Author guidelines for IOP journals

At IOP Publishing our commitment is to streamlined and efficient processes for article submission and publication, fair and impartial peer review, high standards of author service and high standards in publication ethics and scientific quality. Here we provide comprehensive guidelines covering everything from choosing the right journal, writing and submitting your article, right the way through to what happens after publication.

These general guidelines apply to all IOP owned journals and some partner journals. To see guidelines specific to individual journals, please see Instructions for specific journals.

Download these guidelines as a PDF

Step by step guide

1

Choosing the right journal for your work

It may be tempting to begin writing a paper before giving much thought to where it might be published. However we explain here the importance of choosing the right journal first and the key factors to consider.

It may be tempting to begin writing a paper before giving much thought to where it might be published. However, choosing a journal to target before you begin to prepare your paper will enable you to tailor your writing to the journal’s audience. It will also enable you to format your paper according to any specific guidelines, which you may find on the journal’s website. This may save you a lot of time and effort in the long run. Some of the key factors to consider when trying to choose the right journal for your work are:

Peer review service

Peer review is considered a stamp of quality from the research community. It is important to consider whether a journal is published by a reputable and trustworthy publisher who provides a rigorous peer review service (as IOP Publishing does for all its journals). If fast publication is important to you, you may also wish to check with the publisher the publication times for the journal you are considering.

Relevance/audience

You should browse published articles in the journal to establish whether the journal publishes similar papers to the one you are preparing. Check whether your peers publish in the journal. It may also help to review the make-up of the Editorial Board to see if it contains senior researchers in your field.

Scope

The scope may be found on the journal homepage. It is important to consider whether your work fits within the scientific scope of the journal and the topics covered. Also consider whether the journal is broad in its scope or a specialist journal read mainly by a particular community, as this will affect the way that you write your paper. Another consideration is the article types the journal publishes. For example, some work is best suited to the shorter ‘Letter’ format, while other work may suit the longer ‘Paper’ format.

Reputation

You should consider the reputation of the journal in its field and whether it is considered to be of high quality. Also, you should think about whether it is widely read by your peers. Reputation is often based on impact factor, which is a measure of the average citations of papers published in the journal. High impact factor journals may have high rejection rates, so in choosing a suitable journal you should consider just how significant your research findings are.

Indexing

You should check whether the journal is indexed in the major online databases such as Web of Science or Scopus (this is generally the case for all IOP journals). Indexing increases the visibility and discoverability of the work, and may indicate a trusted journal. For our journals, this information can be found under ‘Abstracted in’ on the journal homepages.

Language

Most international journals publish papers written in English. You should consider the language requirements of the journal, and whether you will need to have your paper checked by a native English speaker. IOP journals offer authors a language editing service.

Cost

The journal website should inform you of any fees that you may be charged, and you should consider whether your institution or funder will be able to cover the charge if there is one. For example, charges may apply for colour figures or for publishing your paper on a (gold) open access basis.

Publishing model: open access or subscription?

The cost of publishing a paper can be paid for in a number of ways. Traditionally, libraries and other institutions pay a subscription fee to receive individual journals or collections of titles for their researchers. This is known as the subscription model and, as an author, you usually do not have to pay a fee to publish a paper in a subscription journal. You may however incur a page charge for some journals or be charged for colour figures.

The (gold) open access publishing model allows published papers to be freely available for anyone to read. This means that authors, research institutions or funding organizations may fund the costs of publishing. In return, authors ensure that everyone can access their work. If you wish to submit for (gold) open access publication (most journals published by IOP Publishing offer this option) always check with your institution to ensure that there are funds available to cover the article processing charges.

As part of our service to authors, IOP Publishing offers a free article transfer service with each of our journals. If your submission to your initial journal of choice is unsuccessful, we may suggest another one of our titles for you to consider, which we believe is a more suitable home for your research. If you accept this suggestion, we will transfer all information relating to your article to the new journal (including referee reports if available), so your submission can be considered for publication by the new journal without delay.

2

Writing your journal article

If you are thinking of writing an article for submission to a journal published by IOP Publishing, please read this section first. It may save you time formatting your article and improve your chances of being published.

IOP Publishing (IOP) considers for publication in our journals articles that:

1

Report original science and add significantly to research already published

2

Are of interest to the community

3

Are scientifically rigorous

4

Have sound motivation and purpose

5

Have not been published previously in the peer reviewed literature

6

Are not under consideration for publication in any other peer reviewed journal or book available through a library or by purchase

7

Comply with our preprint pre-publication policy (see below), and

8

Comply with our ethical policy.

It is particularly important for you to consider whether you have enough new results before starting to plan and write a paper for submission to an IOP journal. Reporting incremental steps forward from previous work is usually not sufficient.

Articles based on theses for higher degrees may be submitted. You should take care to ensure that such articles are prepared in the format of a research paper, which is more concise than is appropriate for a thesis.

Articles reporting work that was originally presented at a conference may be submitted, provided these articles do not appear in substantially the same form in a peer reviewed, published conference proceeding. Again, you should ensure the format of a research paper is used. The article length should also be appropriate to the content.  In case of doubt, please enquire with the relevant journal.

Reports that are not available to the general public are not regarded by IOP as prior publications. Many journals published by IOP consider a range of different article types in addition to regular research papers, including special issue articles, topical reviews, comments and replies. However, please check via the journal homepage that your article is of an acceptable article type and suitable scope before submission.

All articles are judged solely on their scientific merits. Unbiased consideration is given to all manuscripts offered for publication, regardless of whether or not the authors request publication on a gold open access basis and regardless of the race, gender, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, political philosophy, sexual orientation, age or reputation of the authors.

We treat all submitted articles as confidential until they are published and they will only be shared with those referees, board members, editors and IOP staff who are directly involved in the peer review of the article. (An exception to this would be if it is felt necessary to share the article with additional external parties in order to investigate a possible breach of the ethical policy.)

IOP journals will consider articles which have already been:

1

Posted as a Preprint on the following sites, provided that (i) you did not and do not transfer (assign) ownership of its copyright, (ii) you did not and do not grant an exclusive licence to it, and (iii) it is not made available under any open access or Creative Commons Licence:

  • arXiv/bioRxiv;
  • other non-commercial subject-based preprint servers or repositories;
  • Scientific Social Networks that have endorsed the STM voluntary principles for article sharing;
  • your Personal Website and/or;
  • your company/institutional repository

2

Included in a thesis or dissertation, provided (i) it has not been and will not be published commercially, (ii) you did not and do not transfer (assign) ownership of its copyright, (iii) you did not and do not grant an exclusive licence to it, and (iv) it is not made available under any open access or Creative Commons Licence.

Posting of the Preprint on any other site(s) (e.g. on ResearchGate), or any other use of the Preprint, is considered pre-publication and in such circumstances an article will not be considered for publication in one of our journals.

All papers should be written in English.

Writing

Articles should be clearly and concisely written, and be accessible to an international audience. It is important to avoid colloquial terms and sayings that may not be widely understood.  Short sentences and paragraphs make for easier reading. You should aim for consistency within your article in matters such as hyphenation and spelling. All acronyms and abbreviations should be clearly explained when they first appear in the text. Introduce any ideas that may be unfamiliar to readers early in the paper so that your results can be easily understood.

Editing

On completion of the first draft, carefully re-read your paper and make any amendments that will improve the content. When complete, send the paper to colleagues and co-authors, and use their feedback to improve the clarity of the text. When all co-authors are satisfied that the draft is ready to be submitted to a journal, carry out one final spelling and grammar check before submission.

