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Our instructions for authors say "We need a PDF file of your paper formatted according to our style sheet. You will also have to mail a printout when the volume editor has approved your PDF file. This must be a printout that you have made from the same PDF file that the volume editor approved, and you must check the printout carefully and sign it before sending it. At the proof approval stage, you will not be able to fix problems which are on the printout you signed."
This process is designed to avoid three big problems:
Problem #1: Readers cannot understand your paper, or misunderstand your paper, because their copy of your paper is different in some crucial way.
Problem #2: Your paper is published with changes you do not want.
Problem #3: A proceedings is published many months or years later than it needs to be.
We can avoid all of these problems as long as you carefully proofread and submit a PDF file and printout of your paper.
Why do you only publish papers in PDF format, instead of PostScript or Word formats?
PDF is the most stable and widely readable format currently available. Adobe Reader can display, search, and print PDF files, and is a free download from Adobe for anyone who does not already have a copy. There is nothing as commonly available and easy to use for PostScript files. We do not publish papers in Word format (or RTF, or other application formats) because formatting often changes when a Word document is opened on a different computer. There are many other reasons, such as cross-platform compatibility and font issues, but the most important consideration is knowing that the page which the reader sees will match what the author intended, will be the same on every computer and every printout, and will match the printed page. PDF is not a perfect format, but it is the best choice currently available.
Why do I need to send a PDF file for the review stage?
Check your specific volume instructions to see exactly what you need to submit and when. Your volume editors may only want printed copies for the review stage. Your volume editors may want PDF files so they can more easily send your paper to reviewers, or so they can get an early start checking which papers have fonts embedded correctly.
Why do I need to send a printout along with my final PDF file?
The PDF format is not perfect. When the volume editor sees something strange in the PDF file, having a printout from the author makes it possible to check whether everything appears as you want it to appear. You must send a printout that you have made from your final PDF file, and you must check the printout carefully before sending it.
Why do I need to approve proofs of my PDF file if the formatting cannot change?
The PDF format is not perfect. Before we publish a paper with your name on it, we want to make certain that your paper appears as you want it to appear. Most of the time, everything is ok. We do a proof approval stage in order to catch the occasional paper where all of the accents have disappeared or similar odd problems arise. To avoid endless rounds of proofs, problems which are on the printout you signed cannot be fixed at the proof stage.
Why can't I just send a Word file, and let the volume editor generate the PDF file from the Word file?
Word is not a stable format, and you will create a lot more work for the volume editor and for yourself by doing that. Your formatting can change. Line breaks and page breaks can change. Text in specialty fonts can appear in the wrong font or disappear entirely. Your images may not appear correctly or in the correct location. Margins, headers, footers, and footnotes can change or disappear. Automatic numbering can change or disappear. This is not the end of the world as you know it, but it can be the end of your paper as you know it.
It takes a lot of time and effort to find and fix these potential problems. Every time you fix one problem, you risk creating another. After spending hours checking all of the potential formatting problems, you will have to check page proofs very carefully just to see whether everything is still formatted the way you intended and whether all of your text is still present. In over 90% of cases we've looked at when Word files were submitted to volume editors, there were still formatting problems which needed to be fixed. This entails more time for the volume editor fixing the problems and more time for the author checking more rounds of proofs.
Volume editors are also tempted to make changes in Word documents, but this may destroy a careful choice you had made. You may not even discover the erroneous change until after the paper has been published and it is too late to correct the problem. It is far better to insist that the volume editor tell you what changes need to be made and then make those changes yourself, so you know what changes are being made.
We don't want one problem affecting many files. There are a large number of potential problems that crop up occasionally in PDF files. These problems can be quick or time-consuming to fix. If each PDF file is created separately, then a serious problem which takes hours to fix will only affect one or two papers. If many PDF files are created on one computer and a time-consuming problem affects all of those papers, it will cost too much time and money to fix all of those papers, and it may no longer make economic sense to publish the proceedings at all.
How do I create a PDF file?
The most common program available for creating PDF files is Adobe Acrobat. This is different from Adobe Reader, and is not free. There are other programs available which can create PDF files, but Adobe Acrobat is the best choice for most people. If you want to distribute your work electronically, we recommend that you invest in a copy of Adobe Acrobat so you can distribute your work as PDF files. For Cascadilla Proceedings Project, if you cannot create a PDF file, then you must create a PostScript file. This allows fonts to be embedded and formatting to be locked down. The volume editor can then turn these PostScript files into PDF files without affecting the formatting.
Why is font embedding an issue in PDF files?
Each piece of text in a PDF file has a font specified. If the font is embedded correctly in the PDF file, then the text will appear in the correct font. If the font is not embedded correctly in the PDF file, then Acrobat will take a guess at which font the text should appear in.
Why is font encoding an issue in PDF files?
Font encoding is about what letter or symbol the computer thinks each character on screen is. If the computer thinks that the character "e" is actually an "e", then everything is fine. If the computer thinks that the character "e" is actually a "2" or a "Y", then searching for "e" won't turn up that character.
If the font encoding is wrong, then the text may look fine on screen but be impossible to search. For example, if the characters "e" and "F" are swapped in the font encoding then the word that looks like "French" on screen is actually the word "erFnch" as far as the computer is concerned. If you search for "French", the word won't turn up. Even though you can see the text as "French" and even though it will print correctly, the computer thinks that the text is something else. When the font encoding is correct, you can search the text, edit the text, copy the text into another document, or change the text to a different font. When the font encoding is wrong, none of this works correctly.
Most of the time, if the font encoding is wrong in a font at all then it is very scrambled. So if you see "French" on screen and it turns up when you search the PDF file for "French", then the font encoding for that particular font is probably fine. Regular, bold, and italics are all different fonts, so each one has to be checked to see that it's searchable.
How do I create a PostScript file?
You can often avoid certain PDF problems if you create a PostScript file from Word, and then convert the PostScript file into a PDF file. In both the MacOS and Windows, creating a PostScript file is done by printing your paper to a file, and you'll need to have a PostScript printer driver on your computer. Basically, you tell the computer to print your paper, just as if you were going to print it on a laser printer. In the print dialog box, there will be either an option for "save to file" or a menu where you can set the destination of the printout to be the printer or a file. After telling the computer that you want to send the printout to a file, you'll be able to set a couple of options to tell the computer what sort of PostScript file you want and whether you want to include all the fonts. The basic types of PostScript files are plain PostScript (.ps), and various types of encapsulated PostScript (.eps). You need to create a plain PostScript file (.ps). If you have an option of how many fonts to include, select "all fonts". If your computer doesn't allow you to choose how many fonts to include, it should give you an option of "smaller file" vs. "more complete file". Choose more complete, rather than smaller. Save your file with .ps at the end of the file name and at least a few letters of your last name to start the file name.
If you cannot print your paper to a PostScript file, you probably need to download a PostScript printer driver. Try Adobe's main printer drivers page. You can also try searching on Google for "PostScript printer drivers", and many of the top hits will give you detailed instructions for downloading, installing, and using PostScript printer drivers.
How do I open a PostScript file?
Do not try to open a PostScript file. It only exists to be converted into a PDF file. There are very few programs which will allow you to view a PostScript file. At Cascadilla Proceedings Project, we only use PostScript files as an intermediate stage for creating a PDF file.