online submission instructions

The following instructions for submitting to Acta Crystallographica Section E 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're ready to continue, go back to the submissions home page.

Context sensitive help is available throughout the submission procedure 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.  

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Acta Crystallographica Section E: Structure Reports Online is an open-access journal. For more information, please visit

Getting started Submission and review Getting help

Getting started

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 a CIF, structure factors and graphics files, and to select a Co-editor. You will be asked to confirm that you will pay the open access fee or have a waiver. The process is reasonably self-explanatory, and detailed help is provided along the way.

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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 CIF (see below for more information on preparing and pre-checking your CIF) and a structure factor or Rietveld data file in CIF format;
  • your full contact details (e-mail address, mailing 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);
  • any comments regarding your article (e.g. suggestions for referees) in plain, unformatted text, ready to be copied and pasted (or typed directly) into the web site;
  • a high-resolution graphics file in TIFF, PostScript, encapsulated PostScript or HPGL format for each chemical scheme and supplementary figure, and any other supplementary files you wish to submit;
  • an abstract in plain, unformatted text, ready to be copied and pasted (or typed directly) into the web site;
  • the location of your source files on your local filesystem.
In addition, you need to be ready to confirm that you will pay the open access fee or have a waiver. It may also be useful to identify, in advance, Co-editors who you would prefer to handle your article.

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What does the overall submission and review procedure involve?

The overall procedure involves seven stages:
  • Stage 1
    You will be asked to provide your email details, select your article category and upload your CIF and structure factors. If your CIF conforms to the submission requirements for the journal (see below), you will be asked to continue to Stage 2. If your CIF does not conform to the submission requirements, you will be requested to correct your CIF before proceeding.
  • Stage 2
    You will be asked to check your contact details and details of the article (see above ). 
  • Stage 3
    You will be asked to upload graphics files and supplementary data for your article (see below ).
  • Stage 4
    The system will also ask you to agree to the licence arrangements for your article (see below), and also state that you have complied with the ethical requirements of the journal.
  • Stage 5
    You will be invited to select a Co-editor, from a list of those available, to coordinate the review of your article; comments concerning your article (e.g. the names of potential reviewers) may be typed into the space provided.
  • Stage 6
    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. au6165) and should be quoted in all subsequent communications with the Co-editor and the Editorial Office. You will also be provided with a web address for accessing and viewing your article home page. 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.
  • Stage 7
    Your submission is now complete and you will be returned to the home page for your article. If you wish to submit a covering letter at this stage, it may be uploaded using the contact co-editor tab.
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Which items will be published and which will be supplementary materials?

Details of which items will be published and which will be supplementary materials can be found in the Notes for Authors.
  • The published article will consist of the title, authors, key indicators, an Abstract, a new Related literature section, Experimental data sections (Crystal data, Data collection, and Refinement), very brief table(s), a chemical scheme, Acknowledgements and References.
  • The Experimental text sections and Comment will no longer appear in the published article, but this information should still be provided by authors for inclusion in the HTML and PDF supplements.
  • Figures will be available through the HTML and PDF supplements to the paper.
  • You will be asked to check and approve the supplements to the paper at the acceptance stage.
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Where can I find more information about open access?

  • Open-access policy. For further information on the open-access policy of the journals, click here.
  • Fees and payment. For information on who should pay, when should payment be made, how to pay, and discount and waiver options, click here.
  • Frequently-asked questions. For a set of frequently asked questions regarding open access, click here.
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Submission and review
What kinds of file may I submit?

The files should be prepared for submission according to the Notes for Authors; the files that we will require are as follows:
  • Your article prepared as a CIF (crystallographic information file); see below for more information on preparing and pre-checking your CIF
  • A structure factor or Rietveld data file in CIF format
  • A high-resolution graphics file in TIFF, PostScript, encapsulated PostScript or HPGL format for each chemical scheme and supplementary figure; see below for more information on graphics files
  • Files of any additional supplementary material that should accompany your publication
For each 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 CONTINUE to the next stage.

All files will be automatically converted into a PDF review document by the submission system.  In addition to your article, this document will also include checkCIF and duplication reports.

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How do I create and pre-check my CIF?

Guidelines for the preparation and editing of your CIF, the data items required therein, standard data codes and keywords, CIF templates, example CIFs, and data-validation criteria and procedures are available from an online CIF help page. A free CIF editor (enCIFer) is available from, and a program for editing your CIF and previewing your article, publCIF, is also available.

Most standard crystallographic packages will generate CIFs suitable for submission. In cases where this is not possible, or if you wish to generate CIFs to a standard pattern, templates are provided  for the preparation of single-crystal and powder CIFs.

Once you have created your CIF, you should pre-check it using the checkcif service at . Any reported problems with the submitted data will need to be corrected before submission. If the report contains validation alerts about the consistency, adequacy or quality of the data, these will need to be addressed, or, if there are specific valid or unavoidable reasons for these alerts, the validation response form (VRF) supplied by checkcif must be completed and included in the submitted CIF, preferably with the addition of appropriate explanatory text in the published experimental section of the CIF.

It is also recommended that you preview your article before submission using the printcif service at .

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How do I decide which journal category (inorganic, metal-organic or organic) to submit to?