If you are a non-native English speaker, it is important to get help from a fluent English speaker before submitting. IOP Editing Services, in partnership with Editage, provides editorial support if you need it. You can choose from a range of options, including:

  • English-language editing
  • Translation services
  • Plagiarism checking
  • Technical review.

Visit our language editing service to find out more.

When you submit to a journal you will be asked to select an article type for your manuscript. The most common article types are (see individual journal sites for variations and further available article types):

Paper
Reports of high-quality original research with conclusions representing a significant advance in the field
Letter
Outstanding concise articles, reporting important, new and timely developments. These articles should be deserving of priority review, and you are required to upload a justification statement along with your submission
Special issue article
Invited articles, which will form a special collection of papers on a specific theme. When asked to select 'Article Type' on the submission system, please select 'Special Issue Article'. Then select the special issue you're submitting to in the drop down box that appears
Topical review
Written by leading researchers in their fields, these articles present the background to and overview of a particular field, and the current state of the art. Topical review articles are normally invited by the Editorial Board
Comment
Comment or criticism on work previously published in the journal. These are usually published with an associated Reply.
Corrigendum
An article to correct an omission or error in an author’s article.

You can format your paper in the way that you choose! It is not necessary to try to produce pages that look like published journal pages, as the detailed design (typesetting) work will be undertaken by IOP as part of the production process.

If you would prefer to work from a template, we do provide this for both LaTeX and Word.

LaTeX template
Word template

When submitting a new article, we only require you to upload a single PDF file (and any relevant supplementary data). The PDF should contain your complete manuscript, including any embedded figures and tables.

We do ask that you consider the readability for referees when formatting your manuscript. For example, please use a reasonable font size (at least 10 point) and line spacing. There is no need for you to include line numbers in your manuscript as these will automatically be added on submission. Figures and tables should be embedded at the appropriate point within the text, rather than placed at the end of the manuscript. Papers must be written in English.

Need help formatting your paper?

IOP Editing Services, in partnership with Editage, also provides formatting and artwork services if you would like help preparing your paper for submission.

 

Most journals have guidelines for the maximum recommended length for each different type of article (see Instructions for specific journals). It is important that you check these guidelines when preparing your submission. Articles that are longer than the length limit may still be considered for publication, provided the length is clearly justified by the scientific content.

You should consider the best way to structure your article before you begin writing. If you wish to use a LaTeX template to format your manuscript (this is optional, you are not obliged to do so) then the files are available in zipped format and Unix tar gzipped format here. Your article should follow the Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion system, and usually consist of the following sections:

Title
The title should be concise, informative and meaningful to the whole readership of the journal. It should include key terms, to help make it more discoverable when people search online. Please avoid the use of long systemic names and non-standard or obscure abbreviations, acronyms or symbols.
Authors
List all authors' full names and institutions. Authors in all IOP journals have the option to include names in Chinese, Japanese or Korean characters in addition to the English name. The names will be displayed in parentheses after the English name. We recommend you supply ORCID identifiers for all authors to avoid ambiguity. If an author's current address is different from the address where the work was carried out, this should be explained in a footnote. Note: this only applies if you are submitting to a single-blind review journal. If you are submitting to a double-blind journal, please do not include any author-identifying information in your manuscript.
Keywords
When you submit an article, you will be asked to supply some keywords relevant to your work. If your article is accepted for publication, we will display these keywords on the published article, and they will be used to index your article, helping to make it more discoverable. When choosing keywords, think about the kinds of terms you would use when searching online for related articles.
Abstract
Your abstract should give readers a brief summary of your article. It should concisely describe the contents of your article, and include key terms (especially in the first two sentences, to increase search engine discoverability). It should be informative, accessible and not only indicate the general scope of the article but also state the main results obtained and conclusions drawn. The abstract should be complete in itself; it should not contain undefined acronyms/abbreviations and no table numbers, figure numbers, references or equations should be referred to. It should be suitable for direct inclusion in abstracting services and should not normally be more than 300 words. Some journals ask for abstracts to follow a particular structure. Check the instructions for specific journals to see if you need to submit a structured abstract.
Introduction
This should be concise and describe the nature of the problem under investigation and its background. It should also set your work in the context of previous research, citing relevant references. Introductions should expand on highly specialized terms and abbreviations used in the article to make it accessible for readers.
Methods
This section should provide sufficient details of the experiment, simulation, statistical test or analysis carried out to generate the results such that the method can be repeated by another researcher and the results reproduced.
Results
The results section should detail the main findings and outcomes of your study. You should use tables only to improve conciseness or where the information cannot be given satisfactorily in other ways such as histograms or graphs. Tables should be numbered serially and referred to in the text by number (table 1, etc.). Each table should have an explanatory caption which should be as concise as possible.
Discussion
This should discuss the significance of the results and compare them with previous work using relevant references.
Conclusion
This section should be used to highlight the novelty and significance of the work, and any plans for future relevant work.
Acknowledgments
All authors and co-authors are required to disclose any potential conflict(s) of interest when submitting an article (e.g. employment, consulting fees, research contracts, stock ownership, patent licences, honoraria, advisory affiliations, etc). This information should be included in an acknowledgments section at the end of the manuscript (before the references section). All sources of financial support for the project must also be disclosed in the acknowledgments section. The name of the funding agency and the grant number should be given, for example: This work was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through a National Cancer Institute grant R21CA141833. When completing the online submission form, we also ask you to select funders and provide grant numbers in order to help you meet your funder requirements.

If you need more information or guidance, please contact the journal to which you are submitting.

LaTeX guidelines and class file

The text of articles may be submitted in any common variant of TeX including LaTeX2e, REVTeX, AmSTeX, AmSLaTeX and plain TeX (including pdfTeX/pdfLaTeX). A LaTeX2e class file together with full documentation is available to help authors prepare articles for consideration by IOP journals. Though it is not necessary to format your paper in this way or to use this class file, using the IOP class file may help to speed the publication of accepted articles. Note that there is an incompatibility between amsmath.sty and iopart.cls. If your article relies on commands in amsmath.sty that are not available in iopart.cls, you may wish to consider using a different class file.

The files are available in zipped format and Unix tar gzipped format:

ioplatexguidelines

ioplatexguidelines.tar

Need help preparing your LaTeX file?

IOP Editing Services, in partnership with Editage, provides high quality language editing for LaTeX documents, performed by our certified language editors. This service ensures that your research document is error free, concise, and professional. Our editors review your writing, giving you the confidence that you are submitting your very best work. Reap the benefits of producing an academic document in LaTeX, and let our experts handle the challenges.

Our professional LaTeX editors will improve your writing by:

  • Ensuring correct spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • Enhancing academic tone and language
  • Suggesting improvements and clarity
  • Improving flow and structure, while preserving your unique voice
  • Retaining your markup

For more information (including pricing), please visit IOP Editing.

Though it is not necessary to format your paper in this way or to use this file, using this template may help to speed the publication of accepted articles. If you intend to submit to one of our double-blind peer review journals, please do not put your name and contact information on the manuscript.

Please use the most appropriate template (.docx or .doc) for the version of Microsoft Word or Office you are using.

Download the Word template (.docx)

Download the Word template (.doc)

Carefully chosen and well-prepared figures, such as diagrams and photographs, can greatly enhance your article. You are encouraged to prepare figures that are clear, easy to read and of the best possible quality and resolution.

Figures are converted and sized to the journal template as part of the production process for accepted articles, but they are not normally edited further. It is your responsibility to ensure that the figures you supply are legible and technically correct. Micrographs should include a scale bar of appropriate size, e.g. 1 μm.

Characters should appear as they would be set in the main body of the article.

Figures should be numbered in the order in which they are referred to in the text.

