One blog I mentioned last post,¬†Morten Mikkelsen’s, shows one way to mix the two: he shows new results and experiments on his blog, and¬†submits solid ideas to a journal. I of course strongly suggest the (new, yet old) Journal of Computer Graphics Techniques (JCGT), the spiritual successor to the journal of graphics tools (as noted earlier, all the editors have left the old journal). Papers on concise, practical techniques and ideas are what it’s for, just the sorts of thing I see on many graphics blogs. Now that is journal is able to quickly publish ideas, I dearly want to see more short, Graphics Gems-like papers. If and when you decide to quit blogging/get hit by an asteroid/have a kid, if prior to this you also submitted your work to a journal and had it accepted, you then have something permanent to show for it all, something that others can benefit from years later. It’s not that hard, honestly – just do it. JCGT prides itself on working with authors to help polish their work and bring out the best, but there are plenty of other venues, ranging from SIGGRAPH talks, Gamasutra articles, and GPU Pro submissions to full-blown ACM TOG papers.

Oh, I should also note that JCGT is fine with work that is not necessarily new, but fills a gap in the literature, explains an improved way of performing an algorithm, gives implementation advice, etc. Citing sources is important – don’t claim work that isn’t your own – but otherwise the goal is simple: present techniques useful for computer graphics programmers.

By the way, if you do run a website of any sort, here are my three top pet peeves, so please don’t do them:

  • Moving page locations and leaving no forwarding page at the old page’s location (I’m looking at you, NVIDIA and AMD) – you don’t care if someone directs traffic to your site?
  • Giving no contact email address or other feedback mechanism on your web pages – you don’t want to know when something’s broken?
  • Giving no “last updated on” date on your web pages – you don’t want people to know how fresh the info is?

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