online submission instructions

The following instructions for submitting to Acta Crystallographica Section A are organized in question-and-answer format. You can read through the questions in order, or click on any of the questions to jump directly to the answer. When you are ready to continue, go back to the submissions home page.

Context sensitive help is available throughout the submission procedure by holding your mouse over underlined text in the submission forms or by clicking on the help icons [info]

Please note: These instructions should be read together with the Notes for Authors, which give overall guidelines on submitting an article.

Getting started

Submission and review

Getting help


Getting started

Should I submit to the Advances or Foundations section?

Acta Crystallographica Section A has two sections: a rapid-publication Advances section for articles describing original research of high potential impact and the traditional Foundations section. If your article is accepted for the Advances section it will be reviewed and published as rapidly as possible, and may be highlighted by an accompanying scientific commentary article and a press release on publication. Articles submitted to the Advances section are pre-screened for likely impact and interest by the Section Editors before being sent to a Co-editor.

How do I begin submitting an article?

When you are ready to submit an article and have all the necessary items ready, you should go to the submissions home page to start the process. To submit your article, you will be asked to provide information on your submission, to upload your article and graphics files, and to select a Co-editor. The process is reasonably self-explanatory, and detailed help is provided along the way.

What should I have ready before starting a new submission?

Before you begin submitting, you should have the following items ready:

  • your article prepared as a single file (see below for more information on files);
  • a high-resolution graphics file in TIFF, PostScript, encapsulated PostScript, JPEG, PNG or HPGL format for each figure and scheme, together with any supplementary files you wish to submit;
  • if your article reports a crystal structure, a CIF (crystallographic information file) of the crystallographic data (see below for more information on CIF), together with a structure factor or Rietveld data file in CIF format;
  • your full contact details (e-mail address, postal address, telephone and fax numbers);
  • details of the authors of your article (surnames, forenames and e-mail addresses of all authors);
  • other details of the article you are submitting (article title, language in which your article is written, article category);
  • an abstract in plain, unformatted text, ready to be copied and pasted (or typed directly) into the web site;
  • suggestions for referees (surnames, forenames and e-mail addresses of possible referees);
  • the location of your article file on your local filesystem.

In addition, it may be useful to have selected, in advance, Co-editors whose areas of expertise best match your article.

Note that if you have chosen to submit your article to the Advances section, you will also need to provide or upload a covering letter detailing the reasons why your article is suitable for publication in the Advances section. You are also encouraged to provide a covering letter for an article submitted to the Foundations section.

What does the overall submission and review procedure involve?

The submission and review procedures are different for the Advances and Foundations sections.

Advances submissions:

The overall procedure involves six stages:

  • Stage 1
    You will be asked to provide your e-mail details and the article title, and to select your article category. You will also be asked to upload a single file of the text of your article. Details of the file required are given below.
  • Stage 2
    You will be asked to select possible Co-editors, from a list of those available, to coordinate the review of your article. Details of possible referees should be typed into the spaces provided. A covering letter should also be supplied.
  • Stage 3
    You will be asked to give further details of your article (see above). 
  • Stage 4
    You will be asked to upload high-resolution graphics files and supporting information for your article (see below). Note that you should only click on the CONTINUE button when you have uploaded all relevant files and have checked the PDF review document.
  • Stage 5
    You will be asked to choose whether to make your article open access or to transfer copyright to the IUCr. You will also be required to state that you have complied with the ethical requirements of the journal.
  • Stage 6
    Your submission is now complete and your article will be sent to the Section Editors of the journal, who will decide whether your article should be considered for the Advances section. This decision should take a maximum of 48 hours.

    If your article is assigned to the Advances section, the system will assign a Co-editor to your article. You will be given the contact details of this Co-editor and a Co-editor reference code. The reference code has two letters and four digits (e.g. au0165) and should be quoted in all subsequent communications with the Co-editor and the Editorial Office. You should keep a record of the web address for viewing your article and the Co-editor code of your article.

    The Co-editor will arrange for the review of your article and will inform you by e-mail of the outcome of the review. You may be asked to submit revised versions of your article (see below). Please note that revisions should only be submitted at the request of the Co-editor handling your article.

