American Journal of Physics®

For Contributors - Submission Procedures

Do you have an idea you would like to publish in AJP? This document outlines how you can develop it into a manuscript and submit it to the journal.

Preparing a manuscript

Is AJP the right journal? The American Journal of Physics publishes papers that meet the needs and intellectual interests of college and university physics teachers. Please be sure to read the Statement of Editorial Policy carefully to ensure that AJP is the right journal for your work. Your manuscript should be not only novel and correct, but also interesting and useful to our readership.

Do a thorough literature search: Carefully search the physics and astronomy teaching literature, both to ensure that your idea is new and to be certain to cite related work. Wikipedia can be used to find an updated list of physics education journals.

Consider your audience: Present any needed background in your Introduction, rather than assuming that your reader has knowledge beyond the standard undergraduate physics coursework. Streamline and simplify your presentation of new material.

Write carefully: Quality of writing is an important criterion for acceptance at AJP. While the editors and reviewers can make some allowances for errors from non-native English speakers, you should have someone with an excellent command of written English read your manuscript to improve the grammar and usage. Read and follow AJP's manuscript formatting policies. Our sample manuscript pdf, sample manuscript files and figure preparation guidelines may also be helpful. Using LaTeX/REVTeX or MSWord will streamline the journal’s editing process.

Ethical guidelines and copyright release: Manuscripts are considered for publication under the condition that they represent the original work of the author(s), have been submitted only to AJP, have not been published or accepted for publication elsewhere, and will not be submitted to any other journal while it is under consideration by AJP. Posting manuscripts to authors’ personal Web sites and to e-print servers is allowed, as described in AIP's guidelines. Authors are expected to adhere to ethical standards and guidelines detailed on the AIP Publishing's Ethics and Responsibilities page. If your manuscript is accepted for publication, you will be required to sign a form transferring copyright to AAPT.

Initial submission

Manuscripts are submitted online at the

Please have the following ready: A single .pdf file containing all text, endnotes, figures, and tables, preferably under 1 MB in size. Names and institutions should be removed to allow anonymous review. For advice on creating a .pdf in older software environments, see pdf tips.

Optional: a cover letter (pdf or plain text)
A brief statement explaining why the manuscript is appropriate for publications, based on the guidelines in the Statement of Editorial Policy.
Contact information for scientists who can provide expert and unbiased reviews.

When the manuscript is received, an acknowledgment will be sent to the submitting author that will include an AJP editorial office manuscript number. All further correspondence with the editorial office should be by the submitting author and should use this manuscript number.

If the editor finds that the manuscript does not meet the basic guidelines for publication in AJP then it will be rejected without further review.

If the manuscript is sent out for review, we try to provide a report to authors within one to two months of the date of receipt. Occasionally further delays are unavoidable.

Decision following external review

The Editor informs the corresponding author of the decision, which is based on the reviewer recommendation, the review history, and other factors such as the editor’s observation of the quality of the reviews. For about 60% of the manuscripts sent for review, the recommendations are insufficiently strong to support continued editorial consideration, and the manuscript is rejected. In most other cases, the manuscript will be returned for revision with suggestions and directions for resubmission. In very rare cases the initial reviews are strong enough to support conditional acceptance. Conditional acceptance is an indication that a manuscript has completed the external review process and is now qualified for internal review and editing. Note: No manuscript is "accepted for publication" until it has completed the internal review and editing process.

Optional resubmission

To resubmit, use the same link as for a new submission, but choose "resubmission" in Step 2. You will be prompted for the manuscript number that was assigned on initial submission. For a resubmission, a cover letter is required. It should summarize your revisions and respond to the issues and questions raised by the Editor and/or the reviewers. Upon resubmission the manuscript will usually be sent back to the previous reviewers and sometimes to new reviewers for re-review.

Submitting an editable package for production

If your manuscript is conditionally accepted, the editor will ask you to submit an editable version of your manuscript, along with separate, publication-quality figure files and, if applicable, any supplementary materials. The preferred format is LaTeX, using the most recent REVTeX style. The only acceptable alternative to LaTeX is Microsoft Word .docx format (not .doc), using either the built-in MSWord equation editor or MathType, and only standard fonts. LaTeX users should consult the sample manuscript for instructions about creating an editable copy of the manuscript. If you omitted author identifying information in your initial submission, be sure to restore that information in your editable manuscript. Gather supplementary materials into a folder titled in the form AuthorNameSupplementaryMaterials. Package all of your files (editable manuscript, figures, and folder of supplementary materials) into a single .zip archive, following the instructions under “Formatting the Manuscript.” You will need to submit a pdf version of your manuscript, but in the next step, you will be able to upload the .zip file as an additional submission. Also include a cover letter describing your latest revisions.

Internal review (after conditional acceptance)

Manuscripts are accepted only after the Editor or Associate Editor have edited the manuscript. This additional editorial review is necessary because external reviewers may not provide detailed review or may be too close to the subject of the manuscript to flag portions that are unclear to a more general audience. The editors will work with authors to improve a manuscript's clarity and general readability and to remove redundancy. The process generally includes one or more correspondences asking the author to approve changes, to remove ambiguities, to rewrite sections, to submit better figures, etc. Authors have the final say on all matters including wording and the editors will generally accept an author's preferred language as long as it conforms to accepted standards of English grammar and usage. Once the editors and authors are satisfied with a manuscript, it is accepted for publication and sent to the American Institute of Physics (AIP) for detailed copy editing and publication.

Video abstracts

AJP manuscripts can include video abstracts. See examples here. These can draw readers to the paper, and also help them better understand work that is highly visual. At the time of acceptance, the editor may suggest that a video abstract would be helpful, but the author can also volunteer to prepare one. David Jackson, the video abstracts editor, assists in their preparation.

Final steps after acceptance

The authors must complete either the Exclusive License to Publish or the Open Access Agreement Form. AIPP will send galley proofs to the author within a few weeks of its submission by the editors. (Note that the editors do not normally see the proofs; it is the author’s responsibility to check them carefully.) Reprints may be ordered using the Reprint Order Form.

Please note that the galley proof stage is not a time to make manuscript revisions. Instead, it is a time to find and correct mistakes. A limited number of alterations in proof are unavoidable, but the cost of making extensive corrections and changes after an article has been composed will be charged to the author. Final responsibility for correcting errors lies with the author.

Confidentiality and storage of records

All correspondence related to manuscripts submitted to AJP is maintained for a minimum of five years.

AJP will make all reasonable attempts to maintain confidentiality during the editorial and review process. However, it is impossible to make an absolute guarantee of confidentiality, and authors must agree to hold AJP, AAPT, and our software vendor harmless in the event of any unintended release of confidential information.