Chemistry journals: publishers support of LaTeX

As the author of the achemso bundle (for supporting submissions to the American Chemical Society), I get a few queries about the support various publishers provide for LaTeX. Unlike more physics-focussed journals, the chemistry journals never typeset directly from authors LaTeX sources. As a result, the acceptance of LaTeX material from authors is rather less popular, and tends to be patchy. So I thought I’d summarise things as I currently understand them.

American Chemical Society (ACS)

As I said above, I’ve written the achemso bundle specifically for submissions to the ACS. However, while the central office are happy to host a copy on their website and so on, the ACS don’t officially support the bundle. That means, in practice, that some journals are happier with LaTeX submissions than others. Each journal has its own office, and so I hear different things from people submitting to different journals. It also means that I have to pick up the requirements of each office based on feedback via authors, rather than getting any formalised instructions. There are mistakes in the achemso bundle, and there are also requirements that I don’t know about. So feedback is always useful (good or bad).

Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

The RSC have rather less information about LaTeX on their website than the ACS. They do mention TeX, but only very briefly. I’ve written some BibTeX styles, and a very basic article template, which are available in the rsc bundle. I’ve had a bit of feedback on these, and I hope that they at least provide a starting point for writing a submission to the RSC in LaTeX. More generally, I think the best advice is to check with the editorial office for the relevant journal before writing anything, and to stick to the basic LaTeX article class when you do.


As with the RSC, Wiley don’t have a lot of LaTeX information. What they do say is that they only accept PDF submissions: you can’t send your source. They also say to stick to the plain article class, and basically to keep things simple.


Elsevier have recently had a new class written for journal submissions, elsarticle. From what I can make out on their site, you can use this for most of their journals, which should include the chemistry ones. As this has actually been written for them to order, I imagine that Elsevier is the best place to be sending LaTeX submissions to. Hopefully other publishers will see that they have made life easier for their authors and will take note.

7 thoughts on “Chemistry journals: publishers support of LaTeX

  1. As for Elsevier, I once has a problem with elsarticle (it was incompatible with amsrefs, which is imho much superior to BibTeX and I use it all the time). I complained to the email address given… and had a working patch within 24 hours or so! I was very impressed (especially that hacking amsrefs is a real pain…).

  2. Hello Marcin,

    Always good to hear that people are responsive. I guess that the guys at River Valley are keen to get elsarticle working as well as possible. Direct contact with the developers is usually a good way to get things fixed, in my experience.


  3. I have recently heard that OpticsInfoBase from Optical Society of America is completely switching to MS 2007 xml format because it is ISO. Until now they have tex and word support, however their tex style file does not comply with their style guide and their bst file not as well. So using latex with these journals can be a pita. Since I never had the chance to work with journals which have the required knowledge about LaTeX I expect most of them to dump LaTeX support in this century.

  4. Hello Matthias,

    As I understand it, most of the core “pure” chemistry journals are ironically typeset using TeX, even though submitting TeX sources is not that popular. Everything is done via a database, so it would not surprise me at all to see more journals wanting XML a the input side to match their internal workflows.


  5. It is not surprising that OSA does that. It is in the engineering field and so it is about whatever works nothing to do with art or beauty.

  6. Hello,
    I recently published in Elsevier and as you mentioned, it didn’t seem they typeset from the source. I had plenty of sample names in italics that appeared in roman in the proof and roman subscripts turned italics… I was quite upset to face that chore in spite of the elarticle class. One feels that all the time saved using LaTeX is lost when you check the proof… Anyway, I am now using the achemso bundle to write my thesis so I am grateful for its implemtation regardless of the publishers policies.

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