As I mentioned in the December column, the Executive Editors of the SPE technical journals met with SPE publications staff at last year’s ATCE to discuss possible improvements to the editorial process, focusing especially on reducing the review time for manuscripts and on making it easier to submit unsolicited manuscripts that have not been presented at SPE conferences. In a subsequent column, I will discuss the changes that are being implemented to reduce review time. Here, I will simply mention that while I have been encouraging the submission of unsolicited manuscripts, I had not actually tried the process until last November. I am embarrassed to admit that I was unable to find the link to allow an author to submit a manuscript without the assistance of SPE staff, so I simply sent the manuscript to the Peer Review Coordinator. I have been assured that this problem will be fixed by March 5.
LaTeX-Generated Manuscripts. For the few authors that have attempted to prepare manuscripts for SPEJ in LaTeX, the process has not been problem-free. The biggest problem faced by authors who submit PDF files from LaTeX is that several of the fonts have not been embedded in the file. If these fonts are also missing from the viewer’s system, the fonts may be replaced by alternate fonts or with bitmapped versions.
When generating postscript or PDF from LaTeX, there are several options for describing the fonts. Most standard LaTeX documents use the Computer Modern fonts developed by Donald Knuth. Although the Computer Modern fonts are available in the public domain, they are rarely used outside of TeX, and few users have them on their systems. The result is that the author needs to embed actual postscript fonts in the PDF for their manuscript. This will produce documents that look beautiful at any magnification for both screen and printing.
Checking the status of font embedding in a PDF document can be easily accomplished using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. Simply open the document using Acrobat Reader, then check the “Document Properties” under the “File” menu.
This shows a list of all fonts that are used in the document, and identifies those that have been embedded in the file. In this case, the required subsets of the Computer Modern fonts have been embedded but the Courier, Helvetica, and Helvetica-Bold Oblique fonts have not.
Embedding the fonts can be accomplished a number of ways—some versions of LaTeX will automatically create PDF files with the fonts embedded. The main obstacle will be if some of the figures were created by a colleague who used nonstandard fonts. The easy solution is to use only standard fonts in figures.
If a LaTeX system does not automatically embed fonts, it is possible to use the professional version of Adobe Acrobat to embed fonts—when they are available on the system. Simply choose PDF as the printer destination, then select “Press Quality” under “PDF Options.
Changes to the Board. On other matters, I would like to welcome Omer Alpak to the Editorial Board as a Review Chair. One obvious strategy for reducing the review time is to spread the load over a larger group of Review Chairs. Omer is the fifth new member added in the last 6 months. At the same time, Lou Durlofsky and Ben Bloys have completed their service on the Editorial Board with this issue. It is a time-consuming responsibility, and I thank them for their time and effort.