Q: Should it be the first author or the corresponding author who checks and edits as per the target journal requirements?

Detailed Question -

If I am the first author of a scientific paper, is it my responsibility to check the target journal’s requirements (number of pages, font, etc.) and make changes to the paper’s text accordingly? Or is that the responsibility of the corresponding author?

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Answer:

The corresponding author is typically a senior researcher or academic, such as a senior professor or a principal investigator (PI), with considerable publishing knowledge and experience. For this reason, they are usually nominated to the role by the rest of the authors in the group. Due to their experience with publishing, they are expected to be familiar with the target journal’s requirements with regard to scope, content, style, and formatting and ensure these are adhered to.

So, technically speaking, the corresponding author needs to check the target journal’s requirements in these matters. However, they do not need to make the adaptations and modifications themselves, unless decided previously by the group. They could assign this task to one of the other authors, perhaps the first author (as you have asked), rather than doing it themselves. However, it is their responsibility to submit a quality manuscript (in terms of both content and style). So, at the time of submission, even if they haven’t made the edits themselves, they need to review the manuscript to ensure the journal’s requirements have been followed.

When reviewing the manuscript, if the journal editor finds issues with the manuscript style and formatting, they will inform the corresponding author, who again may choose to have one of the other authors make these changes.

Note: If a contributor other than an author handles only the editing and style and formatting of the paper, they will not be an author on the paper but a non-author contributor and need to be acknowledged as such. For instance, this work could be done by a freelance editor or an editing service (such as the one we provide). You can learn more about non-author contributors here.

To know more about the roles and responsibilities of corresponding authors, you may refer to the following resources: