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About the Style Manual

A Word About APS Style

Implementing and maintaining a correct house style APS style is an important part of the copy editor's task. The style chosen by APS has been carefully developed by several generations of editors and has over the years contributed to the uniqueness of our publications and their quality.

However important the style may be, it can never obscure the principal goal of copyediting: that of delivering a clear, cohesive, and error-free publication that accurately represents the intended intellectual content.

Hence, it is of paramount importance that the copy editor's changes do not alter the meaning of the author's statements or the values of the data reported. For example, if the author has misused caps with units of measure and typed KHz for kHz, the copy editor might think that the unit μS should also be changed to μs, because microseconds is much more common as a unit than microsiemens. If the copy editor does not have a full understanding of the subject matter, making such a "logical" change for consistency may  seriously change the reporting of data.

If there is any question about a change, the copy editor should determine whether there are only a few occurrences or many throughout the paper. If there are few, no changes should be made; instead, a query to the author would be appropriate. If there are many occurrences, an e-mail should be sent to the author asking to confirm or correct what was found, to avoid multiple changes at the page proof stage. It also affords the chance to learn information useful in future editing.

What is the APS Style Manual?

The APS Style Manual is an evolving, comprehensive compendium of information needed to transform an accepted paper, submitted to any of the APS journals, into a published article, either in print or online.

The APS Style Manual is a proprietary online tool developed to facilitate copy editors' access to the style, usage, grammar, and terminology used in APS Journals and to further improve the consistency and quality of the APS publications.

Who are the Manual's users?

The primary users of the Manual are the editorial staff of the APS family of journals: AJP, JAP, PRV, PG, JN, Advances, and NIPS. However, significant portions of the Manual may be found useful by other APS Publications staff members and by the scientific editors and authors; for that reason, some portions of the Manual will be made available on the Web.

The Manual is fully searchable, allowing the copy editor to quickly access the vast amount of information it contains.

What is in the APS Style Manual?

Parts of the Manuscript guides the reader through all the components of a scientific paper as encountered in the APS journals. It includes details of style as well as examples and exceptions, and instructions for copyediting the manuscript using the APS Toolkit.

Mechanics of Style is a primer on basic punctuation, capitalization, spelling, grammar, and usage, and discusses how those rules apply (and, sometimes, do not apply) to APS house style specifically.

Resources is a repository for lists of useful information, such as manufacturers' websites, locations of major publisher, examples of the different types of articles we publish, and a very comprehensive glossary of abbreviations and terminology commonly used.

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last edited 07/23/03