Your article should be submitted in one of the following journal categories:
  • Inorganic compounds. This category reports structures not containing any organic (CxHy) or substituted organic (CxHy−1F, CxFy etc.) moiety. It includes metal elements, intermetallic compounds, non-metal elements, compounds of non-metals (excluding organic compounds), salts of inorganic acids and coordination complexes not containing organic moieties. Metal carbides, carbonates, cyanides, isocyanides, cyanates, isocyanates and thiocyanates are published in this category, as are coordination complexes with carbon present only as carbonyl, cyanide, cyanato etc. ligands.

    Examples: Be, Gd2Pt, C (graphite), SiC, NaHCO3, K[Co(CN)(CO)2(NO)].

  • Metal-organic compounds. This category reports structures containing one or more metal atom and one or more organic moiety (not simply a metal—carbon bond). It includes metal salts of organic acids, coordination complexes in which carbon is present in an organic or substituted-organic ligand, metal (or metal salt)–organic addition compounds. In this context, Al, Ge, As, Sb and Po are defined as metals.

    Examples: Ba(CHO2)2, K4[Zr(C2O4)4].5H2O, K[PtCl3(C2H4)], CaBr2.4CH4O.

  • Organic compounds. This category reports structures containing carbon and hydrogen (or hydrogen partially or fully substituted by a non-metal) with or without additional non-metals. B, Si, Se, Te and At are defined as non-metals.

    Examples: C7H4N4, CCl4, C6N4, C4H8Se4.

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How do I prepare an enhanced figure?

A toolkit is available which allows you to create one or more enhanced figures and their corresponding static figures. [info] This application uses the CIF for your structure to produce a figure which you can manipulate as required. You may use the toolkit before submission by clicking here. Alternatively, during the submission process, you may create an enhanced figure directly from your uploaded CIF. An example of an enhanced figure which has been prepared in this way is Knott et al. [Acta Cryst. (2008), E64, o1101].

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How do I prepare figures and chemical schemes?

You should prepare chemical structure diagrams and supplementary figures in HPGL, PostScript, encapsulated PostScript or TIFF format. The resolution of bitmap graphics should be a minimum of 600 d.p.i. at 8.8 cm width.

You should provide a chemical structural diagram (a typical example is shown below) for molecular compounds. You are also encouraged to submit a chemical connectivity (CDX, CML, MOL, SDF, SMI) file for each structure (see below for more information).

chemical structural diagram

A labelled ellipsoid diagram for inclusion in the supplementary materials should be provided for each species. You are also encouraged to supply additional figures, e.g. packing diagrams.

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Should I submit supplementary data?

A separate structure factor or Rietveld data file in CIF format should be submitted for each structure reported. Additional supplementary material may also be submitted; for a full list of allowed file types, click here. Chemical connectivity (CDX, CML, MOL, SDF, SMI) files are particularly welcome (see below for more information). Details of which items will be published as supplementary materials are given above.

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Should I submit chemical connectivity files?

A chemical connectivity (CDX, CML, MOL, SDF, SMI) file should be submitted for each reported structure. These files will be made available as part of the supplementary materials for each article and will be used to provide InChI (International Chemical Identifier) keys for the article, making the structures easier to find in the chemical literature.

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What do I need to do about copyright?

When the files for your article have been successfuly uploaded,  you will be asked to confirm that you agree to a Creative Commons Attribution licence for your article. As the journal is open access, you will not be asked to transfer copyright. If for any reason you are unable to agree to the licence, you should fill out the reasons for this in the space provided on the licence page.

If you have any questions about copyright, please contact

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Where should I put my response to a 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.

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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 CIF and ask you to view the revised CIF at the web address for your article. Revised graphics files and supplementary material 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. 

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Getting help
What are some common pitfalls I should avoid?
  • Check your article fully before submitting it. If you find problems after the submission is complete, you will be required to resubmit your article online. Any such changes could delay the processing of your article.

  • Ensure that your article is clearly written and grammatically correct. Your article may be rejected if it is poorly written. If you do not have good language skills in the language of submission you are expected to seek local assistance before submission of your article.
  • Make sure that any covering or background information is correctly submitted. Any information relevant to your submission should be pasted or typed into the _publ_contact_letter section of your CIF.
  • Be sure to use only the supported file formats. Your submission will not be processed if you use any other formats, and you will need to resubmit it.
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What tools are available to help prepare my article?

A number of tools are available to help with the preparation of your article:
  • Checking your structure. Your structure can be checked using the checkCIF/PLATON service. You should ensure that a full structural check is run on the final version of your CIF prior to submission.
  • Editing your CIF. A CIF editor is available from the Cambridge Structural Database for preparing your CIF.
  • Previewing and editing your CIF. The program publCIF is available for previewing and editing your CIF.

  • Printing your CIF.  You may also print a preview of your article using the printcif service at .
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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, before selecting a Co-editor, contact to see when the Co-editor will next be available. Likewise, if you wish to submit a series of related papers to the same Co-editor, please contact before starting your submissions.

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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 (Crystallography Journals Online), 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, to change e-mail addresses and the e-mail alerts received at each address.

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

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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. 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 coauthor, you may substitute your e-mail address when filling out the form at Stage 2 of the submission.

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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

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