Foundations submissions:

The overall procedure involves six stages:

  • Stage 1
    You will be asked to provide your e-mail details and the article title, and to select your article category. You will also be asked to upload a single file of the text of your article. Details of the file required are given below.
  • Stage 2
    You will be asked to give further details of your article (see above). 
  • Stage 3
    You will be asked to upload high-resolution graphics files and supporting information for your article (see below). Note that you should only click on the CONTINUE button when you have uploaded all relevant files and have checked the PDF review document.
  • Stage 4
    You will be asked to choose whether to make your article open access or to transfer copyright to the IUCr. You will also be required to state that you have complied with the ethical requirements of the journal.
  • Stage 5
    You will be asked to select a Co-editor, from a list of those available, to coordinate the review of your article. Details of possible referees should be typed into the spaces provided. A covering letter should also be supplied.
  • Stage 6
    Your submission is now complete. A PDF review document is generated from the file(s) you submit and you will be provided with a web address for accessing and viewing this document.

    Once your review document is created, the system will assign a Co-editor to your article. You will be given the contact details of this Co-editor and a Co-editor reference code. The reference code has two letters and four digits (e.g. au0165) and should be quoted in all subsequent communications with the Co-editor and the Editorial Office. You should keep a record of the web address for viewing your article and the Co-editor code of your article.

    The Co-editor will arrange for the review of your article and will inform you by e-mail of the outcome of the review. You may be asked to submit revised versions of your article (see below). Please note that revisions should only be submitted at the request of the Co-editor handling your article.

Submission and review

What kinds of file may I submit?

For submission and refereeing we require the word processing and other source files for your article to be submitted. The files should be prepared according to the Notes for Authors.

You may submit either (a) WORD or OpenOffice files, or (b) LaTeX files.

WORD or OpenOffice submissions:

At Stage 1, we require a WORD or OpenOffice file of the text, tables and figures of your article to be uploaded.

At the file upload stage, you will be asked to provide the following source files:

  • A high-resolution graphics file in TIFF, PostScript, encapsulated PostScript, JPEG or PNG format for each figure and scheme
  • Files of any supporting information that cannot be included at the end of your article e.g. videos
For each source file you will be asked to
  • Select the role of the file, its number and part number as applicable
  • Locate the file on your local system
  • Upload the file

You may overwrite an incorrectly uploaded file by uploading a replacement file with the same role, number and part number.

Once you have uploaded all your files, you should click on REGENERATE REVIEW DOCUMENT and check that the PDF review document generated by the submission system is up to date and correct. If there are no problems, you should then click CONTINUE to go to the next stage.

LaTeX submissions:

At Stage 1, we require a LaTeX file of the text, tables and figures of your article to be uploaded.

At the file upload stage, you will be asked to provide the following source files:

  • A BibTeX file (note that this file is optional, as authors may alternatively include the bibliography within the LaTeX file)
  • A high-resolution graphics file for each figure and scheme (see below for special considerations for LaTeX submissions)
  • Files of any supporting information that cannot be included at the end of your article e.g. videos

For each source file you will be asked to

  • Select the role of the file, its number and part number as applicable
  • Locate the file on your local system
  • Upload the file

You may overwrite an incorrectly uploaded file by uploading a replacement file with the same role, number and part number.

Once you have uploaded all your files, you should click on REGENERATE REVIEW DOCUMENT and check that the PDF review document generated by the submission system is up to date and correct. If there are no problems, you should then click CONTINUE to go to the next stage.

Should I use a template to prepare my article?

Templates are available for the preparation of your article in WORD or LaTeX format. For review purposes, please ensure that the file you prepare is in preprint format (single column, double spaced). Graphics should be included in WORD files for review purposes.

How should I prepare my figures?

A set of guidelines for preparing figures is available. Figures should be prepared using one of the file formats listed above.

When uploading figures for LaTeX submissions, please upload the figure files that you used to create a valid LaTeX document on your own computer. The submission system will automatically detect their type and rename them if necessary for processing. In most cases, if you have prepared your LaTeX document for printing as PostScript, your figures will be in .ps or .eps format. If you have prepared your document for printing as PDF, the figures will usually be in .png or .pdf format.

How do I prepare an enhanced figure?

A toolkit is available [info] which allows you to create one or more enhanced figures and their corresponding static figures. This application uses the CIF for your structure to produce a figure which you can manipulate as required. When you have completed your figure it can be saved and you will be supplied with a presubmission URL for viewing the enhanced figure and a high-resolution graphics file of the static figure. During submission, the presubmission URL of the enhanced figure should be pasted into the appropriate form on the upload enhanced figure tab. Alternatively, you may create an enhanced figure during submission by uploading a CIF.

Should I submit supporting information?

