Questions tagged [formatting]

Concerning how to format content in academic writing.

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128
votes
13answers
19k views

Is publishing runnable code instead of pseudo code shunned?

In Computer Science is it preferable to describe algorithms using pseudo code rather than real code? If so, why? I've talked to a few academics who think so but I can't understand why. Some of the ...
92
votes
3answers
11k views

Editor asks for π to be written in roman

My paper is accepted at MNRAS and in the stage of editing. There is a section where I wrote an equation using the Greek letter π as to indicate the mathematical constant π. The editor wrote: Author: ...
79
votes
5answers
14k views

Elsevier production team messed up my paper. What should I do?

I have a paper accepted by a journal of Elsevier, and it went under production for 3 months. Yet the production team has not been able to fix certain problems with typesetting which appeared during ...
77
votes
16answers
14k views

Should I learn to use LaTeX to write up a History Masters Thesis?

So I reviewed the "What are the advantages or disadvantages of using LaTeX for writing scientific publications?" question on this forum and am sitting on the fence at the moment whether or not to use ...
59
votes
8answers
5k views

Should you conform to journal formatting requirements for the initial submission?

In my past experiences, I have almost never typeset my manuscripts according to the formats required by the journals to which I would like to submit. I leave my manuscripts as produced by the LaTeX ...
46
votes
6answers
10k views

Why are there no computer-friendly versions of papers?

I believe that many people read articles from their computers. So, tiny fonts and many columns have no advantage. Why don’t journals make alternative computer-friendly versions of the articles? For ...
44
votes
12answers
10k views

Do résumés written in LaTeX show more promise when applying to graduate schools?

I am a computer science student from India. I noticed that most of the résumés and thesis papers etc. I see are written in LaTeX. If I write my résumé in Word (say) rather than LaTeX, will it have a ...
44
votes
12answers
10k views

PhD student hiring a LaTeX expert to typeset thesis?

I am close to finishing my PhD. Some of my peers use LaTeX. Obviously, it looks much better than Word and alike. As I wrote a few papers that go into my final thesis, I however have numerous formats ...
42
votes
8answers
11k views

Is it okay to typeset someone’s to-be-graded assignment for them?

I have a friend who’s an undergraduate at university. I believe myself to be fairly proficient in TeX/LaTeX; I’ve seen some of the assignments that he’s received back, and we both agree they could ...
41
votes
4answers
7k views

Central dot as decimal point in top journal

The Lancet, one of the top medical journals in the world, requires 'Type decimal points midline (ie, 23·4, not 23.4)'. Does anyone know why this is? As a mathematician, I'll always read 23·4 as 92. ...
34
votes
12answers
9k views

Could I use colors to distinguish variables in a paper?

Often when distinguishing one variable from another we use different characters or if using the same character different subscripts. For instance we might use x for one variable, and y for another, ...
34
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do some journals prefer MS Word?

Some journals (specifically on biology or chemistry) accept only MS Word files as manuscripts, while many journals on mathematics or physics prefer LaTeX. Even Science prefers MS Word. Why do they ...
33
votes
10answers
13k views

What are your thoughts on epigraphs in theses?

I am wondering if there is a general consensus as to the suitability of epigraphs in a thesis, either a single one at the start of the document, or an appropriate quote to begin every chapter. For ...
33
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are small fonts the norm in research papers?

Is it just me or are the published articles a strain on the eyes in general? Has there been(/shouldn't there be) a study on optimal font sizes for reading?
32
votes
6answers
16k views

Is there a convention on how to write pseudocode in scientific papers?

I've found questions answering where or when to write pseudocode in scientific papers, but I haven't found any addressing any sort of convention for pseudocode, such as syntax, what type of symbols or ...
32
votes
2answers
14k views

How to display your own name in publications list when you are a middle-author on a publication with a large number of authors?

