Some journals do not require article submissions to be in any particular format. Would it still be better to try and copy that journals usual format, or use a generic draft format? Would you as an editor or a reviewer prefer one over the other?

For example, many articles use a two column format that is nice and compact for publication, but is a little harder to review and markup - so maybe the reviewers would prefer the article in a single column draft format?

EDIT: I'm specifically asking about journals that state you can use any format you like (for submission), leaving you free to choose whatever will be most convenient for the editors and reviewers. Do you try and still present a "finished product", i.e. format it like it will be if published - or use larger spacing, etc. to make it convenient for review. What would you as a reviewer or editor prefer in the absence of set submission guidelines. Or would you not care in the slightest?

  • Welcome! I think the answers to the question I linked apply here too, even if the title doesn't fully match your question. – Anyon Aug 31 '18 at 18:26
  • Thanks for pointing out that question. The consensus there is "yes, you should follow the guidelines set by the journal for submissions", though that still doesn't answer the question if the journal is open to any formatting for submissions. – argentum2f Aug 31 '18 at 19:43
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    It's not 100% clear what are you asking about: a journal that doesn't explicitly say "you must use our template or else we will desk reject your submission", or a journal that doesn't provide any template at all. To add confusion, in a comment you write "the question is specifically about "Your Paper Your Way" journals", but (i) nothing in the question itself implies it, and (ii) what do you mean by this term? That the whole formatting can be individual for the author? If so, this is different from the two above possibilities. I adressed one in my answer. Please clarify what you mean. – user68958 Aug 31 '18 at 19:43
  • I thought I made it clear in the body of the question that I am talking about journals that "do not require ... any particular format." I've edited it for further clarification. – argentum2f Aug 31 '18 at 20:45
  • @argentum2f Other answers to that other question already answer yours and talk specifically about when a submission format is not specified. In summary: Keep it simple, don't bother to format it like the journal typesets. – Bryan Krause Aug 31 '18 at 20:59

Depends from journal to journal. There are journals like Decision Support System that require from author to use specific format for initial submission, which btw differs a lot from format of their online publications. It seems to me that format specified in their Guides for Author is designed to ease review process i.e. making side notes and underlining by hand on printed copy.

There are ones like Information Processing and Management, that clearly state they are following "Your Paper Your Way" policy, which in essence: allows you to use any citation style and format for initial submission.

And there are journals, like International Journal of Cooperative Information Systems, that make no such statement, but if you read carefully instructions for authors - they say: that you'll have to apply their template / style / format after being informed on acceptance of your manuscript.

So, unfortunately, there is no easy answer. It would make a lot of sense if all journals follow "Your Paper Your Way" policy, but it is not the case. Many times, you are left in uncertainty due lack of explicit instruction on this.

  • Thanks, but the question is specifically about "Your Paper Your Way" journals. If the journal specifies a format for submissions, then obviously that must be used. If I can choose though, is there any reason to pick a particular format (i.e. to make it easier for reviewers)? – argentum2f Aug 31 '18 at 19:28
  • But, if the journal clearly says it follows "Your Paper Your Way" - then there is no reason to worry about specific formatting as it will not (or at least should not / I can't imagine it would) affect the review process nor editorial decision. Do not count on kindness factor in the peer-review process - as it will not get your paper published or treated better than otherwise. Really, I can't see why you should worry about format in such case. Maybe some editor/reviewer can provide better insight from personal experience, but I would be surprised to read opposite. – hardyVeles Aug 31 '18 at 19:58
  • The "should not" is part of what I'm asking about. The other part is convenience. Just because it won't make a difference in chance of acceptance doesn't me it doesn't matter. I'd still like to make it convenient if there's likely any preference. – argentum2f Aug 31 '18 at 20:50
  • Hm, ok. Let's see if we get any feedback from an editor or reviewer here. I'm curious now same as you. – hardyVeles Aug 31 '18 at 22:39
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    One problem with spending time or money to elaborately format your paper is the risk of having to reformat it in other styles to submit it to other journals. I have many a time redone the same reference list in APA, CMS, and British styles. Expensive if you work with an editor. – Eggy Sep 1 '18 at 21:37

If the publisher doesn't provide a template for submissions, I see no reason why the author should be in any way burdened by doing the editorial work for them. Just use the template that's easiest for you to prepare the manuscript.

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