Demystifying the article production process

Congratulations, your paper has been accepted into a journal! What happens next? Peter Moorby, Production Editor for Cambridge Journals, helps demystify the article production process and explain what happens from submission to final publication.

Part of what makes journal publishing so interesting is that each journal has its own quirks and characteristics, but papers normally follow the same general process:

Receipt of files
We receive your manuscript and source files from the journal’s editorial office. Increasingly this is via electronic peer-review and submission systems, which can connect directly to the tracking systems which help us manage the production process.

Your manuscript is edited for journal style, consistency and grammatical errors. You might be contacted by the copyeditor at this stage to resolve any unclear sentences or other queries, or these may recorded on your proof. For some journals, copyediting is done by the editorial office; for others, we outsource this and choose copyeditors based on their subject/language expertise.

Your copyedited paper is sent to the typesetters to be encoded as an XML file  which will generate the online html version, the pdf version, and the printed pages (where applicable) of your article. The content is composed into properly formatted pages, and any figures are converted for print and online reproduction. Metadata is added to the online file to make your article more visible to search engines and to give the correct information to indexing services.

The proofs of your paper are sent to you by email alert (and also to the editors, copyeditors and other proofreaders – depending on the journal). For the majority of cases this will be your only chance to correct your proof, so please check through it carefully! The first page of the proofs will give instructions on where to return your corrections, as this will differ.

Your corrections will be collated by the copyeditor, editor, publisher or the typesetters. After your proof has been revised by the typesetter, it will be checked to ensure all corrections have been made.

Depending on the journal, your article will be published
• when the editors select it for an issue
• or it will be published ‘FirstView’ on Cambridge Journals Online as soon as it has been corrected.

For issue publication, the editorial office supply a running order at which point the cover is created, all the articles are collected together and final page numbers are added.

In both cases you will receive an automated email alert with a link to a pdf copy of your article.

Top tips

We aim to produce your paper according to our high standards with the maximum speed, accuracy and efficiency. Here are some common issues and how to avoid them!

Figure quality and format
To ensure the optimum quality for print and online publication, we have guidelines on how you should submit your figures. Please also refer to the journal’s instructions for contributors as these may list additional requirements for figures. Following these guidelines will avoid delays later on.

Checking author names on proofs
The distinction between surnames can be ambiguous, therefore the typesetters will highlight surnames on your proof. Please check they have been correctly identified, that all names are spelt correctly and are in the correct order. This information is used for indexing purposes, such as PubMed entries, and unfortunately it is not always possible to correct this after publication.

Transfer of copyright / licence to publish
As part of the publication process, you will need to complete a transfer of copyright form or licence to publish (download from the journal homepage on Cambridge journals online). There are separate forms if you wish to publish Open Access. To avoid delays to publication, please ensure you complete this form and return according to the instructions on the form, as we cannot publish your paper without it.

Related Links

Production FAQ

Open Access Publishing at Cambridge

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