Submitting Manuscripts for Peer Review


The Peer Review Process

Submitted manuscripts are uploaded electronically where they will be viewed initially by journal staff and processed through iThenticate, a plagiarism detection software. If any components are found to be missing, the manuscript will be returned electronically to the corresponding author with instructions on how to correct the problem.

Submit new manuscripts to, our manuscript tracking and peer review system.

When submitting your manuscript, please select either the Editor-in-Chief or an Associate Editor who you would like to oversee the peer review process for your manuscript. (Please note: all Methods papers should be directed to Associate Editor Denis Pelli.) Manuscripts will then be sent to the Editor-in-Chief or the Associate Editor of your preference, who will assign an Editorial Board Member to act on the manuscript or they may act as the Editorial Board Member themselves. The Editorial Board Member will determine the suitability of the paper for the journal. 

JoV receives many more submissions that can be published and will return without review manuscripts that do not have a strong chance of acceptance, either because the topics are outside the bounds of the journal, or because of questions about the scientific significance.  The Editor-in-Chief is authorized to render an immediate "reject" decision on manuscripts without review should they deem them unsuitable or inappropriate. 

Editors-in-Chief are authorized to render an immediate "reject" decision on manuscripts without review should they deem them unsuitable or inappropriate.

If the submission is approved and an Associate Editor (or the Editor-in-Chief) and an Editorial Board Member is assigned, then generally a manuscript is sent to two reviewers to assess its strengths and weaknesses. Reviewers make recommendations on the suitability of the manuscript for the journal based on several criteria, e.g., appropriateness for the journal and its readership.

Reviewers do not render final decisions; only the editors can make such decisions.

Authors can check the status of their papers in review by logging on to the online submission system. After the editor has read the reviews, a decision is issued to the author by email. The email will contain the comments from the reviewers as well as the editors. In some cases a reviewer may upload a review in a pdf format to more clearly present special characters, figures, etc. The pdf file will be attached to the email, but will not be viewable in the Author Center.

Manuscript Submission Site

Manuscript submission site:

Authors may submit a single pdf file containing all text and figures. If original files are uploaded, the submission system will convert them to a single pdf for review.


In general, JOV follows the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association Sixth Edition with regard to usage and style for statistical symbols. All symbols should be type-set in italics. Some of the more common symbols are: df, F, MSE, N, p, SD, SE, and SEM.

Title Page and Abstract

The title page should contain the Title, Author(s), Department, Institution, City, State (optional), Country, URL (optional), and email (optional) and should be included with the main manuscript file.

Abstracts should be approximately 200 words in length.

Manuscript Structure

Authors should organize their paper using the following structure:

  • Title
  • Author, Department, Institution, City, State (optional), Country, URL (optional), and email (optional)
  • Abstract (approximately 200 words in length)
  • Keywords
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • Acknowledgments
  • Appendix (optional)
  • Footnotes (discouraged)
  • References

The manuscript text should be 1.5 spaced, and the lines and pages should be numbered (page and line numbers help reviewers to make specific comments.)


Journal of Vision accommodates math of two sorts: display equations, which are set off on a separate line and are usually numbered, and inline math, consisting of mathematical expressions within a line of text. Both types of material can be handled in either of two ways: using MathType (or equivalently, Equation Editor), or using text and the Symbol font. Each approach has its pros and cons, but for all but the simplest display equations, we recommend the MathType solution. Among other advantages, the default fonts and styles used by MathType conform to the conventions followed by Journal of Vision for mathematical material. For inline math, text is preferred.

JOV follows standard scholarly publishing conventions for mathematical fonts and styles.

Our standards include the following:

Scalar variables: Times italic, lowercase a
Numbers: Times normal 3
Function names: Times normal sin
Vectors: Times bold, lowercase b
Matrices: Times bold, uppercase K

  1. Use 11 point type for all math if using text.
  2. Avoid multi-letter text names for new function names, variables, or subscripts; instead use single characters and define in the text.
  3. Avoid the use of "*" for multiplication.
  4. Every significant equation should be numbered.
  5. Display equations are considered part of the text, and as such should include appropriate punctuation. If they conclude a sentence, they should be followed with a period.

Tables and Figures

Tables should be inserted into the text near to where it is first mentioned. Do not include a box around the table, and do not separate each row and column with a line. Use lines only to separate header rows or columns, or significant groupings of data. A caption should follow the table.

Figures should be placed in the manuscript after the paragraph in which it is first mentioned. Figures should be numbered sequentially in order of appearance. Do not place the figure within a text box or frame, and do not insert as a floating object. A caption should follow the figure.

Preparing your graphics properly is an important step to completing your submission successfully. Read more on how to create graphics properly and in the correct format.


