Moon LDF (2017) Figshare Guide to managing Supplementary Material v2.pdf (964.83 kB)

How to save time and reduce frustration when writing manuscripts by using customised Captions to manage the numbering, citation and renaming of Supplementary Materials

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journal contribution
posted on 04.01.2017, 20:13 by Lawrence Moon

This manuscript describes a simple method for writing a manuscript which saves time, money and frustration. I show how to generate customised Caption Labels (e.g., “Extended Data”, “Supplementary Figure”, “Supplementary Note” or “Supplemental Table”). Each Caption Label is numbered automatically according to its type and order in the text (e.g., “Supplementary Video 1”). I show how to convert one type of Caption Label to another (e.g., turn all “Extended Data” into conventional “Figures”). Finally, I show how one can insert, delete or re-order material using cut-and-paste such that all the numbering (in Figure Legends and in the main body of the text) is updated automatically with two clicks. This method works in Microsoft Word and a similar feature is available in Open Office. The Figures and additional material for a manuscript can be converted into a different format in a few minutes. 

This method should help researchers save thousands of hours and tax dollars. This is because different journals have different in-house styles. Collectively, researchers waste thousands of hours when re-submitting manuscripts to different journals because they have to convert one type of Caption Label into another type and then usually have to manually re-number each item in the text. 

For example, some journals have no limit to the number of Figures allowed in a manuscript whereas others are more restrictive but allow Supplementary Information: however, whereas some journals allow inclusion of “Extended Data” (Nature), other journals preclude any form of “Supplemental Information” (e.g., Journal of Neuroscience), whilst others allow “Supplemental Information” (Cell) or “Supplementary Information” (Science).