My first paper has been accepted for publication recently, and I was instructed to send the .tex source code based on one of the two templates available on the journal website.

This was painful, both in styling as well in practices. For example, I am using \nameref through and through my paper, but the template did not include that. Seeing how this is part of a reasonable common package I wasn't that worried, but I am still somewhat worried that they will request that I remove that and change all those to hand-written names (perhaps with \ref instead or so).

But on the other hand, I also use a custom multi-parameter macro based on xparse (i.e., it has a mandatory argument and an optional one). This part really worries me, that they will request that I edit that one out. It's not a huge hassle, the paper is not that long and I suppose that I could do it in an hour of work.

However I feel that there is a lesson to be learned here.

How do you prepare your preprints?

  • Do you have a single-file template that you pass from one paper to another, and accumulate new commands and so on (which is a good thing because it allows you to decide to change some things without damaging previously written papers)?

  • Do you have a multiple-file template passing from one paper to another, again accumulating new commands and so on (which is also good, but can be slightly more painful when preparing a file for publication)?

  • Do you have a different habit?

I am aware that this question might be slightly off topic, but I am quite familiar with writing LaTeX code (e.g., I go insane with every warning); but I am new to writing papers that make it to publication. Also, I'd love to get some input and suggestion from more experienced people than me.

  • Welcome to TeX.SX! You can have a look at our starter guide to familiarize yourself further with our format. Unless I'm missing something, your question seems to apply to document preparation in general, not just preprints. Related: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/116275/… – jub0bs Dec 23 '13 at 1:19
  • No. This is more specific than that. It concerns the preparation of documents which will, in the end, have to be turned over to a publisher who insists on X, Y and Z and how to minimise the pain involved in transforming them. – cfr Dec 23 '13 at 3:07
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    Actually, I think you are extremely lucky: your publisher accepts LaTeX. The problem I typically face is converting them to MSWord despite not owning a copy of the programme (or an OS I could run it on if I did). I do think it is worth asking whether you are relying on highly customised stuff you'll have to undo. If a script can "normalise" it, fine. O/w, ask if you really want to use it. There are utility scripts which can help prepare code for this kind of case. You might find one of those useful or be able to adapt one. If a script can replace your custom macros, it is only a moment's work. – cfr Dec 23 '13 at 3:08
  • If I understand your posting correctly, your're also looking for advice on how to organize your document's preamble in a way that makes it fairly straightforward to switch between your preferred layout and that required by various journals. If so, please have a look at the posting Best practice on organising your preamble. Once you have a well-organized "default preamble", it should be fairly straightforward to comment out various parts and insert instructions provided by the journal(s) in question. – Mico Dec 23 '13 at 9:12
  • @cfr: That's a standard in any reputable math journal, I think. Not even top tier. In fact, I don't know any mathematician who would submit to a MSWord-only-submissions journal. – Math PhD Student Dec 23 '13 at 22:08

Before I answer your question, let me undulge in a short rant.

I have been on both sides in this process: as an author I submit manuscripts to publishers, as a TeX consultant I sometimes help the editors to deal with the manuscript. This helps me to better understand the position of the editors and the publishers.

The authors' use of non-standard packages and self-written macros is a huge pain in the neck. More often than not these packages interfere with the publishers' programs for indexing, combining the papers into issues etc. The authors' ideas about typesetting are almost always wrong. As a TeX programmer I spend days making the spacing just right - and then some author puts \vspace*{12mm} - and all my hard work is for naught.

Thus I always recommend the publishers to make a list of acceptable packages - and firmly reject the ones not in the list. Otherwise it is just too expensive to clean the manuscript. Many publishers just stop accepting TeX manuscirpts because of this - TeX is too flexible and easy to abuse.

So as an author I start with asking, what are the requirements for the journal. In the papers intended for "normal" publication (as opposite to internal white papers or camera ready editions) I try to minimize the use of non-standard packages or my own macros. Good editors (Emacs, for example) can easily convert these macros to text. Also, it helps to read the documentation for the journal styles: they often recommend the "right way" to do things.

Usually it does not take too much time to convert a tex file for the given journal.

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    I agree — out of politeness to the one who must process your text, it's best to minimise the indulgences that usually make (La)TeX such a pleasure to write. Sadly :) – Will Robertson Dec 23 '13 at 6:15
  • I totally agree. On the other hand, a lot of journals have really old templates that include stuff that definitely should not be used any more. So it is also their responsibility. – daleif Dec 23 '13 at 9:49
  • at least some publishers accept or reject a manuscript on the basis of content, without sometimes even knowing whether or not it was produced with (la)tex. if it proves too difficult to convert to the required publication style, the manuscript is returned to the author with a choice: convert it to acceptable form, or the publisher will rekey it (often by an outside contractor) with all the attendant problems that brings. so, do read the publisher's instructions; they're provided for a purpose. – barbara beeton Dec 23 '13 at 13:56
  • Thank you. Needless to say, I don't stick unneeded spacing commands. I'll fire an email to the editor and ask. In your experience, is there an issue with hyperref and aliascnt? – Math PhD Student Dec 23 '13 at 22:09

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