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 an Associate Editor who you would like to oversee the peer review process for your manuscript. Manuscripts will then be sent to 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. 

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.

Appeals and Complaints

All appeals and complaints should be sent to the editorial office by email,, and will be considered by the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) unless the EIC has a conflict of interest, in which case an Associate Editor (AE) will handle the issue. The Editor-in-Chief (who is elected for a 5-year term by the ARVO society members) has the final say when considering all complaints and appeals of decisions. Many manuscripts are rejected by the EIC, in consultation with an AE, without external peer-review based on a judgment that they do not fit the scope or quality standards of the journal. These assessments are unlikely to change on appeal. Similarly, a decision obtained after a well conducted peer-review process is not often overturned by the EIC. A well-founded appeal should clearly describe why specific grounds for a decision are demonstrably wrong. All appeal decisions are made by the EIC and are final.

Post-Publication Corrections and Commentary

All issues relating to published articles should be reported by email, When a corresponding author reports an error in their published article it can usually be corrected by publishing an Erratum and making changes to the article. When the change is straightforward (e.g. misspelling of an author name, correction of grant information, etc.) it may be done by journal staff. When a change requested by an author is more significant (especially when related to the science) it will be brought to the attention of the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) who will oversee the correction process. Significant issues in a published article that require correction may also be reported by a reader (who is not an author of the article) to the editorial office. These will always be considered first by the EIC, and the authors of the article will be contacted before a final decision about a correction is made by the EIC. (The identity of the person reporting the issue will not be shared with the authors of the article) In rare cases, when the validity of the article is sufficiently compromised, a Retraction will be considered. Letters to the Editor (as described above) will also be considered as a way of expressing alternative points of view that are of significant scientific interest to the community served by the journal. Clear significant errors in articles, no matter how they are reported, are usually better corrected by publishing Errata and making changes to the articles.

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. It should also include funding information and commercial relationships disclosures.

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 can be published as either play-in-place within the article or Supplementary Material. Updated March 2021: Play-in-place movies are no longer supported in the article PDF, but should work in the HTML version of the article. Play-in-place movies should be submitted as mp4 files. Movies that are Supplementary Material should be submitted in a common format that most readers will be able view.

Acknowledgments and References

Acknowledgments 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.

Use of Copyrighted Material/Images of Faces

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 as well as from any actors whose faces appear in the images. You may scan the permission agreement and upload it as part of your manuscript. If you are including images of unobscured faces, you must contact the persons whose faces are shown and obtain written permission from them (or their guardians) to publish their images in your article. 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.

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.

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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