I have finished all of my manuscript revisions except for some minor details in the figure.

As I understand it, once the manuscript is accepted, a final draft of high resolution figures will be requested. In the past, I have also had requests to relabel and rearrange subplots.

Does this mean that I can wait until the final draft figures are requested to make minor tweaks, like aligning and sizing fonts and graphical elements? The content will be the same, but I still want to finalize elements such as the font sizes, line widths, title placement and legends.

In the interest of speeding up the process, is it acceptable for to submit revisions with the figures still in draft form?


3 Answers 3


I think this will depend highly from the publisher himself, but any problem will probably result in delay before publication.

If the publisher sees for the first time at the final draft slightly new figures, he might still ask for a few modifications. As such, I prefer to do before the next revision as much as possible to make sure that the publisher is happy and everything is done as soon as possible.


As a referee, if figures are in a rough shape, I will absolutely call the paper out on that, and demand improvements. This will potentially set the acceptance back by weeks. Unless the figures will take weeks to get right—and in this day, that would usually imply that more data needs to be collected—then it's better to just do it right the first time.


I agree with aeismail. Your figures should be as polished as possible before submission. As a reviewer, I am dedicating my time, for free, to improve your paper (if possible) so that it is appropriate for publication. Every problem that you leave unfixed is something that I feel like I have to mention, and it makes me angry/frustrated that the authors didn't take the time to correct obvious problems.

I ask my own lab members to spend time making figures polished and clear even for internal discussions. It is a good exercise in visual communication for them and saves everyone else (other lab members and myself) time since we don't have to waste time.

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