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Artwork Guidelines

The following overview provides guidance generally applicable to the preparation of artwork for publishing a journal article with leading scientific publishers. Applying these guidelines will speed up the production of your paper and minimize the risk of problems occurring in the publication process.

The quality of the illustrations in scientific journals largely depends on the quality of the illustrations provided by the authors. Therefore upon manuscript submission to scientific journal, authors are asked to provide images in a suitable format. Basically, there are two types of files in computer graphics – raster and vector. In short, raster graphics are of a fixed dimensions and resolution in which image is represented using the location and color value of each pixel, while in vector graphics the image is represented in a mathematical way using geometrical shapes. In the world of science there are several different raster and vector image formats in use, each of which has its own particular advantages and should be selected depending on the publisher preferences, indicated in the tables below.

All raster images are resolution dependent, where the term resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image and is usually stated as dpi (dots per inch). The more pixels there are the sharper the final image will be. However, there are minimum acceptable resolutions values required by publishers for photos, combination images (photographs with labeling) and monochrome artwork.

Vector images are generally resolution independent, so there are virtually no limits to scaling for line art as long as the line weights are properly selected. Line specifications presented below are recommended vector line art as well as for combinations artwork.

It is a good practice to submit artwork at its final size so that reduction is not required. Therefore, you should design your figures so that the graphical components fit within specified constraints. If you create figures that are larger than this size, the journal will reduce their size and parts of the figure may become unreadable. Please refer to table below to determine the size at which figures are reproduced by various publishers.

If the image is not provided at the required resolution and size, it would appear unclear and blurry in the final article.

To ensure that the published version matches your electronic source file as closely as possible either in print or online, make sure that you use recommended fonts. Moreover, text in figures shouldn't be smaller than values provided in the table below. This is particularly important because a huge fraction of a journal audience accesses manuscripts via notebooks, tablets, or smart phones.

To enable publisher to easily identify author source files, ensure that requested data are reflected in the file name.

Note, that color figure reproduction for both online and in print may not be provided free of charge. Some journals offer a limited number of free color pages within the annual page allowance. In this case, it is reasonable to restrict the use of color to situations where it is necessary from the scientific point of view. If there is no free color allowance, authors are required to pay the requisite charges. Contact an intended journal editorial office for current rates. Unless explicit arrangements have been made with the editor, you will be charged for color reproduction if your figure contains any color at all.

The following links introduce and explain in detail standards and formats for the preparation of electronic artwork for publishing a journal article with leading scientific publishers. But please be sure to view the appropriate Author Guidelines for specific information on graphics preparation to your chosen journal.

ACS (American Chemical Society) Publications
RSC (Royal Society of Chemistry) Publications - .pdf
Taylor & Francis
Nature Publishing Group
Annual Reviews
Maney Publishing

1 comment:

  1. Great page! It is extremely useful to have all this information gathered and presented like this. I have some feedback on the tables on this page in particular. It is difficult to distinguish between red and green dots in the tables, and I generally don't have a problem separating red and green. Using a different symbol for one of the colors would make the tables even more helpful. Thank you.