I was wondering if there are any journals that do not use 'doc' or any other similar file formats in the review process

In my experience I have used 'track changes' in some document editor to communicate with reviewers

I remember finding it strange at first that the academics/alchemists in their 'high tower' used such file formats. Had some snobby feeling that they should be above it. In the distance academics were graybeards that spoke Latin and used latex for everything. Now up close, as always, they are just regular people (the distance makes mountains blue and people great is a saying somewhere).

Jokes aside, I would like to know if there are any journals that refuse to use the 'doc/odt...' file formats. Some have latex as an alternative but then convert everything to 'doc' when the review process begins. Is there anywhere discussions or articles where this has been addressed (if there is any issue, not sure if there is)?

Mostly interested in the biological fields


My question is:

What journals do not use 'track changes' in the review process? It seems like in the end they all ditch the response letter and want 'track changes'. It would be nice for once to stick to the original Latex file but if it is not possible then so be it. Just thinking out loud (sorry, but seemed like a legitimate question, I'll delete if this is just some impulsive brew).

  • 1
    Applied Physics Letters accepts Microsoft Word or LaTeX (but does say has to be .docx on Mac). Says nothing about open office products. Physical Review Letters says "Text files should be formatted in REVTeX (preferred) or LaTeX." but goes on to say "Submissions in MSWord, PostScript and PDF are also acceptable; although their use is extremely limited in either the peer review or production process." I would strongly suggest that neither journal would convert a LaTeX document to a doc format.
    – Jon Custer
    Aug 4, 2022 at 14:12
  • Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Aug 4, 2022 at 14:49

2 Answers 2


Journals tend to use the formats predominantly used by people in the field. In biological (and indeed many other) fields, I believe that would mean MS Word. A journal refusing to use a standard format is just committing self-sabotage as most would submit elsewhere instead. (With many journals there are enough hoops to jump through as it is...) For an individual author it may be easier to go along with the flow than to use formats that are nominally supported, but in practice rarely used.

Jokes aside, I would like to know if there are any journals that refuse to use the 'doc/odt...' file

In mathematical fields there are journals that only accept LaTeX submissions. For the reason given above that seems much less likely to be a thing in biological fields, however.

What journals do not use 'track changes' in the review process? It seems like in the end they all ditch the response letter and want 'track changes'.

That is pretty far from my experience in physics. Typically, one submits a .tex file, from which the journal generates a PDF that is sent to reviewers. Revised manuscripts are submitted the same way. Changes may be highlighted in a PDF, and summarized in a response letter. Whether the response letter is typed up in LaTeX or in some WYSIWYG editor is entirely up to the author(s), as long as it is eventually sent in some format supported by the journal.

  • Good "bad" answer, the truth hurts but going with the flow makes it all easier. Thanks
    – AWE
    Aug 10, 2022 at 13:48

I have to feeling you are asking on two different levels. Submittig the file in one format is one thing, the journal sending out the file to reviewers a completely separate thing.

Most journals I have reviewed for so far (electronics/material science/textiles field) actually send a PDF to review. I am sure that they did either receive a LaTeX or word file as submission, though.

I have never received a word file to review. In a double blind review process, a word document can be hard to anonymize: we get our MS Office Suite from the institute as a personalized version, and cannot change the user, so all comments and changes would have my name on it.

  • Even as an author you can see that journals use PDF for review. Most submission systems have a step at the end of the submission process where you are asked to proof-read the PDF that is created automatically by the system. Of course, there still seem to be some old-fashioned journals where you submit by email. Those might send the files they receive directly to reviewers.
    – user9482
    Aug 5, 2022 at 5:36

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