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I am informed that submitted paper supposed to be sent to the typesetters today. I am advised to check the mails. Until now there is no acknowledgement except the first mail. I am curious about the typesetters job in this process. Do they make considerable updates? Do I have much work to do, after typesetter is done with the paper? Since, I am on holiday, I wonder if the workload will ruin my holiday?

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Typesetters typset. They will contact you if there is e.g. a figure that doesn't meet the formatting requirement or resolution standard, or if you (God forbid) sent stuff with Microsoft equation editor content and some (or all) is broken, etc. So the workload will likely be small but I wouldn't go too far away from a decent internet connection until you get the final proof. –  Jigg Jul 28 at 17:33
    
it depends on the format of your paper. In LaTeX several things can cause problems, like overfull hboxes. In general, you should have no trouble during your vacations, but you may have to do something. –  Trylks Jul 28 at 17:34
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The next step would be that you will be sent galley proofs and asked to go over them. You will probably not have much time for that. Look here and here for that step. –  Stephan Kolassa Jul 28 at 18:13
    
Note that “typesetting” may also include copy editing (though it literally does not). –  Wrzlprmft Jul 28 at 18:22
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Typesetting is when the publisher takes your LaTeX file with decently formatted PDF and miraculously succeeds to mess it up completely. –  gerrit Jul 29 at 17:50

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

As stated by Massimo Ortolano, the typesetting is followed by a final check, proofreading, by the author. In many journals (I will not venture to say all) the movement of an article from the editor involves additional steps. The article is scrutinized to make sure it follows the journal format down to the smallest detail. this can be done by the editor, it can also be done by the type-setter but there may also be a step where a third person, the copy editor, is involved. The copy editor will make sure there are no grammatical errors as well as checking formal issues regarding style and formatting of journal specific issues including references.

The result of the type-setting procedure is that some changes will occur but they should not be serious enough to alter the meaning of things. However, this can happen and is usually the result of an over-zealous editor, copy editor or type-setter, or a combination of the three. It is therefore quite important to review the proof very carefully. It is also vital to adhere to the journal format already when the manuscript is submitted since the risk of later editing errors is reduced.

What system "your" journal uses may involve all or a few of the ones mentioned above. Depending on the setup the type-setter may be more or less involved with the text but in its pure form the type-setter should only place figures and format headings, text, references etc. according to journal standards. The proof should then also only involve very minor changes (all issue should have been resolved much earlier in the review/revisions process including adhering to journal format).

In most journals with which I am familiar, the time allowed for proofing is very short, perhaps, one work week. this will vary between journals somewhat and I know some may have only a few days whereas other may allow somewhat longer. In the end it is mostly you who will "suffer" from lateness since your article may be published later than originally planned by the journal. My recommendation is to be accessible on a regular basis once a manuscript has gone to type-setting and expect to spend a few hours proofing it within a few days upon receiving it. At least you now usually proof a digital copy (pdf) and not a paper proof that has to be sent via regular mail (although I suspect that still can be the case with some journals).

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Typically, once a manuscript has been typeset, the editor asks the author(s) to check for errors that might have been introduced by the typesetting process. The checking process does not take too long, but I suggest you to check carefully the equations (if there are any), for their meaning is unknown to the typesetter and he or she might involuntarily introduce errors in case of reformatting.

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