If your article describes a crystal structure study, a CIF (Crystallographic Information File) containing the crystallographic data for all the reported structures will be required for the review process. You will be asked to upload your CIF during the submission procedure. You should ensure that at least a basic structural check is run on the final version of your CIF prior to submission. Also, a separate structure factor or Rietveld data file in CIF format should be submitted for each structure reported.

Other supporting information (e.g. videos) may be submitted; for a full list of allowed file types, click here.

Supporting information that is for "review only" can be uploaded in the same way as regular supporting information but it should be made clear on the first page of the material that it is for review only and not for publication.

What do I need to do about copyright?

When the files for your article have been successfuly uploaded, you will be asked to transfer copyright electronically to the IUCr or alternatively to publish your article open access. You will also be required to state that you have complied with the ethical requirements of the journal. Authors selecting open access do not need to transfer copyright. Details of author rights can be found at http://journals.iucr.org/services/authorrights.html.

Where should I put my response to the review of my article?

You should generally respond to review comments by e-mailing the Co-editor handling your article using the contact co-editor tab on the article review page; if your article has been revised it should also be re-uploaded at this stage, see below. Short responses to review comments may be pasted or typed into the space provided at the foot of the upload revision tab.

How do I submit a revised article?

To upload a revised version of your article following review comments, you should use the web address supplied to you during the initial submission procedure. The Co-editor will instruct you as to which files they require to be revised. In some circumstances the Co-editor may elect to revise your article and ask you to review the revised article at the web address for your article. Revised graphics files and supporting information may also be requested at this stage. If figures need to be renumbered as a result of the revisions, use the change ordering of figures button to renumber the figures.

Please note: revisions should be submitted only at the specific request of the Co-editor handling your article.


Getting help

What are some common pitfalls I should avoid?

  • Make sure that you follow the specific instructions for WORD, OpenOffice and LaTeX submissions. Failure to follow the instructions may result in an incomplete review document being sent to the Co-editor.
  • Check your article fully before submitting it. If you find problems after the submission is complete, you may be required to resubmit your article online. Any such changes could delay the processing of your article.
  • Make sure you have included a covering letter with your submission.
  • Be sure to use only the supported file formats. Your submission may not be processed if you use any other formats, and you may need to resubmit it.

What tools are available to help prepare my article?

A number of tools are available to help with the preparation of articles:

  • Checking your structure. Your structure can be checked using the checkCIF/PLATON service. You should ensure that at least a basic structural check is run on the final version of your CIF prior to submission.
  • Editing your CIF. A CIF editor, publCIF, is available  for preparing your CIF.  
  • Preparing your article. The IUCr WORD template is available at http://journals.iucr.org/services/wordstyle.html for preparing your article.

What if the Co-editor I wish to submit to is unavailable?

If you have a preference for a particular Co-editor, and that Co-editor is not available when you submit your article, you should check at the Co-editor assignment stage to see when the Co-editor will next be available. (Note that if you indicate a preference for a Co-editor who is not currently available, this may delay the review of your article.) If you wish to submit a series of related papers to the same Co-editor, please contact supporta@iucr.org before starting your submissions.

What is an IUCr ID?

Your IUCr ID is your user name for all IUCr online services. The International Union of Crystallography has brought several of its online services for users, including the World Directory of Crystallographers and e-mail alerting for IUCr journals, under a single registration system. With this system, each user needs to register information such as their name and e-mail address only once, and can simply and easily keep their own information up to date.

Registration is simple, with only a small amount of information required, although users who wish to be included in the World Directory of Crystallographers should provide contact and biographical information that is as complete as possible. Once registered, each user may use their IUCr ID and password at any time, for instance to log in to update their details for the World Directory of Crystallographers, or to change e-mail addresses and the e-mail alerts received at each address.

If you are already registered (e.g. if you are already in the World Directory of Crystallographers), click here to search for your IUCr ID.

What should I do if I do not have the e-mail address of a co-author?

During submission you will be asked to provide e-mail addresses for all authors. These addresses will be used to inform your co-authors that the article has been submitted and may also be included in the metadata associated with the article. In some cases, e.g. where a co-author is a student who is no longer at your institution, it may be difficult to provide an e-mail address. If you are unable to find an address for a co-author, you may substitute your e-mail address.

What should I do if I get stuck?

You will find detailed help links [info]  throughout the submission pages, and you can use any of these links without stopping the submission. If you are having more serious problems, you should contact supporta@iucr.org.

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