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Science, Technology & Medicine

arrow Preparing a typescript spacer arrow Appendix - References
arrow Preparing artwork   arrow Submitting the finished manuscript

Preparing a typescript

Spelling and hyphenation

  • Use either UK or US spelling and punctuation, but make it consistent throughout.
  • Spelling and hyphenation must be consistent throughout your text, tables and illustrations.
  • Make sure that you use consistent terminology throughout.
  • All variables must be italicised.
  • If the book does not contain a list of abbreviations, all abbreviations need to be written out in full at the first mention, with the abbreviation in parentheses. No abbreviation should be left unexplained unless it will be understood by all intended readers (e.g. DNA).
  • Use italic or bold, not upper case or underline, for emphasis.


  • Use minimum capitalisation in all headings (only the first letter should be upper case).
  • Keep the number of levels of subheading to a minimum - preferably three or fewer. Distinguish the levels of heading either by typeface or by coding clearly in the margin, e.g.

    <A> Results
    <B> Effects of the first trial
    <C> In the first year

  • A and B grades of heading may be numbered decimally (2.1, 2.1.1, etc.), but only number lower grade headings if cross-referencing makes it necessary.
  • Try to avoid long headings.

Numbering systems

  • Number figures, tables, mathematical equations, theorems and chemical equations in separate sequences. Number them decimally by chapter (e.g. Fig. 2.1; Table 2.1 Eq. (2.1)).
  • Figures (line drawings and photographs) should be numbered in a single sequence. If there is to be a separate plate section in your book then the figures in it may either be numbered in the same sequence as the other figures, or in a separate sequence.
  • Mathematical equation numbers should be typed on the right-hand side of the page in parentheses.
  • Chemical equations should be distinguished by the use of bold numbers in parentheses or by the use of square brackets.


  • Each table should have a concise heading; any necessary further explanations may be added as footnotes.
  • Use superscript lower-case letters for footnote indicators. These should be in the order top to bottom, and within that left to right.
  • Where necessary, give the source for each table in shortened form in a note at the foot of the table (not as part of the table heading). Make sure that the full details of all table sources are given in the reference list.
  • Make sure that each abbreviation used in a table is fully explained in a footnote, unless you have a list of abbreviations.
  • Check carefully that tables are consistent with the text, with regard both to style and the information given.
  • Make sure that each table is referred to in the text; a table will be placed close to its first citation in the text unless you indicate otherwise. You may indicate in the margin the approximate position of each table.


  • SI units should be used throughout (see Quantities, Units and Symbols, published by the Royal Society of London in 1981), with the exception of the non-SI units in current medical usage.
  • Unit abbreviations have neither plurals nor full stops; there must always be a space between a number and a unit (5 mm not 5mm).
  • Note the following: cm3 (not cc), µm (not µ), nm (not Å), s (not sec), K (not °K).
  • When spelt out in full, units start with a lower case letter, even when called after someone (e.g. joules).
  • Compound units should be typed as e.g. either mg/cm3 or mg cm-3 but not a mixture (but note that, for example, mg/cm3/min should be mg/cm3 per min).
  • Use either % or per cent (or percent with US English).


  • Please choose your system of notation carefully (it should be as simple as practicable) and check that it is used consistently throughout. Try to avoid complicated notation involving tildes, arrows or bars above symbols, or underlining.
  • All symbols should be defined when they are introduced and subscript labels should be explained (it may not be obvious that vb is the volume of the box).
  • To help the typesetter, please clarify in the margin any ambiguous symbols whenever they occur (e.g. letter x, greek chi or multiply sign; letter o, zero or small circle; letter l or number 1; letter v or greek nu). If the symbols on your typescript are unambiguous you do not need to mark them up. Bold characters, if the bold is unclear, should be marked with a wavy underline.
  • Identify at the first occurrence (in the margin) all special characters such as script or foreign letters.
  • It is very helpful to the copy-editor if you supply a list of your symbolic notation. It is worth considering whether this might form a useful part of the book.
  • Check that your use of symbols such as ~ is correct and consistent.

References and bibliography

(see also Appendix on References: the author-date system)
  • A Bibliography at the end of your book should contain all the works cited in the text and any further reading you would like to include. (If necessary it can be divided by chapter or topic, but further subdivisions should be avoided.)
  • A References section should contain only work that is cited in the text.
  • Ensure that every reference citation in the text (including those in tables and illustration captions) tallies with the reference list or bibliography.
  • Ensure that every reference is complete, giving authors' names and initials, date and:
    for books: book title, publisher's name and place of publication;
    for journals: article title, journal title, volume number, first and last page numbers;
    for chapters in books: book title, book editors (with initials), first and last page numbers, publisher's name and place of publication.
  • Multi-author books usually have reference lists at the ends of each chapter. If you choose to combine them into one list at the end of the book take care that each reference is given only once and that the a,b systems are the same (e.g. that Smith 1975a and Smith 1975b refer to the same papers in all chapters of your book).
  • The author-date (Harvard) system for the layout of references is the Press's preferred (but not mandatory) style.
  • The Vancouver system, where references are given as numbers only in the text (either as superscripts or in brackets) is acceptable but must be checked very carefully as additional numbers could mean large-scale renumbering (3a as an afterthought is not acceptable). The LaTeX style of [Sm75] (for example) can be accommodated but the other forms are preferable. (Set up LaTeX to number the references [1], [2], etc.)


