7 tips for simplified LaTeX submissions

To make it easier for authors to submit papers, Elsevier has added a new way to submit LaTeX source files

By Sweitse van Leeuwen - July 8, 2014  5 mins
LaTeX image

Most authors using LaTeX know that submitting a paper can be a cumbersome affair. The typical difficulty is to compile the LaTeX files in the submission system.

What is LaTeX?

LaTeX is a markup language used for authoring and typesetting scientific documents. It is famous for its support for formulae and diagrams. Although it was released 30 years ago, it is still widely used by scientists in mathematics, physics and other fields, as well as by publishers and typesetters.

Source: Wikipedia

A sample of LaTeX markup language.

To make it easier for authors to submit their papers, Elsevier has added a new way of submitting LaTeX source files. In addition, the instructions for preparing and submitting LaTeX papers were updated. With the following tips and tricks, you will be fully prepared to submit and publish your next paper without hassles.

1. Submitting source files

It is no longer required to have the Elsevier Editorial System (EES) compile your source files. Instead, you can simply upload the PDF yourself in addition to the source files. This option is available for more than 800 journals. If you want to submit your LaTeX files to a journal without this option, or if you feel more comfortable with the old way of submitting LaTeX files, you can still upload the LaTeX source files with the item type "Manuscript." We trust that this new option will provide you with a smooth submission experience.

2. Elsarticle class

The elsarticle class is contained in both TeXlive and MikTeX. This class is based on the standard article class and provides additional commands to typeset the front matter of the paper. For example, you can easily add key words and classifications, and use special footnotes to indicate the authors' affiliations. It is also possible to format your paper in one of the standard Elsevier layouts using the class options. You will find the documentation and a template on www.elsevier.com/latex.

You can find LaTeX commands by sketching symbols with DeTeXify.

3. BibTeX

If you would like to use BibTeX, the first step is to collect your references in a single BIB file. You can export references in the BibTeX format from Scopus, ScienceDirect, Mendeley and all other major article databases and reference managers. Once this is done, you can cite any reference using the label provided in the BIB file. If you then run the program BibTeX, it will automatically find the citation labels and the specified bibliography style in the AUX file and format the references in the given style. If you want to change the style later, all you need to do is select a different bibliography style, recompile your document and run BibTeX anew.

Exporting references in BibTeX format is supported by all major platforms.

4. Reference styles

Elsevier's LaTeX template comes bundled with eight bibliography styles used by Elsevier. It is generally best to select a style that is similar to the journal's style. For example, if the journal uses name/year citations, it is better not to use numbered citations. Some journals have more detailed requirements, so you should check the Guide for Authors in all cases.

5. Figure formats

The preferred figure formats for Elsevier are EPS (vector graphics), TIFF (line art and photographs) and JPEG (photographs). The classical TeX system will work with EPS only, so if you want to submit anything else than vector graphics, it's best to move on to Hàn Thế Thành's pdfTeX: Instead of running "latex," you simply run "pdflatex." The alternative figure formats for pdfTeX are PDF (vector graphics), PNG (line art and photographs) and JPEG (photographs).

You can read more about the differences between 'latex' and 'pdflatex' on the TeX Stack Exchange.

6. Custom classes and packages

In case you are using custom package or class files, you should submit these along with the other source files. As a rule of thumb, you only need to submit class or package files that are not contained in TeXlive. In order to check this, go to CTAN, enter the name of the class or package and see whether it is contained in TeXlive.

7. XML conversion

All articles will be converted to XML for the purpose of online publication and long-term archiving. This means that your formulae will be converted to MathML, and any TikZ figures or complicated diagrams will be stored as figures. For journals with a high percentage of LaTeX input, the PDFs are set using LaTeX, for the rest of the journals the XML is used to create the PDF. On ScienceDirect, you can turn on MathJax, which will improve the MathML rendering in your browser.

You can easily convert LaTeX formulae to MathML yourself using the WIRIS editor if you ever need to export them to HTML or Microsoft Word.

Learn more

More information on the preparation and submission of LaTeX papers is available at elsevier.com/latex.

Tell us what you think

If you have any suggestions how we could improve the handling of papers written in LaTeX, we would like to hear your ideas. Please leave them in the comment section below.

Elsevier Connect Contributor

Sweitse van Leeuwen

Sweitse van Leeuwen is Strategy Analyst for Elsevier Operations, focusing on improvement and innovation in journal production. In 2012, he graduated in mathematics from Leibniz Universität Hannover. He is based in Elsevier's Amsterdam headquarters.

Laura Schmidt, Publisher for Elsevier, and Masako Takeda, Publishing Services Manager, also contributed to this article.


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