If there is more than one part to a figure (e.g. figure 1(a), figure 1(b) etc.), the parts should be identified by a lower-case letter in parentheses close to or within the area of the figure.

File types

For articles prepared using LaTeX2e, please make sure that your figures are all supplied as vector Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) and linked to your main TeX files using appropriate figure inclusion commands such as \includegraphics. For articles prepared using Word, where possible please also supply all figures as separate graphics files (in addition to being embedded in the text). Our preferred graphics format is EPS. These files can be used directly to give high-quality results, and file sizes are small in comparison with most bitmap forms.

If you are unable to send us images in EPS, we can also accept:

  • TIFF
  • JPEG
  • PDF (and images embedded within PDF files)
  • Images/drawings coded using TeX/LaTeX package
  • Images/figures embedded in MS Word, Excel or PowerPoint
  • Graphics application source files (Photoshop, Illustrator, CorelDraw).

Vector formats

The advantage of vector graphics is that they give the best possible quality at all output resolutions. In order to get the best possible results, please note the following important points:

  • Fonts used should be restricted to the standard font families (Times, Helvetica, Courier or Symbol)
  • Certain proprietary vector graphics formats such as Origin, Kaleidagraph, Cricket Graph and Gnu Plot should not be sent in their native format. If you do use these applications to create your figures, please export them as EPS.

Permissions

Note that it is also your responsibility to obtain written permission from the copyright holder for any figures you have reused from elsewhere. This will also include any figures that you created yourself but have previously been published by another publisher, unless that publisher allows you to reuse them without permission under their author rights policy. Check individual publisher’s policies for details. Many scientific, technical and medical publishers use RightsLink to grant permission. Information on how to request permission can usually be found on the website of each publisher. For further information about permissions and when permission is required, please see the Permissions section.

Figure captions

Captions should be included in the text and not in the graphics files. Figure captions should contain relevant key terms and be self-contained (avoiding acronyms) so that a reader can understand the figure without having to refer to the text. Figure captions should also reference the source of the figure if the figure has been reused from elsewhere.

Colour figures

The use of colour in figures can enhance the effective presentation of results, and there are no restrictions on the use of colour in the online version of your article. However, please note that readers of the journal may download and print out on a black-and-white printer, which may make coloured lines difficult to distinguish.

Unless you are submitting to one of our online-only journals, please note that because conventional full-colour printing remains an expensive process, we usually ask you (or your institution) to pay the additional costs incurred (i.e. the costs over and above the cost of normal black-on-white reproduction) if you require colour in the printed version of your article. There is no charge for colour in the online version of an article.

The price for colour print is £250 per figure, capped at £2000 per article. If you would like your figures to be reproduced in colour in the printed journal, please let us know who will be responsible for paying the additional costs, and supply the relevant VAT number (if appropriate) and purchase order number (if necessary).

Need help with your figures?

IOP Editing Services, in partnership with Editage, can help to check and refine all technical aspects of your artwork to adhere to journal requirements, including resolution, colour and image and file size. Find out more about our figure preparation services.

IOPscience allows inline presentation of multimedia files within journal articles, with videos, animations or sound files that are supplied by authors as part of the main article treated as figures (please note that multimedia files must not include any music). Multimedia figures are represented in the PDF by a static image with appropriate caption. In the HTML the same image and caption are displayed, readers can click/tap the image to play the multimedia file inline.

If a figure has more than one multimedia file, there must be a separate image for each file (e.g. parts a and b for a figure with two videos). This is necessary so that the files both display in the HTML.

Technical specifications

We strongly recommend video files be delivered in the MPEG-4 container, encoded with the H264 codec. Other formats may be provided, but using MPEG-4 will provide the most faithful rendering of your video in the HTML journal article.

Video files should be a maximum of 10 MB file size each. Exceptions can be made in cases where larger files are essential for the science being presented.

Recommended settings:

  • Frame rate: 15 frames s-1
  • Frame size: 480 x 360 pixels
  • Data rate: 150 kB s-1

Interactive figures

Authors may prepare interactive models to enhance the communication of their research. These models are treated as figures in the article. Each model is represented in the PDF by a static image with an appropriate caption. The HTML in IOPscience displays the figure and caption with a “Start interaction” button which loads the interactive model within the flow of the article.

Example images:

http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/0004-637X/818/2/115 figures 2 and 3

http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/0004-637X/819/2/113 figures 1 and 5

Interactive models should use the X3D standard. This is an open-source, XML-based format curated by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO). By using the X3DOM javascript/CSS combination, X3D models can be incorporated directly into HTML without the need for browser plug-ins. This can be downloaded at https://www.x3dom.org.

We strongly recommend the use of X3D/X3DOM but stand-alone interactive figures produced using alternative packages (such as Plotly https://plot.ly/ or Bokeh http://bokeh.pydata.org/) are also accepted.

Authors interested in using this functionality need to create and supply the interactive model and an HTML file that presents the model, along with all .JS and .CSS files used.

IOP Publishing supports the principle of reproducible research and we encourage authors to make the data underpinning their article available to editors, referees and readers without undue restriction, wherever practical, legal and ethical to do so. Authors can make small amounts of data available within the article or as supplementary material, whilst larger datasets can be deposited in an institutional or general data repository. We would encourage the use of publically-accessible repositories where available. Alternatively, authors may choose to make their data available upon request.

Data repositories and citation

Many research centres and institutions will have a repository in which authors can deposit research data, many of which can be found via the www.re3data.org website. Several general data repositories also exist, some examples of which are listed below. We recommend that authors look for a repository with robust standards for preserving its data in perpetuity.

Any data assigned a digital object identifier (DOI) by a data repository should be cited in an article’s reference list. Data citations should include the following minimum information: author(s), title, publisher (repository name), DOI.

Data availability statements

Authors can provide a data availability statement in the acknowledgements section of their article, detailing whether data is available and, if so, where it can be found (including hyperlinks where available).

General data repositories

Below is a non-exhaustive list of general data repositories. IOP Publishing does not endorse any particular repository and many other repositories are available. Authors are encouraged to deposit their research data in a repository that has been widely adopted within their research community.

IOP Publishing encourages authors to submit supplementary material at submission that will enhance the online version of a published research article and aid its discoverability. Supplementary material typically includes relevant material that does not form part of the main article, which may include additional data such as computer code, large tables, additional figures or appendices. It may also include multimedia files, such as video clips, animations or sound files, which are not suitable to form part of the main article (please note that multimedia files must not include any music). Supplementary material can include primary datasets where they fall within the file size limits outlined below. If the material is integral to the article then it should be submitted as part of the article rather than as supplementary material.

Supplementary material is not included in the PDF of the article or in any print version and does not form part of the Version of Record. As it is not considered integral to the article it is not subject to peer review and cannot be formally cited. Supplementary material is hosted for free with an article on IOPscience, in the format supplied by the author, and is accessible to the whole readership. Supplementary material is not formatted or edited by our production team, and so proofs are not provided to authors.

Files for supplementary material can be up to a maximum of 10 MB each. Authors wishing to associate larger amounts of supplementary material with their article are recommended make use of a data repository.

Authors should ensure the necessary permissions are obtained before including any third party supplementary material with their submission.

 

It is vitally important that you fully acknowledge all relevant work. You should also consult the IOP ethical policy for journals for general guidance on compiling your reference list. Please note it is not necessary to format your references in the ways shown below, however we find some authors like to have a style to work to. We will ensure your references adhere to house style during the production process, whatever format you submit them in.