  • Italicise gene names, but not protein names.
  • Check that all Latin names are up-to-date, and correctly spelt and italicised, e.g.

    Phalaris arundinacea var. picta
    Plantago spp.
    Cornutia pyramidata L.
    Zea mays
    Escherichia coli
    Alocasia X sedenii
    Trichopilia frangrans (Lindley) Reichenbach

  • Authorities are rarely necessary, but if used should be given after the introduction of each name.
  • If you are using a local name for an animal or plant, consider also giving the Latin name to pinpoint the species.
  • Always write the genus name in full at the first occurrence; be particularly careful to write in full when there may be ambiguity, e.g. two genus names beginning with the same first letter.


  • If quoting drug names, make sure that your terminology is consistent with either the US (the International Nonproprietry Name, INN) or the UK (the British Approved Name) nomenclature, using one system throughout your book.
  • Always quote the generic name for a given drug, with the proprietry name, if required, in brackets.
  • Generic drug names should begin with a lower-case letter, proprietry names with an upper-case letter.
  • If journal titles are to be abbreviated in your reference list, abbreviate them according to Index Medicus.
  • Our medical books have an international readership, so try to avoid the use of terms that apply in only one country (e.g. use 'primary physician' or 'primary care physician' rather than 'GP').
  • Distinguish between 'sex' (a genetic definition) and 'gender' (a social construct).
  • Note that for microorganisms the Latin name is italicised and capitalised as normal, e.g. Salmonella sp., but the common name is not italic, and starts with a lower case letter - e.g. a salmonella infection.
  • Virus Latin names are italicised (e.g. Enterovirus); common names are lower case roman.
  • Please follow the International Union of Biochemistry (IUB) and Royal Society of Medicine recommendations for terms and symbols.
  • Case studies should be treated sensitively, with identities concealed and permissions obtained.

Sensitive language

Try to be sensitive in your use of terms which may cause offence, e.g. 'Native American' rather than 'Indian'; White and Black are preferable to Caucasian and Negroid; use 'Humanity', 'people', 'humans' rather than 'Man' to describe the human race; use 'him/her' or 'them' rather than 'him' (but we prefer that you rewrite to avoid excessive use of him/her).


  • Please ensure that names of chemical compounds follow an approved (e.g. IUPAC/IUB) system.
  • Use 14C for carbon-14, 3H for trituim; for labelled compounds use [14C]thymine, etc. Use SO42–, Fe3+, etc. (never SO4=, Fe+++).
  • Reproduction of chemical structures in running text can be difficult, so please use the most compact form of notation unless it is absolutely necessary to give a chemical structure explicitly. For example, in running text use:












GRAPHIC: chemistry symbols
  • Chemical structures should be provided as illustrations. If you are not able to provide them as finished artwork please discuss this with your Press editor. If you provide roughs for redrawing, please ensure that there is no ambiguity regarding which atoms are bonded to each other or where charges are localised. You should provide large clear sketches giving guidance where necessary about bond angles, bond lengths, etc. A note to the copy-editor, giving examples of preferred style for the representation of three-dimensional effects, such as the chair and boat forms of cyclic compounds or the tetrahedral arrangement of carbon compounds, will help to ensure that these appear in the correct form in the finished book.

  • Ensure that you are consistent in your use of:


GRAPHIC: chemistry symbols





GRAPHIC: chemistry symbols

Mathematics and physics

If a book is to be set from electronically please use mathematical typesetting software such as TeX, LaTeX, Scientific Word or equation editor (in Microsoft Word). There is an email helpline to assist if you have any problems with TeX ( For further details contact your Press editor.
  • All variables must be italicised.
  • Clearly indicate all vector and matrix notation. Preferred style for vectors is bold roman but bold italic is acceptable providing it is consistent. (An overarrow may only be used when trying to distinguish between different types of vectors.) Symbols for matrices should be bold upright.
  • The preferred form for exponential e, imaginary i and differential d is upright, but if all three are consistently italic that is acceptable.
  • The end of proof symbol should be an open box, ranged right.
  • All multiplication dots should be raised.
  • Equations should be consistently either punctuated or not punctuated.
  • Subscripts and superscripts should be typed clearly as they can easily be misunderstood. Take particular care with alignment or staggering when this is significant (usually they should be aligned) and make a note for the copy-editor of any peculiarities in the alignment.
  • Avoid use of second-order sub/superscripts wherever possible.
  • Check that your use of e and exp is consistent.
  • Display equations unless they are simple. Equations in running text often cause problems with the line spacings.

Electronic Files

If you are planning to submit electronic files of your book, either on disk, or as files that you send us by ftp or email, please let your Press editor know so that we can advise you on any specific requirements. In addition, please observe the following:
  • Save your files in a word-processing or LaTeX format unless we have given you other specific advice. If you are using LaTeX, check with your Press editor whether you should be using one of our house macros.
  • Label all disks with your name, the book title, the program used and the date.
  • Make certain that the disks and the double-spaced hard copy that you send to us are the final version and are identical. Keep an exact back-up copy on disk or on your computer and a complete, paginated hard copy for easy reference during copy-editing.
  • Number your pages in one sequence throughout the typescript.
  • Make sure that special characters are clear. If your computer cannot reproduce an accent or special character, please write them in clearly on the hard copy.
  • If your book contains tables, please avoid using complex commands for laying out their content.