Submitting a paper online

by Diana Davis

Last month, I posted about how to publish a paper. Shortly thereafter, I submitted a paper and found that the process was not exactly like I said it would be. I wrote that you should send a PDF of your paper to an editor of the journal with a short explanatory note. However, when I did this, he wrote back and pointed out that articles must be submitted online!

No problem; I can submit an article online. However, I learned that PDF is not an acceptable file format, so I had to send in the LaTeX file and the figures as EPS files. After converting all my PDF figures to EPS and making sure everything looked the same as before, I compressed everything and uploaded it as a ZIP file. So far, so good.

The web site compiled everything and then sent it to me as a PDF for approval. Because their compiler was different from mine, the heading “References” at the end of my document was printed twice, which was not only unprofessional, but also pushed my last reference onto another page, creating a nearly blank page. This was bad, and somewhat mysterious. I was eventually able to figure out why the heading was printing once with my compiler and twice with theirs, and I fixed it and uploaded a revised LaTeX file. This time, it compiled fine, and I approved the PDF.

I was then able to choose the editor to receive my submission, just as though I had e-mailed him the PDF. The online system apparently streamlines things for authors, editors and referees; it seems like a good system to me. I just wanted to let the rest of you know that it was different than I expected, so that perhaps you can avoid my errors when you submit a paper online for the first time. In particular, keep current versions of your figures saved in several file formats in case they don’t accept the one you’re using, and be careful with things in LaTeX that might work differently with someone else’s compiler.

Also, be sure to read Steven J. Miller’s comments on my previous post; he makes several important points about submitting papers that I didn’t have in the original post.

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