When choosing an application to use in plotting data, make sure that it can produce vector art files (PICT, EPS, PDF). Examples are MATLAB, Mathematica, Excel, Adobe Illustrator, as well as many plotting programs.

Our general philosophy is that graphs are pictures of data, and that extraneous elements should be eliminated.

The following are some general rules for graphs:

  1. Use the Helvetica font.
  2. Use approximately 10-point type for axis numbers, and 12-point type for axis labels.
  3. The type should be about the size of type in the body text, when the figure is created at the desired size.
  4. Do not use boldface.
  5. Do not use too wide a range of font sizes (less than a range of 8 points).
  6. Do not use 3D shapes for 2D data.
  7. Do not use bar charts when line graphs will do.
  8. Do not place a title at the top of the figure; this should go in the figure caption.
  9. Do not draw lines or shadows around the outside of the figure.
  10. Use color to distinguish data series, or for other useful didactic purposes, but not for decoration.
  11. Capitalize the first letter of the first word in the axis labels.
  12. If the axis labels include units, place them in parentheses.
  13. Avoid repeating axis labels in multi-panel figures.


Movies are particularly well suited to depicting stimuli used in vision science experiments. They may also be used to illustrate an apparatus, procedure, or even experimental results, such as eye-movement traces. Authors are encouraged to consider whether a movie would enhance the communication of their ideas. Movies should be submitted in a common format that most readers will be able view.

Acknowledgements and References

Acknowledgements should be written in the third person and should be limited to colleagues and research assistants. Acknowledgements are not meant to recognize appreciation for personal or manuscript production support. Including dedications to individuals or groups is not permitted by ARVO journal policy. It may also be used to acknowledge support from granting agencies.

The complete references for all cited materials should appear in a separate section at the end of the article and should be listed alphabetically by authors and date. References should be formatted according to the APA style. Consult any paper in the journal for examples of APA style. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of references.

Articles from JOV should be cited using the format that appears on the abstract page of the article, under the heading "Citation." This format includes the URL and the DOI of the article. To resolve any DOI, use

Appendix is optional, and footnotes are discouraged.


If you plan to include figures, photographs, or tables from other publications, obtain written permission from the copyright holder to reprint such items, and submit this permission to the Editorial Office. This includes any images gathered from the internet that you used as stimuli and now plan to include in your article. If you used movies or TV shows as stimuli, you may not include clips or stills in your manuscript unless you have obtained permission from the copyright holder. You may scan the permission agreement and upload it as part of your manuscript. If photographs of human subjects who participated in the study are included for publication, then please forward a copy of the signed permission statement. A form may be downloaded here.

Manuscript Types

Articles present new data in one or more areas of vision research and are written concisely for a broad rather than a highly specialized audience. To be considered for publication, papers that are merely descriptions of new methods must be exceptional contributions, with implications extending beyond the particular applied area. Summaries of meetings/symposia, case reports, obituaries, and general review articles are not considered.

The journal welcomes submission of Letters to the Editor to be considered for publication. Letters may concern material published in the journal or issues of general interest to vision scientists. Letters about material published in the journal may correct errors or offer different points of view, clarification, or additional information or analyses in a civil manner. Letters will be evaluated for their scientific merit, technical quality, and significance. Letters whose arguments or conclusions require support from experimental evidence or theoretical analyses are more appropriate as regular submissions and may be declined without review. Authors whose article is discussed in a Letter will be given an opportunity to reply.

Methods are articles describing substantial advances rather than incremental improvements in existing methods. The methods described should serve a broad or important purpose within vision science. We encourage submission of supplementary materials, such as computer code or online demonstrations that implement or demonstrate the methods. Articles that primarily report new data or theory should not be submitted to the Methods section. Any commercial interest by an author in the methods described should be clearly stated in the cover letter and in the acknowledgments. Commercial interests are not a bar but they may be considered during review for publication.

Point/CounterPoint are 2 invited articles with opposing views on a specific current topic. The articles will be peer-reviewed. Each article should be 2-3 pages (final PDF pages).

Perspectives are personal viewpoints on topics with broad interest (mini-editorial). Articles will be peer-reviewed. They may be up to 4 pages (final PDF pages), including art and tables.

Emerging Trends in Vision Science is a focused review of a key development in visual science.

Authors who wish to write an Emerging Trends review should submit a proposal to the Editor-in-Chief which addresses the following:

  • What is the emergent trend?
  • Why is it an emergent trend?
  • Why are you qualified to write it?
  • General interest to the readership of JOV

Guidelines for the Emerging Trends are the same as for a Review, with these minor variations:

  • Provide a list of recent references (at least 10).
  • Keep it brief, normally within 6 printed pages.
  • Authors are encouraged to use graphical devices, (movies, figures, text boxes, etc.) within the 6 page guidelines.
  • When appropriate, authors may speculate on future developments.

