What usually happens if the typesetting process for a paper puts it overlength? I imagine if the conference has an extra page charge, this will be applied; but if the conference has a hard maximum limit for pages and the paper is squeezed to fit it, and the typesetter makes some formatting changes that puts it over the limit, what happens?

Will the conference allow the author to make some adjustments to fit the paper into the limit? Assuming the formatting issues were an honest overlook and not purposely trying to circumvent the limit!

  • 1
    In what field? In my field, authors typeset conference publications themselves. Only things like page numbers etc are added after submitting the "camera ready" version.
    – ff524
    Jun 22, 2016 at 20:19
  • Computer science, in my case. Most of the conference proceedings I read are published by Springer, IOS Press, etc.
    – SJB
    Jun 22, 2016 at 20:20
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    In all cases that I've encountered, it is the author's problem to deal with. Clearly self-typeset articles are easy - fix it before you send it in. In the dark(er) days of journal publishing, the journals had guidelines on things like the number of words/figures/whatnot, but if you stayed within the guidelines and it still typeset too long, well, you had to cut it down a bit to fit. Fun times looking at the paragraphs with a short last line to figure out which word or two to cut out to save a line...
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 22, 2016 at 20:43
  • I know that authors are almost always responsible for typesetting their own article, but what about cases where a physical copy of proceedings is made? Does the publishing house create the hard copy? What happens if the article goes overlength during this process?
    – SJB
    Jun 22, 2016 at 20:58
  • @ff524: While that is typically true in my field, as well, there is the caveat that some publishers like Springer insist on bloating references to other Springer publications with info such as a full list of editors. Possibly, the OP "suffers" from the same issue. Jun 23, 2016 at 5:02

3 Answers 3


In my experience, my co-authors and I typeset articles ourselves using a template provided or referenced by the conference and submitted in PDF or PDF plus source form if the source is LaTeX. Overlong papers are often rejected by the Program Committee before being sent out for review or are asked to be reduced in length to meet the standards. If the paper is to be typeset by a publisher after the conference for a proceedings volume, there may be some wiggle room, but not much.

One goal is to not allow the authors to make substantial changes after the deadline. PCs have to be careful about allowing one group of authors to make too many changes after the deadline because they were overlong. This isn't fair to others authors, and so many PCs are strict about length restrictions.

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    This is what I was asking! :) I probably should have made it clearer in the question! So if a paper is accepted and the camera ready copy is accepted, but it is overlength during typesetting of the proceedings volume (for example, for a physical book) there is some wiggle room?
    – SJB
    Jun 22, 2016 at 21:00
  • @SJB, maybe, though "camera ready" means that there should be no additional typesetting since it should be ready to go. This has never happened to me because I take the length restrictions very seriously. It would be embarrassing for a journal if they changed the length of an otherwise compliant article during some additional typesetting done to something that was supposedly camera ready. My response would be "I sent you something that was ready to go. Please print it as it was, or allow me to remove one word of my choosing without changing the meaning."
    – Bill Barth
    Jun 22, 2016 at 22:47
  • Two bits of legitimate typesetting that could occur after camera ready that shouldn't change the length of a compliant article: updating the page numbers in the header/footer. Correcting the header/footer to have the right journal name, special issue name, or proceedings volume name. This all should have been close enough in the template.
    – Bill Barth
    Jun 22, 2016 at 22:57
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    @BillBarth: Springer usually extends references to Springer publications with space-hungry things like a full list of editors (and, depending on the number of such citations, this can easily mean the article grows by half a page or more), and this happens after acceptance, after submission of the (from the authors' point of view) camera-ready version. Therefore, this kind of overlength will not be caught by a program commitee or by reviewers. Jun 23, 2016 at 5:06
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    If Springer asks for a camera ready copy and then changes it, then they shouldn't enforce page limits too strongly. I'm guessing they don't. It's usually the conference that has the hard limit since without it some authors would be at an advantage or disadvantage. I the publisher messes around with your paper after the conference, there can be no advantage.
    – Bill Barth
    Jun 23, 2016 at 12:53

It used to be the case that proceedings articles submitted to a Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science volume were published in unchanged form. Regrettably, this has changed. Since a few years, Springer sends the LaTeX files submitted by the authors to some copy editing office. The copy editor inserts a copyright notice on the first page, checks the bibliographic entries, and possibly makes some further changes to the formatting of the submission. This has some undesirable consequences. One of the consequences is that the authors have to spend an afternoon checking the PDF proofs that are sent back by Springer by visually comparing them to the original submission (and no, the modifications introduced by the copy editors are not always sensible). The second consequence is that the copy editing process may change the number of pages required for the paper. In fact, I've seen proceedings volumes where virtually every paper had been carefully formatted by the authors to fit into exactly 15 pages, and where virtually every paper used 16 pages after the copy editor had inserted the copyright notice. But in all cases I've seen so far, this was nothing that the authors or proceedings editors had to worry about. In fact, making the authors or proceedings editors responsible for changes introduced by the publisher would be absurd.

  • This should be embarrassing for Springer.
    – Bill Barth
    Jun 22, 2016 at 22:59
  • The ACM template contains variants of its copyright statement.
    – Bill Barth
    Jun 22, 2016 at 23:11
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    tl:dr. it has no consequences since the changes introduced by copy editors are the journal's business.
    – Cape Code
    Jun 23, 2016 at 6:09

I have had a similar experience with a paper for an IEEE journal. The paper was already overlength and we agreed to pay the overlength fee, but the editing on the publisher's side added one more page (meaning higher overlength fee). Their system counts the overlength fee from the number of pages of the edited manuscript, so we would likely have to pay for it. The overlength was quite big, because some minor edits caused a heading to overflow to next page which moved some other headings and so on...

Nevertheless, we were allowed to make a relatively big correction to the edited version and got the paper back to the original number of pages without any problems.

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