What does it mean when a paper gets rejected stating "poor typesetting" as one of the reasons?

I downloaded a latex template of a journal and used it to write the paper. When I submitted the paper to some another journal they cited as "poor typesetting" as a reason for rejection of my paper and said the writing needs improvement.

What does "poor typesetting mean"?Please help.

  • 1
    It is possible that the layout, say of formulae, was just confusing to the reviewers, or they thought it might be confusing to other readers. If it is hard to read in addition to being difficult math, it can be an impossible job to decipher.
    – Buffy
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 14:18
  • 1
    I'd think it's rather not the style or typesetting program, but the way you present formula. Consider using LaTeX and asking a (founded) question at tex.sx, with examples and excerpts from the review. Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


Typesetting is everything that relates to the visual aspects of the paper's formatting, from spacing between individual letters / words / formulas to overall distribution of text / figures / tables etc.

LateX will take care of some that, but it's essential that you use the template provided by the journal your submitting to! If for no other reason then because the styles might be subject to copyright.

In general, rejecting a paper because of a poor writing or typesetting is perfectly valid. Your job as a researcher is to 1) produce a novel idea, 2) explore the heck out of it and 3) communicate it to the community succinctly and clearly. If #3 is done poorly, then #1 and #2 are pointless.

I recommend you to:

  • read at least a basic guide on visual design and typesetting,
  • observe the style of the existing papers published in your target journal, and
  • once you have a draft, ask one of your peers to proofread it to weed out as many issues as possible before you submit.
  • 1
    Further, it may be that the actual LaTeX usage in the math equations had issues that made them more difficult to understand for the reviewer. TeX and LaTeX are great at equations, but one can still manage to make them confusing.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 13:50

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