Usually distinct journals have their own templates for latex, some of them require you to use specific format for pictures etc. However sometimes you write an article and you do not know what journal will be your target for submission. What temples do you use in such scenario? Do you have any custom ones or do you prefer one provided by some journal?
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If the journal doesn't give you style files I suggest just vanilla arrticle class. If the paper is accepted they will format it. If not, you haven't cluttered it with formatting some other journal won't like.
In general whichever software you use to write the paper, word processor or LaTeX, make sure that it is easily adaptable. That said, most journals will have very specific requirements and it is difficult to make a generic file which suits all. In my experience the text is easier to adapt than the format (but this of course depends on the field).
Beyond using the most basic template, there are some pitfalls which are worth considering beforehand:
- The article is still a draft so focus on making it as readable as possible for the reviewers rather than fancy.
- Avoid elaborate packages that will make exporting the paper to different software impossible if needed. I recently had to submit a LaTeX paper to a journal accepting only .doc files, and it took a while to realise that I needed to revert to an old citation package in order to export to RTF. I think this is a specific case of the general point that you shouldn't rely on specific environments for your paper.
- Figures should follow basic rules of readability (font size, colours, etc) and this should keep you safe for most journals. It can also be handy not to rely on colour if not necessary.
Keep it simple, elaborate only when necessary.