A reference should give your reader enough information to locate the article concerned, and you should take particular care to ensure that the information is correct so that links to referenced articles can be made successfully. Material that is really a footnote to the text should not be included in the reference list. Copies of cited publications not yet available publicly should be submitted for the benefit of the referees. Unpublished results and lectures should be cited for exceptional reasons only. We discourage the referencing of online material hosted at web addresses that have no guarantee of perpetuity. Permanent or persistent web links should be used, as these are intended to remain unchanged for many years into the future, yielding hyperlinks that are less susceptible to ‘link rot’. Examples of acceptable links include: Digital Object Identifier (DOI), PubMed identifier (PMID), PubMed Central reference number (PMCID), SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) Bibliographic Code, and arXiv e-print number. If you have any questions regarding what constitutes an acceptable web link then please email the journal. Before submitting your article, please ensure you have conducted a literature search to check for any relevant references you may have missed.

Be sure to check on the journal homepage whether your choice of journal specifically requires page numbers, article titles or a particular reference style.

Journals

References to journal works should include:

  • Author(s): surname(s) and initial(s)
  • Year
  • Title of article (optional, but see below)
  • Standard abbreviated journal title (in italics)
  • Part of journal (e.g. A, B etc, if appropriate)
  • Volume number (in bold)
  • Page number, page range or article number

Example:

  • Cantillano C, Mukherjee S, Morales-Inostroza L, Real B, Cáceres-Aravena G, Hermann-Avigliano C, Thomson R R and Vicencio R A 2018 Observation of localized ground and excited orbitals in graphene photonic ribbons New J. Phys. 20 033028

For more than ten authors, the name of the first author should be given followed by et al.

Note that the article title is not mandatory, except for Journal of Neural Engineering (J. Neural Eng.), Measurement Science and Technology (Meas. Sci. Technol.), Physical Biology (Phys. Biol.), Physiological Measurement (Physiol. Meas.) and Physics in Medicine and Biology (Phys. Med. Biol.).

If no individual is named as the author, the reference may be by a collaborative group of authors or by a corporate body, e.g.:

  • The ASDEX Upgrade Team 2002 Theory-based modelling of ASDEX Upgrade discharges with ECH modulation Nucl. Fus. 42 L11

If a collaboration is appended to one or more authors, the name of the collaboration must come before the year, e.g.:

  • Nakamura K (Particle Data Group) 2010 J. Phys. G: Nucl. Part. Phys. 37 075021

Books

References to a book should include (mandatory):

  • Author(s)
  • Year
  • Full title (in italics, initial letter of each significant word should be capital; note that if a word is hyphenated then both parts should have initial capital letter; for example, Non-Classical Mechanics)
  • Town of publication
  • Publisher

Example:

  • Whelan C T 2018 Atomic Structure (Bristol: IOP Publishing)

References to a book may include (optional):

  • Chapter title (lower case roman; caps only for first word and proper nouns)
  • Edition (e.g. 1st edn) (if any)
  • Volume number (if any, given after the contraction ‘vol’)
  • Editor(s) (if any, initials before the surname(s) and preceded by the contraction ‘ed’ [no full point] even if more than one editor)
  • Chapter and/or page number(s) (if appropriate)

Example:

  • Leung C-W and Ng C-K 2018 Spectra of commutative non-unital Banach rings Advances in Ultrametric Analysis (Contemporary Mathematics vol 704) ed A Escassut et al (Providence, RI: American Mathematical Society) p 91

Conference proceedings

References to conference papers should include:

  • Author(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Title of conference (in italics, initial letter of each significant word should be capital)

Example:

  • Mahanta N K and Abramson A R 2012 Thermal conductivity of graphene and graphene oxide nanoplatelets 13th Intersociety Conf. on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems

References to a conference proceedings may include (optional):

  • Paper title
  • Place and date (month and/or year) of conference (in italics and within parentheses, separated by commas)
  • Volume number
  • Editors
  • Town of publication
  • Publisher
  • Page numbers/other paper designations

SPIE Proceedings, AIP Conference Proceedings and IEEE Transactions

These should be treated as journals:

  • Levin A D and Shmytkova E A 2015 Proc. SPIE 9526 95260P
  • Smith M 2004 AIP Conf Proc. 94 340–9
  • Stoffels E et al 2008 IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci. 36 1441–57

Conference series

Conference series should include the title of the conference and the title of the series but not the publisher.

The exceptions are Journal of Physics: Conference Series (J. Phys.: Conf. Ser.), IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environ. Sci.) and IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering (IOP Conf. Ser.: Mater. Sci. Eng.), which should be set as journal references, e.g.:

  • Barry R Holstein 2009 J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 173 012019
  • V V Kramarenko et al 2016 IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environ. Sci. 43 012029
  • S Adarsh et al 2016 IOP Conf. Ser.: Mater. Sci. Eng. 149 012141

Unpublished

Pre-prints

References to pre-prints should include:

  • Author(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Pre-print number

Example:

  • Jones R and Brown A 2011 arXiv:0912.1470

Accepted or submitted

References to articles that are accepted or submitted should include:

  • Author(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Standard abbreviated journal title (in italics)
  • Either ‘accepted’ or ‘submitted’

Example:

  • Jones R and Brown A 2011 Class. Quantum Grav. accepted

In preparation

References to articles that are in preparation should include:

  • Author(s)
  • Year of preparation
  • Article title
  • ‘In preparation’ (within parentheses)

Example:

  • Jones R and Brown A 2011 Class. Quantum Grav. in preparation

Reference labelling systems

There are two main systems for labelling references.

In the Vancouver numerical system, references are numbered sequentially through the text. The numbers should be given in square brackets, e.g. [1], [4-7] etc., and one number can be used to refer to several instances of the same reference. The reference list at the end of the article then lists the references in numerical order, not alphabetically.

Alternatively, in the Harvard alphabetical system, the name of the author appears in the text together with the year of publication, e.g. (Smith 2001) or Smith (2001) (as appropriate). Where there are only two authors, both names should be given in the text, e.g. (Smith and Jones 2001) or Smith and Jones (2001). However, if there are more than two authors only the first name should appear followed by et al: (Smith et al 2001) or Smith et al (2001). If you refer to different works by one author or group of authors in the same year they should be differentiated by including a, b, etc, after the date (e.g. 2001a). If you refer to different pages of the same article, the page number may be given in the text, e.g. Smith (2001, p 39). The reference list at the end of your article using this system should be in alphabetical order.

You may use either of these two systems for your references (unless you are submitting to Fluid Dynamics Research, Journal of Geophysics & Engineering, Physics in Medicine and Biology or Physiological Measurement, which require all references to be written using the Harvard alphabetical style), or Nuclear Fusion, which requires all references to be written using the Vancouver numerical system).

The guidelines below provide the essential information you need to prepare your article source files (i.e. the files that you use to create your complete PDF).

Naming your files

Please name all your files according to the following guidelines:

1

Use only characters from the set a to z, A to Z, 0 to 9 and underscore (_)

2

Do not use spaces in file names

3

Include an extension to indicate the file type (for example, .doc, .txt, .eps, etc)

4

Do not use any accented characters (for example, à, ê, ñ, ö, ý, etc) because these can cause difficulties when processing your files.

In addition to the above points, please give figure files names indicating the numbers of the figures they contain; for example, figure1.eps, figure2.tif, figure2a.gif, etc.  If a figure file contains a figure with multiple parts, for example figure 2(a) to 2(e), give it a name such as figure2a_2e.jpg, and so forth.

Article text files

TeX and LaTeX

The text of articles may be submitted in any common variant of TeX including LaTeX2e, REVTeX, AmSTeX, AmSLaTeX and plain TeX (including pdfTeX/pdfLaTeX).

