Improving the way authors proof research papers

Heliyon is the first journal to use Page Central, the new Proof Central tool from TNQ

A paper’s acceptance is often the culmination of months or even years of work involving peer review and careful editorial consideration. But there is one final hurdle standing between authors and publication: the proof.

Proofing gives the author the chance to approve the final version of their paper after it has been typeset by the publisher. At this stage, the journal’s production team sends the accepted manuscript back to the author. This manuscript typically contains queries from the journal’s production staff, often in the form of sticky notes on a PDF file. The manuscript also highlights any changes and edits that were introduced by the production staff. Authors are then asked to answer any queries, review all changes, and either accept or reject these changes as needed, one final time for greater accuracy, before it is published.

However, the proofing process can often involve several rounds of revisions and communication between the author and journal team, therefore lengthening the time it takes to complete.

TNQ, a publishing technology and services company Elsevier works with in Chennai, India, has been working on a two-pronged solution to improve the process and make proofing more intuitive:

  • First, they aimed to make editing the manuscript proof, accepting edits, and answering queries easier for authors.
  • Second, they sought to provide authors with an instantly generated version of their manuscript that includes all changes.

“Many users of Proof Central have come back and asked if it is possible to update changes and show the updated pages before submitting the proof,” said Yakov Chandy, CEO of TNQ. “It is this desire of authors that the new release of Proof Central fulfills.”

Sara GrimmeThe new release of Proof Central has a tool called Page Central built in.  

Heliyon, Elsevier’s new open access multidisciplinary journal, is the first journal to use this new version of Proof Central.

“At Heliyon, we’re always striving to improve the author experience at every stage of the submission and publication process,” said Sara Grimme, Publishing Director for Heliyon. “As the final step before publication, it is important that proofing be straightforward and fast.”

The usability of Proof Central is a vast improvement from the usual method of receiving author corrections via “sticky notes” on PDFs. Page Central eliminates any ambiguity of how final article will appear by rendering a final proof instantaneously. 

How it works

When authors first open this latest version of Proof Central, they are immediately taken to a set of simple instructions. Upon clicking through to the proof, a series of queries are presented to ensure they look at all aspects of their paper – from the spelling of their co-authors’ surnames to grammatical correctness.

The landing page

Authors arrive at a landing page with clear instructions on how they should proceed.

The article page

The article editing page in Proof Central

The proof is an HTML version of the author’s manuscript where authors can make changes to their paper. On the right-hand pane, a series of queries from the production team is highlighted so the author can easily address any problems raised by the production team. Once changes are made, the author can click the “Proof” button in the upper panel to generate a page view of their article.


A mockup of the page view, generated by clicking the “Proof” button.
Claudia Lupp, PhDOnce the author has made all necessary changes, the author clicks “Submit” to transfer the final proof of the article to the journal’s production system – mounting the final hurdle before publication.

“We want to ensure that our authors’ final experience before publication is fast and intuitive,” said Dr. Claudia Lupp, Editor-in-Chief of Heliyon. “Using this new tool will help us achieve that.”

Proof Central with Page Central will be rolled out to other Elsevier titles in the upcoming months.

Elsevier Connect Contributor

Mary Beth O’LearyMary Beth O’Leary (@MaryBeth_OLeary) is Marketing and Publicity Manager for Heliyon, based in London. Previously, she lived in Boston where she joined Elsevier in August 2009. For over five years, she worked for Cell Press in various roles across editorial, marketing and public relations. Most recently, she acted as Media Relations Manager for Cell Press’s 30 titles. A graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, she studied literature and art history.

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