Reviews are meant to sum up the current state of the research on an important topic and are regarded as being the first place to get authoritative information about that topic. They should contain new insights on the topic or provide a new synthesis of data.

Review articles should inform the reader about:

  • the main contributors to the field
  • recent major advances and discoveries
  • significant gaps in knowledge
  • current debates in the area
  • ideas of where research might go next

Authors who wish to write a Review should submit a proposal to the Editor-in-Chief which addresses the following:

  • title
  • justification for a Review at this time on the topic selected
  • a rough outline
  • a firm date for submission of the completed work, should the Senior Editor accept the proposal
Please consider the following issues when writing the manuscript:
  • Make sure the review is up to date.
  • Consideration of the topic should be comprehensible.
  • The review should contain new insights or provide a new synthesis of data.
  • The discussion should be fair and balanced in both the work cited and the presentation of conclusions, and any competing commercial interests should be declared.
  • Recommendations for future research should be realistic and innovative.
  • Preferably, the title should catch the reader’s attention and be clearly focused on the subject of the review.
  • The figures should be clear and aid the reader in understanding the topic.
  • The review must highlight and critically analyze the appropriate references, especially those of other laboratories.
  • Overall, the review should significantly advance understanding by providing new insights and perspectives, not just be a summary of the literature.

Special Issues

Journal of Vision Special Collection:

A Dress Rehearsal for Vision Science

In late February and early March 2015, an image of a dress circulated widely on the internet. Different people saw very different colors in the dress (white-gold, blue-black, and blue-brown were among the most commonly reported); some reported that the colors changed from time to time with continued viewing.

The dress image triggered enthusiastic but informal discussion in the vision community (over 140 messages on CVNET in 10 days) concerning the marked individual differences and bi-stability reported.

Now it is time to address the dress.  What can we learn from this particular image? To what extent can we predict what individuals will see given known individual differences in color vision? Which aspects of the spatial and spectral structure of the image contribute to the phenomena? Can we develop a range of images that exhibit similar phenomena? How can we use such images to test existing vision theory?  This special issue will feature papers on these and related topics.  Particularly encouraged are studies that leverage measurements and understanding of how the dress and related images are perceived to identify and clarify general principles of color vision.

Submissions to the special issue will open immediately and remain open for some time to allow full development of novel work, until October 1, 2016 (deadline has been extended).  Each paper will be published in the Journal of Vision upon acceptance, and the special issue papers will be collected together for ready access through a single indexing portal supported by the journal.

Guest Editors:

  • Sarah Allred (white-gold)
  • Bart Anderson (bistable)
  • David H. Brainard (depends on the display)
  • Karl Gegenfurtner (white-gold)
  • Laurence T. Maloney (blue-brown)

Resources and Tools

The following are a number of applications that may be useful in the preparation of a JOV article.

Adobe Acrobat This program reads and writes PDF files. A free Acrobat Reader can only read files, while a plug-in PDF Viewer allows reading of PDF files from within a browser.

Adobe Illustrator This program can create and edit vector art and can read and write EPS files.

Adobe LiveMotion This program is useful for creating animated GIF icons. It enables the preparation of a movie through assembly of various graphic elements, which can then be saved as an animated GIF.

Adobe Photoshop This program creates and edits raster images.

APA Publication Manual This is an excellent guide to the conventions followed by Journals of the American Psychological Association (APA). JOV follows these conventions in most respects. The book may be purchased online.

AppleWorks AppleWorks is an office application suite from Apple Computer.

EndNote This program formats bibliographic references in designated styles. It can also maintain a personal bibliographic database, and can fetch references from online databases such as PubMed.

Equation Editor Equation Editor is a built-in equation editor in Microsoft Word.

GraphicConverter This inexpensive program is very useful for editing raster graphic images, for converting between image formats, and for creating animated GIF icons.

Mathematica A high level mathematical programming environment with excellent graphics capabilities. It can be used to create graphs, images, and movies.

MathType MathType is an equation editor that works with Microsoft Word as well as other word-processing applications.

MATLAB A mathematical programming environment that is specialized for discrete math and matrix manipulation. It has excellent graphics capabilities and can be used to create graphs, images, and movies.

Microsoft Word A word-processing application. We accept manuscripts formatted as an Microsoft Word file, which usually has the extension .doc.

QuickTime Pro QuickTime Player is a QuickTime media player from Apple Computer. A “pro” version is available at a modest charge which allows further editing of QuickTime files.


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