My Name is among tens of authors of a paper on global health. For the purpose of my CV update, I need to show my name without showing the names of all authors of the paper. My preferred style ...
30
votes
8answers
75k views

How should I fill the "First name" and "Last name" in an application if I have two given names and two last names?

How should I fill this information if I have more than one given name and more than one last name? For example, if my name is Juan Eduardo González Rodríguez. I have 2 given names: "Juan" ...
29
votes
6answers
31k views

When and why should you write numbers less than 10 in words?

My current strategy in my thesis and in papers is to write numbers less than 10 in words. For example, if I need to write the number 6, I write 'six'. Recently though, I've been thinking this strategy ...
29
votes
4answers
26k views

Are there any guidelines for labeling axes in plots/graphs?

What are best practices (if any exist) for labeling axes in plots/graphs for academic documents, such as theses, publications, or presentations? Possible options are to use the variable, spell out ...
29
votes
7answers
12k views

Is it advisable to have many clickable hyperlinks in an academic CV?

I have recently been updating my academic CV. I realise that some items are not as internationally recognised as to that every reader will be aware of their importance without googling them. Hence, I ...
28
votes
5answers
16k views

Should there be a space between a value and the units used?

When preparing a technical report or paper, is it better (more readable, more common) to use a space between each value and the units for it, or no space? With space: 10 mA Without space: 10mA
26
votes
4answers
150k views

What is the standard/recommended font to use in papers?

I looked around but did not find that anyone has asked this before, but what are the fonts that are standard/recommended while writing academic reports/papers?
26
votes
4answers
10k views

The advantage of EPS over PDF? And why so many journals ask for EPS alone?

I have been curious about why so many journals only accept EPS for vector graphs rather than PDF. It is indeed weird because these journals have to convert EPS figures to PDF anyway. Adobe also ...
25
votes
7answers
2k views

When to use a table vs. a plot to present numeric information?

I find that in many cases, either a table or a plot will do an equally good job of presenting numeric information. Does anyone have any advice or even rules about when to prefer using a table over a ...
24
votes
6answers
6k views

Why do strict designs of theses exist?

Why do many universities require strict format on theses, when the most important thing in them is the content? A beautiful design will make a good thesis better, and a bad one worse. The work can be ...
24
votes
6answers
4k views

Difficulty reading scientific papers in two columns

It sounds stupid, but I came to realize that it's significantly more difficult for me to read scientific papers when they are typeset in two columns than papers in which the text appears in one column....
22
votes
6answers
6k views

Why do some journal proofs insert dozens of typesetting mistakes? [closed]

Why do some journals change the final software and do not provide a template for the final draft(e.g. contains the same font as in the gallery proof)? I often hear that some of my colleagues get ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

Why do journals reformat your submissions?

When submitting to (computer science) conferences, you usually have full control over the layout and are able to submit a camera-ready version that will be published as submitted. For journals, ...
22
votes
2answers
12k views

Publishing figures: Serif or Sans-serif fonts?

Whenever I am creating figures for publication, I often wonder if I should be using a serif or sans-serif font. I browse the journals in my field and notice that there is no standard, just chaos. I ...
20
votes
8answers
2k views

What kind of design freedom can you permit yourself in academic writing?

In scholarly journals, or publicising in certain magazines you are expected to hold true to a certain design pattern and citation style. However, when publishing your own work independently you are ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do US universities have strict formatting requirements for dissertations?

Recently, I got a mildly panicked email from a friend/collaborator who was preparing the final manuscript of his thesis. He had just noticed that page numbers were a fraction of an inch closer to the ...
19
votes
6answers
5k views

Why do theoretical computer science people use Comic Sans in their slides?

