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Thoughts on the Harvard Data Science Review

Considering strengths and opportunities for a more knowledgeable future

Published onAug 06, 2020
Thoughts on the Harvard Data Science Review

The Harvard Data Science Review (HDSR) aims to “be a new kind of digital platform that reflects the synergistic nature of data science”. It purposefully weaves together elements from scholarly journals, online magazines, and educational/community-driven platforms. To trained eyes it comes across as a cutting-edge online journal. HDSR has an aesthetically pleasing design. The home page has a clean and fresh feel that promotes deeper exploration into the content. The use of the Pub description to indicate an article is forthcoming was subtle yet impressive. Broadly speaking, the HDSR is functional and inviting.

Opportunities for improvement:

Multimedia is surprisingly nonexistent. Considering the content and audience, HDSR has an opportunity to incorporate podcasts, visualizations, and video and broaden its impact. Especially as HDSR aims to be “everything data science and data science for everyone”, it should diversify/supplement how its content is consumed.

While the homepage layout is attractive, a closer look at the content organization shows section categories are nonlinear yet the page orients content north-to-south. It might be interesting to experiment with different layouts for full-screen web based browsing — perhaps a mix of a featured articles carousel and/or sections with articles arranged west-to-east (see for example).

The Content Guidelines page contains important info but comes across as too text heavy — consider breaking it up with anchored headers (e.g., by article type or requirement).

How to submit proposals could be more prominent on the home and about pages, for example as a banner with a click here link.

At the article (Pub) level consider making the contents feature (TOC) more visible and/or fix it to the page so it remains on screen when scrolling down.

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