I am in the process of submitting my first paper to a journal for publication and I would like the style to be flawless. I have used the AEA LaTeX template to prepare my manuscript, but I notice some differences in style between my compiled PDF and the papers noted in the AEJ Best Papers series, for example Li 2017.

Here are some of the differences I notice:

  1. The first letter is enlarged.
  2. Cross superscript on the title.
  3. No hanging indent on the abstract.
  4. JEL codes are non-italic, there is no colon after JEL, and there are parenthesis.
  5. Keywords are not visible.
  6. Running header is filled out.

All of these features except 6 appear to be different compared to the format built-in to the AEA LaTeX template. 6 is different simply because I don't know what to put in the running header before submission.

I'm hoping that these differences are normal, and that after I submit for review the editors simply apply a different LaTeX style set or something like that. Can anyone confirm, or am I missing something? Would these differences be grounds for rejection? I'm currently holding off on submitting because I'm not sure.

  • 5
    This belongs on LaTeX SE. Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 23:44
  • 5
    Manuscripts will go through a long editing process. These effects are generally not applied until the end of the process. On the other hand, if you really want to replicate those effects, ask on TeX SE. Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 23:48
  • I appreciate the second comment, but to the first comment: To be clear, I'm not asking about how to use LaTeX. I'm asking about the publishing process. For example, I'm not confused about how to create a cross superscript on the title or remove the hanging indent on the abstract. I'm confused by the process because the publisher-recommended template does not seem to include those features, while the actually-published papers include them. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 0:30
  • 7
    I strongly disagree with the closing of this question: this isn't really about LaTeX at all, but about the anxiety of submitting an apparently imperfect manuscript.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 10:35
  • @ElizabethHenning: Actually the only thing that stroke me as “belongs on TeX - LaTeX” was the title – which I edited to match the question body.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


If you are following the template that the journal has provided, then don't worry about minor differences of this sort.

Journals often have a different post-acceptance "polishing" process for final production, which might involve changing the LaTeX templates or (more likely) converting to an entirely different graphic-design-centric pipeline. The reason for this is that the review and production are often handled by different staff with different software serving different needs.

Moreover, even if you did do something mildly wrong in your application of formatting, no sane editor will ever say

"Muahahaha! You have failed the test of the enlarged first character! YOUR MANUSCRIPT IS UNWORTHY OF REVIEW!

Instead, either the editor will say something like "Your revised manuscript must adhere to XXX format, including the following points" (paraphrasing from one of my published recent manuscripts), or more likely not even say anything because they didn't even notice and only the post-acceptance production staff really care.

  • 2
    +1, except that I'd qualify: Item 5 (invisible keywords) is worth taking more seriously, because keywords are probably useful to the editors in deciding which referees to send the paper to. Thus, I suggest fixing it -- if necessary, by manually "faking" the keyword list with "\textbf{Keywords:}" and such. Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 5:21

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