I have no data to back up this observation, but it's something I have noticed consistently in research talks and teaching material: People from the theoretical CS community seem to use Comic Sans a ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

Advantages to article submission in LaTeX from the publisher's side

Many journals in my field accept both Word and LaTeX formats for article submission. From the publisher's point of view, what are the advantages of using the LaTeX format for submission? Do ...
17
votes
7answers
12k views

Color CV vs black and white CV

I see most people use a black and white academic CV. Will it be any problem if I use a color CV like this template, which is mostly monochrome but uses blue in some places. (I am applying for ...
17
votes
3answers
8k views

Is Excel-generated chart acceptable for publication? [closed]

I have always wondered, why it seems I have never seen people using excel-generated charts for publishing. Is excel considered less professional/not serious? Say I have a time-series like this. What ...
17
votes
3answers
5k views

Are itemized lists discouraged in scientific papers?

From my experience in biology (by experience I mean reading other papers), it seems that there is an unspoken rule that itemized lists do not belong in the body text of a paper. I have almost never ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

Why are small cap and old style numerals not used in technical writing?

According to the de facto standard book for typography, The Elements of Typographic Style, when we write abbreviations with 2 or more letters like SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope), small cap should ...
17
votes
7answers
44k views

Proper way to format computer code included in a thesis/dissertation

I intend to include my computational model code(s) in its entirety as an appendix in my dissertation. I've gone through my university's formatting guidelines and haven't seen anything on the proper ...
16
votes
6answers
4k views

How can I digitally typeset math? [closed]

I want to digitally publish a document which includes mathematical equations – including symbols for integration, summation, etc. This isn’t possible in MS Office or Notepad, which makes things ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

Monochrome vs grayscale in scientific journals?

Many scientific journals accept only black & white articles. Does this mean that only monochrome (black and white only) articles or also grayscale (gray is OK) article are OK? The same question ...
16
votes
2answers
812 views

When to use inline versus displayed equations in a publication?

On a publication (thesis, paper, other), when should I write an equation inline and when should it be separated and numbered from the text? I've seen publications containing both styles, but I don't ...
15
votes
6answers
5k views

Why do some Elsevier journals use a single column format?

I believe that the majority of Elsevier journals use a standard dual column document class. However, some journals that are owned by Elsevier use an alternative single column format (e.g. J. Comput. ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

What can be done about a terrible galley proof of my accepted paper, which would be a lot of effort to correct? [duplicate]

Recently my paper was accepted in one of the best computer science journals in Elsevier. In less than 12 hours, I received the galley proof of the paper. Initially, I was surprised at the speed of ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it acceptable to include footnotes in mathematical proofs?

When writing a technical article that includes mathematical proofs: Is it acceptable to have footnotes within the body of a formal proof (to elaborate/clarify non-essential points) or is the use of ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

When shall one write a mathematical expression as a separate line in a paper/Ph.D. thesis? [duplicate]

When do we write a mathematical expression on a separate line, and when do we write it inline with the text? I believe that the answer is the same for researching papers and Ph.D. theses, or maybe ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

Academic publishing: why placing figures on top/bottom of pages in single-column layout?

When you turn in a manuscript to an academic publisher, they may insist (referring to their style guide and publication process) that all figures are placed on top/bottom of the manuscript's pages ...
12
votes
3answers
17k views

Reporting yet-to-be completed graduate study on CV

I am currently enrolled as a graduate student and am working towards my PhD. I need to update my CV and was wondering how others reported ongoing graduate study when the completion date was uncertain. ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

Number formatting: use of digit separators in manuscripts

I am reading through a manuscript that I am co-authoring with a colleague and I noticed that it used digit separators/marks for all the numbers (i.e. 2,500 instead of 2500). Maybe it's just me but I ...
11
votes
2answers
10k views

What is the advantage of the two-column journal format?

I am a mathematician whose work often connects with physics, so I often have to read papers in physics journals. I find that the two-column format popular with physics journals annoying, and based on ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Choosing between MS Word, PDF, and latex formats when submitting a manuscript for publication when all are allowed?

I've been working on an article, and for ease of collaboration among co-authors and advisers I have used Google Docs thus far, so I'll likely need to do at least a little post-formatting once in .doc ...

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