A LaTeX2e class file is available to help authors prepare articles for consideration by IOP Journals, should you wish to use it. The files are available in zipped format and Unix tar gzipped format:

ioplatexguidelines

ioplatexguidelines.tar

Note that there is an incompatibility between amsmath.sty and iopart.cls which cannot be completely worked around. If your article relies on commands in amsmath.sty that are not available in iopart.cls, you may wish to consider using a different class file.

Microsoft Word

  • Articles can be prepared using Microsoft Word for Windows or Mac
  • Fonts used should be restricted to the standard font families (Times, Helvetica, Courier or Symbol)
  • If special symbols are needed (e.g. Greek characters, accented characters or mathematical symbols), these should be typed using the appropriate TrueType font. Do not use the Symbol facility on the ‘Insert’ menu as this often results in font conversion problems
  • Equations must be prepared using Microsoft Word Equation Editor or the full commercial MathType package.

Figure files

For articles prepared using LaTeX2e, please make sure that your figures are all supplied as vector Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) and linked to your main TeX files using appropriate figure inclusion commands such as \includegraphics.  For articles prepared using Word, where possible please also supply all figures as separate graphics files (in addition to being embedded in the text).  Our preferred graphics format is EPS.  These files can be used directly to give high-quality results, and file sizes are small in comparison with most bitmap forms.

Vector formats

The advantage of vector graphics is that they give the best possible quality at all output resolutions.

In order to get the best possible results, please note the following important points:

  • Fonts used should be restricted to the standard font families (Times, Helvetica, Courier or Symbol)
  • Certain proprietary vector graphics formats such as Origin, Kaleidagraph, Cricket Graph and Gnu Plot should not be sent in their native format.  If you do use these applications to create your figures, please export them as EPS.

Archive and compress your files

You may combine all your files (article text, graphics files and, if applicable, the readme.txt file) into a single compressed archive file for ease of handling and to save you time and space.  Please archive your files into a zip file.  To upload this file type, choose the ‘source files’ designation when you submit.  If you have any difficulty archiving or submitting files, please contact us for assistance.

Our guidelines are applicable to the journals listed below. For guidelines specific to other partner journals, including the American Astronomical Society titles, please consult those journals’ respective homepages. Journal homepages can be accessed from here.

3

How to submit your journal article

IOP Publishing aims to be flexible and to make submission as easy as possible for authors. We only require a PDF file for a new submission. These guidelines apply to our journals that use the ScholarOne Manuscripts submissions system.

Please submit all new articles via the ‘Submit an article’ link for the relevant journal. If you are a new author, you will need to set up an account before submitting your first article. Before submitting your article please read ‘What we look for in your article’.

Please ensure that you enter all the required information about your article and all its authors (if there are less than 10) before uploading your files. We recommend you use authors’ full names and ORCID identifiers to avoid ambiguity. You will be asked to select an article type for your manuscript, to enter the title and abstract, and to select some keywords. Please note that, if your article is accepted for publication, we will display these keywords on the published article. You may also propose preferred (and non-preferred) referees on submission. The suggested referees should have suitable subject expertise and not have any conflicts of interest (please see the IOP ethical policy for journals for further information on conflict of interest). These suggestions will be considered, but the editorial staff and/or Editorial Board will make the final decision regarding referee selection.

Any pertinent information that could affect the way the manuscript is handled should be provided in a cover letter. This may include highlighting anything particularly notable or significant about their research, and information about previous versions of this manuscript submitted to the current journal or to other journal(s). You are required to choose between publishing under a gold open access licence or on a subscription basis, and to confirm that you would like your accepted manuscript to be made available online within 24 hours of acceptance. Finally, before submitting your article file(s), you are required to confirm that you have read and understood the IOP ethical policy for journals, and that your submission complies with its terms.

To make submission as easy as possible for you, when submitting a new article, we only require you to upload a single PDF file (and any relevant supplementary data). The PDF should contain your complete manuscript, including any embedded figures and tables. You may upload your article from the arXiv directly by entering the arXiv e-print number. Please also submit any permissions that you have already obtained at this stage.

If you experience any problems submitting your article online, please contact the journal for assistance.

Please note, IOP journals do not charge you to submit an article. If there are any publication fees to pay (for open access, colour printing or page charges), these will be made clear to you at the point of submission, and are payable on acceptance for publication.

When determining the credit for a piece of work, authors should ensure that all those who have made a significant contribution are cited as co-authors. Other individuals who have contributed to the study in a lesser capacity should be acknowledged, but not cited as authors.

Some co-authors will be accountable for the entire article, for example those who provide critical data, write the manuscript, present the findings at conferences or provide leadership for junior colleagues. Other co-authors may be responsible for specific contributions to a paper. Where such specific attributions of credit and responsibility are required, authors must make this clear in the acknowledgements of the article otherwise all co-authors will be taken to share full responsibility for all of the paper. Authors should not use acknowledgements misleadingly to imply a contribution or endorsement by individuals who have not, in fact, been involved with the work or given an endorsement.

Responsibility of the corresponding author

It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure that all named authors have approved the submitted version of the manuscript, agree to its submission and are willing to take appropriate responsibility for it.

All authors should be consulted about any subsequent changes to authorship (e.g. the list of authors) during the publication process, and it should be made clear to the journal that they have given their consent.

Articles should include a full list of the current institutional affiliations of all authors, both academic and corporate. We also encourage authors to provide ORCID identifiers for each named author on submission. If a researcher is not affiliated to an institution or company, they can list themselves as “independent researcher”.

The files you need to submit on initial submission are:

1

A PDF of the complete manuscript for review (designated 'Complete Document for Review (PDF Only)'), containing the names and institutes of authors, and figures and tables embedded within the text. Authors are asked to consider the need for clarity and readability when selecting column type, line spacing, font size and layout when preparing the PDF, to assist reviewers.

2

Any permissions that you have already obtained at this stage.

3

Any suitable supplementary data (see below for details about suitable files).

We encourage you to submit supplementary data files with your manuscript. If you are submitting video files, most standard file formats are suitable: animated GIF, AVI, MPG, etc. However, we strongly recommend video files be delivered in the MPEG-4 container, encoded with the H264 codec. Other formats are permitted, but using MPEG-4 will provide the most faithful rendering of your video in the HTML journal article.

Video files should be a maximum of 10 MB file size each. Exceptions can be made in cases where larger files are essential for the science being presented.

The recommended settings are:

  • Frame size: 480 x 360 pixels
  • Frame rate: 15 frames/s
  • Data rate: 150 kB/s.

Some of our journals encourage authors to submit video abstracts. Read more about video abstracts here.

Our guidelines are applicable to the journals listed below. For guidelines specific to other partner journals, including the American Astronomical Society titles, please consult those journals’ respective homepages. Journal homepages can be accessed from here.

4

The review process on our journals

IOP Publishing is committed to providing a fair and impartial review process, and to providing the fastest possible service to authors. Here we describe our review process in detail.

Video transcript: The Journey of a Paper

IOP journals are international in authorship and readership. Referees are carefully selected from the worldwide research community. Unbiased consideration is given to all manuscripts offered for publication regardless of whether or not the authors request publication on an open access basis and regardless of the race, gender, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, political philosophy, sexual orientation, age or reputation of the authors.

IOP journals operate the single-blind review process, in which referees know the identity of the authors but authors do not know the identity of the referees. While all our journals operate the single-blind review process, our ‘Express’ journals (Materials Research Express, Plasma Research Express and Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express) also offer a double-blind peer review option. Authors who choose the double-blind option on submission to these journals remain anonymous to the referees throughout the review process. Authors are responsible for anonymizing their manuscript before submitting their paper. A checklist is available to help authors with this process.

None of our journals conduct any form of open peer review (in which the identity of the reviewer is revealed, the peer review contents are made publicly available or anyone interested in reviewing the article can do so post-publication).

1

Do not include author names or affiliations anywhere in the manuscript, or in any Supplementary Information files (or in any file names).

2

Provide a separate title page giving all the author names and affiliations (when you reach the 'File Upload' stage on submission, please choose the file designation 'Title Page').

3

Do not include any author names in the Acknowledgments section in the manuscript on submission (though please do include information about funding). Author names can be added to the Acknowledgments section after completion of the peer review process.

4

Do not include work in the reference list that has not yet been accepted for publication.

5

When referring to your own work within the paper, avoid using terminology that might reveal your identity (e.g. avoid phrases such as 'we have previously shown (reference)').

6

Do not sign rebuttals at revision stage with author names, nor appeals.

Pre-refereeing stage

Upon receiving a new manuscript, the editorial office conducts initial pre-refereeing checks to ensure the article is legible, complete, correctly formatted, original, within the scope of the journal in question, in the style of a scientific article and written in clear English. Any article that has problems with any of the above criteria may be rejected at this stage.

Some of our journals also conduct a pre-refereeing quality assessment. If the journal has a particular requirement for articles to be of exceptionally high interest or urgency (for example, if the article is being submitted as a Fast Track Communication or a Letter), then submissions that do not appear to meet these criteria may be rejected at this point.

Refereeing stage

Articles passing successfully through the pre-refereeing stage then begin formal peer review.

Research papers submitted for publication in the majority of IOP journals are sent to two independent referees who are asked to report on the quality, scientific rigour, novelty, significance to the field, and presentation. (Non-paper article types, such as reviews or notes, may differ.)

Referees are selected from our reviewer database and we try to find the best combination of scientific expertise and referee experience for each paper.

Authors are welcome to suggest referees for their paper on submission, but this is not required. In the interests of impartiality, if an author-suggested reviewer is used then we will complement this with a review from a second referee chosen by the journal from the general referee pool.

IOP is committed to publishing high-quality material in its journals and most journals have quite high rejection rates, typically above 50%. Papers referees deem to be technically sound, but of limited interest, are usually rejected. (Exceptions to this are Journal of Physics Communications and our Express journals—Materials Research Express and Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express—where papers are reviewed only to confirm they are original and technically sound.) Decisions are based not only on the content of the written reports, but also taking into consideration the quality assessment scores returned by each reviewer. The editorial office reserves the right to send any papers to journal Editorial Board members where they believe a paper’s quality might not meet the journal’s threshold for publication.

If there is sufficient agreement between the referees:

1

The paper may be accepted in current form.

2

The referees' reports may be sent to the authors for revision of the paper.

3

The paper may be rejected.

4

If the paper contains too many errors or problems for the referees to comment fully on the scientific content, the authors will be asked to make corrections and then resubmit the article.

Use of an adjudicator

If the referees’ reports are not in agreement, the paper and the reports are sent to an independent adjudicator (often a member of the journal’s Editorial Board) who is first asked to form their own opinion of the paper and then to read the referees’ reports and adjudicate between them. A decision is then made based on the adjudicator’s recommendation. If a referee is overruled by an adjudicator, we will normally notify the referee of this.

The processing times on our journals are consistently among the fastest in the communities we serve. On average, for a typical IOP journal, authors can expect to receive a first decision within about six weeks of submission (the different types of first decision are covered here). If a reviewer proves unable to report, we will try to find an alternative referee as quickly as possible. However, if a referee requests a short extension to their deadline for providing a report, we will usually grant this if it is reasonable. We try to strike a balance between the needs of authors (who will often ask for as fast a review as possible) and those of referees (who will often prefer to have more time to thoroughly study the paper and compose their report).

In those rare cases where an article’s review process has been delayed due to unexpected difficulties in obtaining reports, we make use of our Editorial Board members’ expertise to conclude the process swiftly.

Authors can monitor the progress of their article via their Author Centre. If you have any concerns about the progress of your article, you can send a query to the journal email address, quoting the Manuscript ID.

5

Getting a first decision on your article

IOP Publishing is committed to getting a first decision to you as soon as possible. Here we describe the various different decisions you could receive.

After your article has been reviewed, you will receive an email with a first decision on the article. IOP has a range of different decisions you could receive and these are outlined below. You will see what each decision type is and what it means for you and your article.

Provisional accept

Following peer review, your article has been provisionally accepted for publication. However, before we can pass your article to our production department, our editorial team needs to check we have everything required to publish your article. They will be in touch with you if anything is missing.

Formal accept

Our editorial team has made all the necessary checks and has everything required to publish your article. Your accepted article will now be passed to our production department.

Minor revision

Your article has a very good chance of being accepted for publication, but the reviewers have requested minor amendments to be made. These changes can usually be made quite quickly and it is unlikely we will need to send your revised article back to the reviewers.

We usually allow between one and two weeks for you to send your revised article back to us, but this may vary by journal.

Moderate revision

Your article has a good chance of being accepted, but requires additional changes to be made to satisfy our reviewers. These changes usually require more time and it is likely we will need to send the revised article back to at least one of the reviewers.

We usually allow between two and four weeks for you to send your revised article back to us, but this may vary by journal.

Major revision

Your article has a chance of being accepted, but the reviewers have requested substantial changes to be made. These changes are expected to take significantly longer and we will allow a longer deadline for you to submit. The revised article will be sent back to the reviewers.

We usually allow between four and eight weeks for you to send your revised article back to us, but this may vary by journal.

Rejected but may resubmit

Your article has been rejected as it stands. The reviewers have requested very substantial changes that are too significant to warrant a revision of the article in its current form. However, the reviewers see potential in your article and we will allow you to resubmit it if you substantially rewrite it, as explained in the referee reports. It will then be treated as a new submission, with a new article ID, though it will usually be reviewed by at least one of the original reviewers.

Reject: not in scope

Your article has been rejected. Unfortunately, the content of your article is not within the scope of the journal. If you would like to see a copy of the journal scope, please visit the relevant journal homepage.

Reject: overlap

Your article has been rejected since we have found that your article contains text which appears to have been replicated from previously published article(s). All manuscripts considered for publication in IOP journals should report new research and contain substantial new results, and should not contain text directly copied from previously published work. If you would like more information about our ethical policy it is available here.

Reject: unscientific

Your article has been rejected. The quality and presentation of any research published in our journals must be of a high standard. Submissions should clearly demonstrate scientific rigour, extensive literature research and a careful assessment of the validity of any conclusions presented in the manuscript. Your manuscript has been assessed and found not to meet all of these key publication criteria and so we are unable to consider it further.

Reject: poor English

Your article has been rejected. Your manuscript cannot be considered in its current form. All manuscripts submitted to us must be written in clear English so that readers (and reviewers) are able to understand the meaning of the article. We strongly advise you to ask a native-English-speaking colleague to check your manuscript before submission. IOP also offers several English-language editing services which you may want to use to help you improve the language of your submission, including help with translation. You can find more details here.

If you decide to rewrite your manuscript to make its meaning clear to the reviewers (many of whom do not speak English as their first language), we will be happy to reconsider it.

Straight reject

Your article has been rejected. Articles must be of high quality and high scientific interest, and be recognized as an important contribution to the literature. Following review, it has been found that your article does not meet all of these criteria and should not be published in the journal. A revised submission of this paper will not be considered.

Reject and transfer

Your article has been rejected as the content is not appropriate for the journal to which it has been submitted. However, we have found an alternative IOP journal we think it is suitable for, and we will give you up to ten days to either approve or decline the transfer to this journal. If we do not hear from you after ten days, we will assume you do not agree to the transfer and we will automatically reject the transfer.

You have the right to appeal against a rejection from our journals. To lodge an appeal you should contact the journal e-mail address, outlining your case for reconsideration. In order to be considered, appeals must directly address the reasons given for the initial rejection decision. If referee reports were included with the rejection letter, then these criticisms must be responded to in the appeal. Appeals that do not address reviewers’ criticisms, or which dismiss them out of hand, will not be considered.

Appeals are then sent to a member of the journal’s Editorial Board for consideration. If successful, an appeal can lead to the article’s review being resumed. The article may ultimately be published following any revisions the Board feels are necessary. However, if the appeal is rejected then the original rejection decision is upheld and no further consideration of that article is possible.

Please note, we must receive your appeal within four weeks of your rejection decision, otherwise we are unable to consider it.

We are always looking for ways to improve our service to authors and we offer an opportunity for you to complete a short survey about your experience of submitting to an IOP Publishing journal. A link to this survey is included in both our acceptance and rejection letters.

All of your feedback is very valuable to us, and we would like to thank you in advance for your help.

6

Writing and submitting your revised article

Here we describe how to prepare your revised article and how to submit it. At this stage we require your source files, and we also ask you to submit an online copyright form and to provide written permissions if required.

It is common for our referees to request that authors make revisions to their articles. It is important that you read each referee report very carefully and address all of the referees’ comments and requests when preparing your revised article.

In addition to submitting your article files, we require a list of all the changes made and a polite point-by-point response to each referee comment (even if you disagree) before we consider the revision. You should copy each referee comment into a separate document and add a response below each comment (and refer to the manuscript line numbers when referring to changes in the main text) to assist editors and referees with checking revisions as quickly as possible.

For each point, take the time to detail exactly what you have changed (quote the exact text before and after) and where it has changed in the manuscript. You should justify your responses, and any additional material should appear in the manuscript. It may only be a new citation and a few new words (or removed words) in a sentence. If you disagree with a referee you should be extremely clear (and polite) about why you think you are right and they are wrong. This may require new evidence, clarification of points in new language, new maths, new experiments, or more references (ideally with the relevant text from that reference extracted in your response, for the convenience of the reviewer).

Sometimes referees contradict each other. It is inadvisable to point out to a referee that their views are invalid just because they contradict the other referee. Try to be conciliatory and, when resolving conflicting reviews, express the view that both reviewers have a point and find some middle ground. Try to address both referees’ comments in some way.

Please make sure that you send your revised article to us, and not simply the original version again. It is also helpful if you supply us with both a clean version of your revised article, and a marked-up version which shows the changes you have made. If you are using Microsft Word, you can use the “tracked changes” function. If you are using LaTeX you can use the “latexdiff” command.

By observing these guidelines, you will be assisting the referees who voluntarily give up their time to review manuscripts (we recommend that you thank the reviewers for their time and input). If the referee(s) and Editorial Board are not satisfied with the changes to your manuscript, it may still be rejected at this stage.

The files you need to submit for revised submissions are:

1

A document (Word file) containing a list of all the changes made (if your changes are not highlighted in the manuscript) and a point-by-point response to each referee comment.

2

A PDF of the complete revised manuscript (designated 'Complete Document for Review (PDF Only)'), containing the names and institutes of authors, and figures and tables embedded within the text (both a clean version of the revised manuscript, and also a version with the changes highlighted, if possible).

3

The latest set of source files, e.g. TeX/LaTeX files or a single Word file (which includes figure/table captions) and individual figure files. It is also possible to archive or compress large files as a zip file.

4

Any supplementary data files, including video abstracts (if invited).

5

Any permissions that you have already obtained at this stage.

Please submit all revised submissions via the link in the e-mail you received informing you of the decision and asking you to make the revisions.

When submitting a revised article, we require you to upload the revised PDF file (deleting the original version) and your latest set of the source files used to create the revised PDF (typically Word or LaTeX files). In addition, you will need to submit your point-by-point response to the referees and either a list of the changes made or a version of the manuscript with the changes highlighted. If you experience any problems submitting your article online, please contact the journal for assistance.

You will subsequently be asked to complete and submit the online copyright form, if you have not done so already, and to provide written permissions if your article makes use of any previously published material or material for which you are not the copyright owner.

Your revised article and response to the referees will normally be sent back to one or more of the referees (though if only very minor revisions were requested, then the changes may be checked by our in-house staff). At this point, the referee(s) may recommend acceptance of your paper, or request further revisions. (Occasionally, if the referee(s) and Editorial Board are not satisfied with the changes made to a manuscript, it may still be rejected at this stage.) Once your article is deemed to be acceptable for publication, you will receive a ‘provisional acceptance’ letter. This will be followed by a ‘formal acceptance’ letter when we have received from you everything we need to proceed with publication of your article (including your source files, completed copyright form and any permissions if necessary).

For most IOP Publishing (IOP) hybrid journals (journals which offer the choice of publishing on a subscription basis or on a gold open access basis), we generally require you to transfer (assign) the copyright in your article to IOP (or to the relevant publishing partner) before acceptance of the article. This is generally the case whether you have chosen to publish on a subscription-only or on a gold open access basis in our hybrid journals. However, please ensure you check the terms of the specific journal’s copyright form, as this does vary in some journals.

For most IOP pure-gold open access journals (journals which only offer publication on a gold open access basis), we generally require you to grant an exclusive licence of the copyright in your article to IOP (or the relevant publishing partner) before acceptance of the article. However, please ensure you check the terms of the specific journal’s copyright form, as this does vary in some journals.

Following submission of your revised article, we will ask you to submit electronically the journal’s copyright form via the Author Centre. IOP cannot formally accept your article for publication until your fully signed copyright form has been received, along with any required permissions (see next section).

The transfer or licence of copyright in your article only takes effect from the date on which the article is accepted for publication. If you withdraw your article, or if it is not accepted, the transfer or licence does not take effect.

The main features of the copyright form are that:

1

Authors transfer the worldwide copyright in their article to IOP (or our publishing partner) in all formats and media (note that this applies to most of our hybrid journals).

2

Authors grant a worldwide exclusive licence of the copyright in their article to IOP (or our publishing partner) in all formats and media (note that this applies to most of our pure gold open access journals only).

3

Authors assert their moral right to be identified as the authors of the article.

4

For subscription-only articles, IOP grants back to authors certain rights; for details please see our Author Rights Policy.

5

Authors of gold open access articles will have the same rights as all third parties as set out in the relevant Creative Commons licence. IOP currently publishes gold open access articles under the CC-BY licence.

6

Provision is made for situations where copyright is not owned by the authors, for example an author’s employer, US government employees or Crown copyright.

7

Provision is made for multi-author articles, in that only one author should submit the copyright form but he or she should have obtained the verbal agreement of all the other authors (and any other copyright owner) beforehand to its terms and submission of the form.

As well as addressing matters of copyright, the copyright forms contain assertions that:

  • The article is the original work of the authors.
  • The article has not been published previously, and is not currently under consideration for another journal.
  • Each of the authors has made a material contribution to the article.
  • All authors have received the final version of the article, and have agreed to it being submitted.
  • The content of the paper is not defamatory, fabricated or an infringement of third-party rights.
  • All required permissions have been obtained in writing.

For more information on the copyright form and how to complete it, please read the ‘Important information’ at the start of the journal copyright form in your Author Centre.

If your article makes use of any previously published material (including figures/diagrams, or short extracts, or content taken from websites) then you must first obtain the written permission of the copyright owner. The copyright owner is usually the publisher (for material taken from journal or proceedings articles), website owner/company (for material taken from websites) or the author or their employer (if the work is unpublished). Some publishers will also require that you seek the permission of the original author (you will need to check the terms of the publisher’s permission).

