APS News

APS Views: FAQs About Electronic Abstracts

By Danita Boonchaisri, APS Meetings Department & Adrienne Mosley Vincent, Electronic Publication Specialist

Abstract season is upon us again in the Meetings Department of the APS. With the deadlines for spring meetings looming, we are readying ourselves for the nearly 9,000 abstracts we will receive electronically over the next couple of months. During this time, we will spool, format, sort, acknowledge, organize, read, file, print, copy, and mutilate (just kidding!) an array of physics research from around the world.

So that you can help us, as well as to ensure that you have a trouble-free electronic submission experience, we offer answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about the process:

How do I begin?

The first thing you'll need to submit an abstract electronically is the electronic template or form. You can receive the template by sending an e-mail to abs-request@aps.org and including the phrase "Request (meeting ID)" in the body of your e-mail. For example, if you are requesting the template for the March 1998 meeting, you would use the phrase "Request MAR98." In response to this request, you will be sent several files, including a README file, instructional file, and the actual template.

How do I find my meeting ID?

The Calendar of Meetings, found on the meeting page of the APS website and the back cover of the APS Meeting News lists meeting IDs next to the meeting name. Meeting ID codes may also be obtained by sending an e-mail message to abs-request@aps.org.

What is LaTeX and do I need to know it to be able to submit an abstract?

No, you do not need to know LaTeX to submit an abstract. You may need to know a few LaTeX commands if your abstract includes subscripts, superscripts, Greek letters or mathematical symbols. A list of common LaTeX commands can be found at /meet/instruct.cfm under the LaTeX Help heading.

How will I know if my abstract is formatted correctly?

You can test your abstract by using the online abstract tester at http://flux.aps.org. The tester will allow you to view your abstract in its final format. You can also make sure that any LaTeX commands you may have used have formatted properly. Soon, the APS will be offering a web-based submission form so that abstracts can be submitted directly from the web. Watch for future announcements!

What is the length limit for abstracts?

Contributed abstracts are limited to 1,300 characters; invited abstracts are limited to 2,000 characters. This limit includes the title, author listings, footnotes, titlenotes, and the abstract body.

How do I submit my completed template?

After completing your template, cut and paste, or write the completed template into a new e-mail message, and send it to abs-submit@aps.org.

How will I know if my abstract has been received?

Within 24 hours of submitting an abstract, you will be notified that we have received a file from you. Within 72 hours, you will be sent a log number assignment. Please remember: these automatic notices are sent to the e-mail address from which the abstract was sent.

What if I discover an error in my abstract after I have submitted it, but before the deadline?

You may resubmit a corrected version of your abstract up to the meeting deadline. You should put a note in the Special Instructions field of your corrected template stating that you are resubmitting an abstract and indicate the log number of the abstract that you are replacing. If no Special Instructions are included, we will use the higher-numbered abstract and ignore all previous submissions with the same title and authors.

What if I have further questions?

The following URL is full of helpful advice - /meet/instruct.cfm. You can also send us an e-mail at abs-help@aps.org or call 301-209-3290.

Do you still accept paper (mailed) abstracts?

Yes, you may submit a paper abstract. However, if an abstract is submitted on paper, only the title and authors will be printed in the meeting program (BAPS). Paper submissions should be sent to the APS Meetings Department, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740-3844. Paper abstracts must be received by the abstract deadline. The APS cannot be responsible for mail delays.

Final Tips
  • DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE! We cannot stress this enough. Our system becomes quite busy during the last hour of a major deadline. The system traffic can drastically reduce the response time of our server. As a result, e-mail messages, including template requests and log number assignments, are often delayed. Send your abstracts early to avoid delays and aggravation. Make sure your meeting ID is correct - for example, MAR98, not APSMAR 98 or MARCH98.
  • Do not delete bracket sets {} or command lines (which start with a "\") in the electronic template. The system requires this information to read the file.
  • Send only uncompressed and unattached files in ASCII format with line breaks. If your word processing program does not allow you to save with line breaks, you will have to manually insert them. Line breaks ensure that the body of your abstract does not truncate before the abstract is complete.
  • Make sure your abstract is correct (i.e. spelling of author names, titles, etc). We cannot accept resubmissions or corrections after the abstract deadline has passed.
  • Send your abstract to the abs-submit@aps.org address; do not simply "reply" to the message that included the template.

Good luck!


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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin