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Copy-editing and typesetting

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Once your article has been accepted and sent to our production department, it is entered into our Central Article Tracking System (CATS). Your manuscript goes through several stages of production before it is sent to you as a PDF proof.

The Production Editor performs an initial check for key elements of your article - author names, a reference list, contact details for the corresponding author - and sends the article to be copy-edited.


We believe that copy-editing is an important stage and that it adds value to your article. While it is your responsibility to submit the article correctly (as specified on the Instructions for Authors page), the copy editor has a valuable role in picking up any errors that you have missed and minimizing any delays by ensuring that problems are identified at an early stage.

It's important that we get it right, so if you have any comments or concerns, please do talk to your journal's Production Editor. The copy editor should:

  • ensure that the article makes sense throughout;
  • correct any mistakes in grammar and punctuation;
  • check that the spelling is correct and consistent, and follows journal style (e.g., should it be “focused” or “focussed,” “colour” or “color”?)
  • make sure that the paper is properly referenced using the right reference style;
  • go through and cross-check the references and any tables and figures, to ensure they’re mentioned in the text;
  • flag up any potential problems with third-party permissions, or anything that could contravene laws against libel, obscenity, blasphemy, incitement to racial hatred, or plagiarism. Please see our Permissions section for further guidance on using third-party material.

Copy editors do not normally rewrite sections of the text, "polish" language to improve it, or spot errors that require specialist subject expertise. Please see our resources section if you require language editing.


After it has been copy-edited, your article is sent for typesetting. Our typesetters take the copy-edited text file and convert it to XML (extensible mark-up language). They then use this to create a paginated PDF document using the journal's layout style. You will see this as a PDF proof. Converting the text to XML allows extra layers of information to be included in the article. It can be used to create links within the article (for example, to footnotes, figures and tables, or between citations and references), to external articles (for example, for a corrigendum or erratum), as well as information about the authors and the data that external databases such as CrossRef and PubMed collect. It also structures the text so that it is paginated correctly.

Once the original manuscript file has been copy-edited, converted into XML, and typeset, the corresponding author is sent the PDF proofs, along with instructions on how to send back any changes they wish to make. Any author queries are listed. Please see our checking proofs section for further guidance on correcting proofs. Note that your Production Editor is responsible for maintaining journal style and correct grammar usage regardless of changes you request. The author's responses to the queries and any other corrections to the proofs are sent back to the typesetters to be added into the XML file and the final PDF version of the paper.

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