Non-English language fonts can halt peer-review

November 12, 2015

Dr. Jennifer C van Velkinburgh, Filipodia Publishing



Non-English language fonts are defined as “illegal” in the English language software versions that almost all journal reviewers and publishers use; they show up as white blank boxes on the screen and in print, complicating the review process and frustrating the journal reviewers. Therefore, these characters must be replaced with an English language font so that a future journal reviewer does not receive a copy of the manuscript with a bunch of missing information.


But is there any good way to train the eye to identify them? Yes.


Some tips are as follows:

  • The spacing on the non-English characters (such as Simsun) is visually wider than for regular characters, so it will look like there is a regular space before and after the character, when in actuality there aren’t any spaces at all.
  • The Simsun characters are most often symbols, such as measurement units (e.g. the temperature degree symbol combined with a capital “C”), mathematical signs (e.g. the greater than or less than signs (>, <), the equal sign [=], the approximation sign [?]), punctuation marks (i.e. parentheses, periods, commas), and Greek alphabet letters (e.g. alpha [?], beta [?], chi [?], etc.).