Enhanced MathML support for BioMed Central articles

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With the impending publication of PhysMath Central‘s first particle
physics and cosmology papers, we have been busy working to ensure that systems are in place to deal
smoothly and efficiently with the complex mathematical formulae involved.

Computational biologists will see the benefit of this too, with
improved layout for equation-rich PDFs, and smarter handling of TeX
submissions, for all BioMed Central journals. One such improvement,
which has just been released, is an enhancement to the way in which we
use MathML to provide a structured, reusable version of formulae in
articles.

For some time, Windows Internet Explorer users who installed the  free MathPlayer plug-in have been able to make use of the MathML version of all formulae. As shown below, this provides additional options for any formula, allowing you to zoom in, copy the MathML for the equation, and even have the computer read the equation to you.

MathPlayer in action:

Up to now though, users of other browsers have not had access to MathML. To address this, formula images (example) in BioMed Central articles are now clickable links to the corresponding MathML (example).

Sample MathML:

<mml:math xmlns:mml="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML">
<mml:semantics><mml:mrow><mml:mi>T</mml:mi>
<mml:mo>=</mml:mo>
<mml:mrow><mml:mo>(</mml:mo>
<mml:mrow><mml:mtable><mml:mtr><mml:mtd><mml:mrow><mml:msubsup><mml:mi>m</mml:mi>
<mml:mrow><mml:mn>1</mml:mn>
<mml:mo>,</mml:mo>
<mml:mn>1</mml:mn>
</mml:mrow>

 <mml:mo>&#8727;</mml:mo>
</mml:msubsup>
</mml:mrow>
</mml:mtd>
</mml:mtr>
</mml:mtable>

This MathML can then easily be transferred by cut-and-paste into one of the many software applications which support MathML, for editing and use.

There is still more to come. Firefox users, like MathPlayer users, will soon be able to benefit from native MathML-rendered scaleable formulae, rather than  static image versions. Watch out for further details of this and other improvements to our handling of mathematics over the coming weeks and months.