online submission instructions

The following instructions for submitting to Acta Crystallographica Section F 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.

If you intend to submit an article reporting the crystallization of a biological macromolecule, you should use publBio or publBio tools within the IUCr WORD template to prepare your article. Instructions for submitting your article using publBio can be found here.

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 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:

  • a covering letter detailing the reasons why your article is suitable for publication in Acta Crystallographica Section F;
  • 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 PDB validation report and the name of your structure;
  • 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.

What does the overall submission and review procedure involve?

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 agree to an IUCr licence to publish. 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.

What special considerations are there for structural papers?

Authors of structural papers are required to presubmit their data to the Protein Data Bank (PDB) and then during submission provide for each reported structure

  • the PDB deposition code;
  • the name of your structure;
  • a PDB validation report (see below).

Authors of nucleic acid structures should deposit their data with the Nucleic Acid Database (NDB) and provide an NDB deposition code.

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.

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
  • A PDB validation report (see below) for each structure reported
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?

A WORD template is available for the preparation of your article. 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.

A tool, publBio, is available at for preparing your article. For articles reporting the crystallization of a macromolecule, publBio or the publBio tool within the WORD template must be used.

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.

Should I submit supporting information?

If your article reports a macromolecular crystal structure determination, you will also be asked to upload your PDB validation report (see below), PDB code and name of your structure during the submission procedure.

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.

Authors are encouraged to archive their raw diffraction data and provide digital object identifiers (DOIs) during submission for these data sets. A description of the data sets will also be requested.

What is a PDB validation report?

When coordinates and structure factors are deposited with one of the Worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB) sites a PDB validation report is created and made available to the depositor. The report is usually sent to the depositor or can be downloaded from the web. The relevant PDB code and the name of the structure should be given for each PDB validation report uploaded during your submission.

What is an mmCIF?

mmCIF stands for macromolecular Crystallographic Information File which is a plain text file format which describes a macromolecular crystallographic experiment and its results. When the coordinates and structure factors for a structure are deposited with the RCSB PDB or PDBj an mmCIF for the structure will be created and made available to the depositor. Alternatively, if authors use the IUCr publBio annotator tool to prepare their paper they will be able to save their data as an mmCIF. An example of an mmCIF can be obtained by clicking here.

What do I need to do about copyright?

When the files for your article have been successfuly uploaded, you will be asked to agree to an IUCr licence to publish 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

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 publBio 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:

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 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.

If you have registered an IUCr ID, you may claim a member discount on your open-access publication fees.

Find my IUCr ID

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.

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

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