LaTeX tips for Nature Astronomy submissions

Nature Astronomy is one of the few Nature journals that accepts submissions in LaTeX (along with Nature, Nature Physics, Nature Reviews Physics, etc.), but it does not have its own LaTeX template*... why is that, and what can authors do to ensure good results when submitting their own LaTeX file?
Published in Astronomy
LaTeX tips for Nature Astronomy submissions

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Many journals in astronomy and planetary science accept submissions in the typesetting language LaTeX, since it is widely used throughout the different communities. Nature Astronomy is no exception, but unlike other astronomy journals such as Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., Astron. Astrophys. or the Am. Astron. Soc. Journals, we do not provide our own LaTeX template*. Why is that? The main answer is that we do not expect authors to do their own typesetting... we will do that for you, as part of our service to authors. While LaTeX templates for journals can in some cases be convenient and can give authors a pleasing preview of what the finished, typeset article might look like, they can also cause a lot of headaches and be a source of much wasted time. Pleas for help from authors struggling with different templates are common. So we suggest: use a simple template (LaTeX's inbuilt 'article' document class is just fine) and let us worry about getting your figures in the right place and fitting your tables to the page width.

However, I have some tips that will help us to help you, and should hopefully allow you to avoid any issues with submitting LaTeX files through our submission system:

  • Submit a single LaTeX file. With an initial submission, it is far simpler to submit a self-contained PDF file of your manuscript. However, should your submission get accepted, we will ask you for the source file in Word or LaTeX format. Our submission system works best, and issues are easier to track down, when there is just a single LaTeX file to deal with. So, don't use an unusual template that requires its own class file; and paste the contents of your .bbl file into the main .tex file rather than use a separate bibliography file.
  • Do not call any non-standard LaTeX packages. Our manuscript submission system runs a standard installation of MikTeX and therefore comes with a set of standard packages. If your submission relies on packages outside this standard, then the submission system will not know what to do, and the compilation of your manuscript will fail. Remember, we do the typesetting for you, you should not need to rely on non-standard packages for fancy fonts or other special effects. We are aiming for a legible and clear document for the benefit of referees and editors, we do not ask you to typeset your submission so that it looks like a published paper.
  • Re-define figure/table labels if necessary. If you have more than the standard number of display items (figures/tables) for your chosen format, the excess figures might be placed into the Extended Data section and figures and tables might go into the Supplementary Information. Both places require new labels ('Extended Data Figure 1', etc. or 'Supplementary Figure 1', 'Supplementary Table 1', etc.). A useful command for this is 'renewcommand', and the following lines can be placed in your LaTeX file after the main text figures have been presented (Extended Data) or in the preamble of your Supplementary Information file:
    \renewcommand{\figurename}{Extended Data Figure} 
    \renewcommand{\tablename}{Supplementary Table}
  • Remember that journal names in reference lists should be abbreviated. Nature journals use ISO-4 standard abbreviations for journal names in reference lists. A useful tool to find word abbreviations can be found here or you could use the LaTeX package jabbrv, but below I list some common journal abbreviations that can be pasted into the preamble of your .tex file:
    \newcommand{\actaa}{Acta Astron.}   % Acta Astronomica
    \newcommand{\araa}{Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys.} % Annual Review of Astron and Astrophys
    \newcommand{\areps}{Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci.} % Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science
    \newcommand{\aar}{Astron. Astrophys. Rev.} % Astrononmy and Astrophysics Review
    \newcommand{\ab}{Astrobiology}    % Astrobiology
    \newcommand{\aj}{Astron. J.} % Astronomical Journal
    \newcommand{\ac}{Astron. Comput.} % Astronomy and Computing
    \newcommand{\apart}{Astropart. Phys.} % Astroparticle Physics
    \newcommand{\apj}{Astrophys. J.} % Astrophysical Journal
    \newcommand{\apjl}{Astrophys. J. Lett.} % Astrophysical Journal, Letters
    \newcommand{\apjs}{Astrophys. J. Suppl. Ser.} % Astrophysical Journal, Supplement
    \newcommand{\ao}{Appl. Opt.} % Applied Optics
    \newcommand{\apss}{Astrophys. Space Sci.} % Astrophysics and Space Science
    \newcommand{\aap}{Astron. Astrophys.} % Astronomy and Astrophysics
    \newcommand{\aapr}{Astron. Astrophys. Rev.} % Astronomy and Astrophysics Reviews
    \newcommand{\aaps}{Astron. Astrophys. Suppl.}  % Astronomy and Astrophysics, Supplement
    \newcommand{\baas}{Bull. Am. Astron. Soc.} % Bulletin of the AAS
    \newcommand{\caa}{Chin. Astron. Astrophys.} % Chinese Astronomy and Astrophysics
    \newcommand{\cjaa}{Chin. J. Astron. Astrophys.} % Chinese Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics (now RAA)
    \newcommand{\cqg}{Class. Quantum Gravity}    % Classical and Quantum Gravity
    \newcommand{\epsl}{Earth Planet. Sci. Lett.}    % Earth and Planetary Science Letters
    \newcommand{\expa}{Exp. Astron.}    % Experimental Astronomy
    \newcommand{\frass}{Front. Astron. Space Sci.}    % Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences
    \newcommand{\gal}{Galaxies}    % Galaxies
    \newcommand{\gca}{Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta}   % Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta
    \newcommand{\grl}{Geophys. Res. Lett.}   % Geophysics Research Letters
    \newcommand{\icarus}{Icarus} % Icarus
    \newcommand{\ija}{Int. J. Astrobiol.} % International Journal of Astrobiology
    \newcommand{\jatis}{J. Astron. Telesc. Instrum. Syst.}  % Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems
    \newcommand{\jcap}{J. Cosmol. Astropart. Phys.}  % Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
    \newcommand{\jgr}{J. Geophys. Res.} % Journal of Geophysics Research
    \newcommand{\jgrp}{J. Geophys. Res.: Planets}    % Journal of Geophysics Research: Planets
    \newcommand{\jqsrt}{J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transf.} % Journal of Quantitiative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer
    \newcommand{\lrca}{Living Rev. Comput. Astrophys.}    % Living Reviews in Computational Astrophysics
    \newcommand{\lrr}{Living Rev. Relativ.}    % Living Reviews in Relativity
    \newcommand{\lrsp}{Living Rev. Sol. Phys.}    % Living Reviews in Solar Physics
    \newcommand{\memsai}{Mem. Soc. Astron. Italiana} % Mem. Societa Astronomica Italiana
    \newcommand{\maps}{Meteorit. Planet. Sci.} % Meteoritics and Planetary Science
    \newcommand{\mnras}{Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc.}   % Monthly Notices of the RAS
    \newcommand{\nat}{Nature} % Nature
    \newcommand{\nastro}{Nat. Astron.} % Nature Astronomy
    \newcommand{\ncomms}{Nat. Commun.} % Nature Communications
    \newcommand{\ngeo}{Nat. Geosci.} % Nature Geoscience
    \newcommand{\nphys}{Nat. Phys.} % Nature Physics
    \newcommand{\na}{New Astron.} % New Astronomy
    \newcommand{\nar}{New Astron. Rev.} % New Astronomy Review
    \newcommand{\physrep}{Phys. Rep.}   % Physics Reports
    \newcommand{\pra}{Phys. Rev. A} % Physical Review A: General Physics
    \newcommand{\prb}{Phys. Rev. B} % Physical Review B: Solid State
    \newcommand{\prc}{Phys. Rev. C} % Physical Review C
    \newcommand{\prd}{Phys. Rev. D} % Physical Review D
    \newcommand{\pre}{Phys. Rev. E} % Physical Review E
    \newcommand{\prl}{Phys. Rev. Lett.} % Physical Review Letters
    \newcommand{\psj}{Planet. Sci. J.}   % Planetary Science Journal
    \newcommand{\planss}{Planet. Space Sci.}   % Planetary Space Science
    \newcommand{\pnas}{Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA}   % Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences
    \newcommand{\procspie}{Proc. SPIE}   % Proceedings of the SPIE
    \newcommand{\pasa}{Publ. Astron. Soc. Aust.} % Publications of the Astron. Soc. of Australia
    \newcommand{\pasj}{Publ. Astron. Soc. Jpn} % Publications of the Astron. Soc. of Japan (note no full stop following Jpn)
    \newcommand{\pasp}{Publ. Astron. Soc. Pac.} % Publications of the Astron. Soc. of the Pacific
    \newcommand{\raa}{Res. Astron. Astrophys.} % Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics (formerly CJAA)
    \newcommand{\rmxaa}{Rev. Mexicana Astron. Astrofis.} % Revista Mexicana de Astronomia y Astrofisica
    \newcommand{\sci}{Science} % Science
    \newcommand{\sciadv}{Sci. Adv.} % Science Advances
    \newcommand{\solphys}{Sol. Phys.} % Solar Physics
    \newcommand{\sovast}{Soviet Astron.} % Soviet Astronomy
    \newcommand{\ssr}{Space Sci. Rev.} % Space Science Reviews
    \newcommand{\uni}{Universe} % Universe
    * We will be releasing our own Springer Nature-wide LaTeX template shortly, which will be appropriate for submissions to Nature Astronomy and ideally all the other Springer Nature journals too. Watch this space.

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Go to the profile of Paul Woods
almost 3 years ago

UPDATE: The new Springer Nature LaTeX template is available from this page: