Correspondence | Published:

Publishing

Journals, agree on manuscript format

Nature volume 540, page 525 (22 December 2016) | Download Citation

Subjects

An 'incorrectly' formatted manuscript submission risks immediate bounceback by the authors' chosen journal, irrespective of the value of its content. In my view, it would save time and frustration if the scientific community could agree on a uniform style for all journals.

There is no inherent advantage in customized formatting of references, for example, whether cited as F. R. Smith, P. Y. Young and G. T. Jones J. Interest. Sci. 2016, 85, 6700–6782, or as Smith, FR, Young, PY, Jones, GT (2016) J. Interest. Sci. 85: 6700–6782, or using other arbitrary variants in style and positioning of initials, year of publication and page span.

Research papers in the natural sciences are typically presented under the headings Abstract, Introduction, Methodology, Results, Discussion, Conclusions. Some journals do not use Abstract or Introduction headings; some put the Methodology section after the rest. No journal so far puts the title at the end of the paper.

Journals presumably insist on individual formatting styles as a distinguishing feature. I see no scientific merit in doing so. Cosmetic treatments should instead be reserved for enhancing the clarity of a manuscript's content.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. University of Birmingham, UK.

    • Quanmin Guo

Authors

  1. Search for Quanmin Guo in:

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Quanmin Guo.

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/540525d

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing