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IOP Science

Style guide for ebooks


IOP ebooks are flexible regarding styling requirements; consistency within the book is most important.

AAS ebooks follow different styling conventions; details can be found here:


  • Define acronyms at their first occurrence in each chapter. After this, use the acronym only.
  • Do not use an acronym if the definition or phrase is used only once.
  • If an acronym is used in a chapter, it must be re-defined at its first occurrence in any other chapter where it appears. Alternatively, a definition list can be provided.
  • The definition should be lower case, unless it contains proper nouns, e.g.: electron energy distribution function (EEDF).
  • Acronyms that are very familiar to readers of a particular topic or community do not need to be expanded.


  • Punctuate equations (inline and displayed) as part of the sentence. Consistency is more important here though, so we will follow the author’s preference.
  • Make the following notation consistent (preferably roman): differential ‘d’, exponential ‘e’, complex ‘i’, sin, cos, tan, etc.
  • Use italic for subscripts and superscripts that are variables and roman for those that are labels.
  • Write units in index notation, e.g. m s−1.
  • Do not use hyphens between a number and its unit; use, e.g. 5 m thick barrier (not ‘5-m thick barrier’, or ‘5-m-thick barrier’).
  • In numbers, include a thin space every three digits from the decimal, e.g. 15 000, 0.000 0001, etc.
  • Use a full space between numbers and units, e.g. 1 m s−1. Apply the same rule for numbers with mathematical operators, e.g. 1 = x.
  • Displayed equations should follow naming convention within each chapter in chronological order, e.g. (1.1), (1.2), (2.1), etc. In appendices, equations should also be chronologically numbered, e.g. (A1), (A2), etc.


Number footnotes sequentially within each chapter.

Denote table footnotes with lower case superscript roman letters, e.g. ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’, etc, and then list the footnotes underneath the table. Write each new footnote on a separate line.

Miscellaneous styling

  • Use single quotation marks for quotations and double quotation marks for quotations within quotations.
  • Use a lower case ‘x’ in ‘x-ray’, except at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Use a single space after a full stop.
  • En dashes (–) can denote a range or relationship between two nouns. Em dashes (—) can be used in place of commas or brackets. Do not use spaces between em dashes or en dashes.

Figures and tables

Place figures and graphics at the top of the page where possible and do not embed within the text. Size and position figures to achieve consistent font size and information display. Figures and tables will be placed as close as possible to their first citation within the text (ideally on the same page) when typesetting; however, sometimes the number or size of figures does not allow for this.

Number all figures and tables in numerical order by chapter. If this is not the case, they will be renumbered as part of the production process. Use labels, e.g. ‘(a)’, ‘(b)’, etc where a figure has several parts. Explain all parts in the caption.

If the figure has been previously published elsewhere, obtain permission from the original publisher and include the appropriate permissions wording in your figure caption, even if it is your own work.

The style in the text for referring to tables and figures is, for example, ‘table 1.1’ and ‘figure 1.1’ (or ‘Table 1.1’ and ‘Figure 1.1’ if at the beginning of a sentence), respectively. Contractions (e.g. ‘tab. 2’, ‘fig. 1’) are not allowed.

Reference styling

We encourage the use of the Harvard or Vancouver reference systems. However, you can use any reference system providing it is sensible and consistent throughout the paper. We will ensure your references adhere to house style during the production process, whatever format you submit them in.

Each chapter should have its own reference list at the end of the chapter. References repeated in multiple chapters should be in each list. A separate bibliography can be provided at the book level as a further reading list.

A reference should give your reader enough information to locate the article, and you should take care to ensure that the information is correct so that links can be made.

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

For examples of common reference types, see below.


References to journal works should include:

  • Author(s): surname(s) and initial(s)
  • Year
  • 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


Cantillano C, Mukherjee S, Morales-Inostroza L, Real B, Cáceres-Aravena G, Hermann-Avigliano C, Thomson R R and Vicencio R A 2018 New J. Phys. 20 033028


References to a book should include:

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


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

Conference proceedings

References to conference papers should include:

  • Author(s): surname(s) and initial(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Title of conference (in italics, initial letter of each significant word should be upper case)


Mahanta N K and Abramson A R 2012 13th Intersociety Conf. on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems

Web links in references

Only permanent or persistent web links should be used in reference lists. 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
  • arXiv e-print number

Non-bibliographic text

References that do not contain bibliographic information (i.e. they do not refer to other pieces of work) should be set as a footnote within the text and cited at the appropriate location.


Please ensure that all references are cited in the text and that all citations have a corresponding reference.