We ask you to submit written evidence:

1

That all necessary permissions have been obtained by providing the actual written permission granted by the copyright owner, or

2

That permission is not required, e.g. where the material is available under one of the Creative Commons licences which allow commercial reuse and suits the purpose for which you want to reuse the content.

We do not obtain permissions on your behalf. It is your responsibility as the author of the article to ensure that all required permissions have been obtained in writing and any permission fee paid in full (if the copyright owner charges a fee for reuse).

IOP is a signatory to the STM Permissions Guidelines. This benefits you because if you are reusing content from another STM signatory publisher, you are usually allowed to use up to three figures in another article published by an STM signatory publisher free of charge (provided you are not adapting/changing the figure). If the STM signatory publisher has ticked the second column ‘Notification required’ in the list of signatory publishers then you must still obtain permission but you should receive the permission for free. For more information, please see the STM Permissions Guidelines section.

Please refer to this flowchart for a useful guide on how to obtain permission.

 

 

7

From acceptance through to publication of your article

Here we describe what happens to your article after acceptance, including the option of having your accepted manuscript made available within 24 hours, and the proof checking stage.

After acceptance, your article will be typeset into our house style using the source files that you have provided. This includes conversion of figure files and sizing them to fit the journal template. A proof will then be produced, which you will be asked to check.

Most IOP Publishing journals offer the option to make the Accepted Manuscript version available within 24 hours of acceptance. At this point, you can start to promote your paper to your peers (see the ‘After publication’ section for more details). For further information on the ‘Accepted Manuscript’ process, and which of our journals offer this option, please see our Accepted Manuscripts page.

Please note that, in exceptional circumstances, we reserve the right to withdraw an article at any time before publishing.

You will be contacted by email when the proof of your article is ready for you to check.

You should check your proof carefully and return corrections using the web page provided. This is the most efficient way to send them to us. Please supply an annotated PDF file using the strikethrough, replacement text and insert text functions. For other changes, please add a sticky note. Please ensure all changes are visible via the ‘Comments’ list in the annotated PDF so that your corrections are not missed. Alternatively, you can supply a list of changes that clearly indicates where amendments are required.

Please do not resupply a new source file because it is difficult to identify corrections and some could be missed.

The ultimate responsibility for ensuring the accuracy of the published article rests with you, the author. If you are likely to be absent during the proof review period then please let us know so that we can contact your co-authors (if applicable) or extend the deadline accordingly. In the unlikely event that we do not hear from you for a prolonged period, we may publish the article without your corrections.

When checking your proof, you should take particular care to check the mathematics, tables and references. Only essential corrections should be made at this stage. You should provide new files if figures need correction. You should check the accuracy of your original diagrams very carefully before submission; we cannot accept responsibility for any errors in original diagrams.

Once you have sent your proof corrections, they will be carried out in accordance with the journal style. The paper will then be published online as quickly as possible, typically within a month of acceptance. For journals that are printed, print publication may not happen for some time depending on the frequency of the journal. You will be informed by email when your paper is published online, and invited to provide feedback via a survey on the publication process. The published version of your article will also be available from your ‘My IOPscience’ account, allowing you to download the published PDF at any time (even if you do not have a subscription to the journal).

Reprints of a journal article can be purchased directly from the article abstract page in IOPscience, via the ‘Buy this article in print’ link within the Article information section (circled in red in the screenshot). For orders in excess of 250 copies, please email pod@iop.org.

8

After publication of your article

Here we describe what we do, and what you can do, to promote and raise the visibility of your published article. We also outline the various options and procedures for making post-publication corrections.

Introduction

You will be informed by email when your paper is published online. Publication should be the start of the next important phase in communicating your research: promoting your paper. The true value and impact of your paper can be greatly enhanced by promotion. The more people who read, cite and benefit from your research, the more valuable your paper becomes and the greater your esteem as an author. This is more important than ever given that the impact of research papers is increasingly being scrutinized by funders and institutions. As a learned-society publisher, we are committed to working closely with you to ensure that your article reaches as wide an audience as possible.

What we do to help increase the impact of your work

IOP Publishing undertakes a number of initiatives to promote papers and make them widely available. We:

  1. Publicize selected papers as part of (print and online) subject collections and annual journal highlights collections
  2. Highlight particularly interesting work using social media (e.g. Twitter and Facebook)
  3. Give journalistic coverage to selected papers on our science news/community websites
  4. Press release particularly newsworthy papers
  5. Publish and promote authors’ video abstracts
  6. Display the number of downloads and citations each article receives, and also altmetrics such as number of tweets and blog entries, on the journal website (on IOPscience)
  7. Give perpetual access to eprints free of charge to corresponding authors from their My IOPscience page (an account will need to be created if you do not already have one). This will enable you to download the published PDF file.

Although we try to promote as many articles as possible as widely as we can, you as the author are often the best placed to ensure your article is seen by the most relevant audience.

What you can do to promote your article

Remember to update any citations to your article on pre-print servers or in documents/presentations where you have referred to this work. The IOP Publishing citation style is:

[Author list] [Year] [Journal name] [Volume] [Article/Page number]

For example:

Cantillano C, Mukherjee S, Morales-Inostroza L, Real B, Cáceres-Aravena G, Hermann-Avigliano C, Thomson R R and Vicencio R A 2018 Observation of localized ground and excited orbitals in graphene photonic ribbons New J. Phys. 20 033028

Every author should have a network of colleagues and key people in their field who they would like to read their work. This is what we recommend that you do to help your paper to be found, read and cited by your peers:

  1. Email people you have referenced in your paper, and other key colleagues in your field, with a link to your paper
  2. Use social media to tell people about your work through blogging or through other outlets such as Twitter or Facebook
  3. Update your profile on professional and academic networking sites (such as LinkedIn, ResearchGate and Mendeley) with a link to your published article (please do not post the actual published article)
  4. Update your institutional/departmental homepage and research group website with a link to your paper
  5. Contact your institution’s press office with a summary of your paper and ask for advice about promoting it to the media
  6. Write a lay summary of your paper (with a link to the full version) and send to blogs in your subject area
  7. Produce a video abstract giving an accessible introduction to your article (this can help to encourage people to read your paper)
  8. Use a service like Kudos to help more people find and understand your work
  9. Mention your publication at conferences when giving presentations, and have copies to hand out to colleagues
  10. Check major abstracting and indexing services (e.g. Web of Science and Scopus) to make sure that your published paper is listed with correct details
  11. Upload your Accepted Manuscript (not the final published version for non-open access articles) to institutional or subject-based repositories, in line with institutional/funder requirements and the publisher embargo period (usually 12 months).

If you notice an error in your published article, several courses of action are available:

A corrigendum
should be published when you (the author) have made an error in your article
An erratum
should be published when we (IOP Publishing) have made an error in your article
A post-publication change to the original article
can only be made where the error affects the discoverability, visibility and citability of the article. For example, corrections can be made to author names, titles and abstracts, or changes to affiliations, footnotes and/or acknowledgments in order to meet the requirements of a funding body, or those related to legal issues.

In the case of a corrigendum or erratum, the PDF of the correction article will be attached to the online version of the original article, and a link created between the corrigendum/erratum article and the original article to make readers and other users/systems aware of the correction.

If a post-publication change is made, the online version of the article will be replaced and a dated note added to highlight the amendment that was made. Please note that in some cases it will not be possible to also correct any print versions.

Please contact us in the first instance and we can provide guidance on the most suitable course of action.

In cases where serious errors are identified, we may publish a retraction. These are usually reserved for cases of scientific misconduct (e.g. plagiarism). Again, please contact us if you have any questions.