Write scientific papers in LaTeX, with figures generated in Python or Matlab: Best practices, tools and tips & tricks

April 4, 2019, 10:48 a.m. By: Kirti Bakshi


This repository comprises a list of tools, best practices, tips and other guidelines that might turn out to be useful when writing scientific papers. While Some are just a matter of style, it is well taken into consideration that people prefer to do things differently, but here they are listed anyway in order to just have a consistent guide.

So, you are free to adapt, change, ignore, or even challenge everything mentioned!

But before we move ahead, what is LaTeX?

LaTeX is a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting that is most often used for medium-to-large technical or scientific documents but it can be used for almost any form of publishing.

Not being a word processor, LaTeX, instead encourages authors not to worry too much about the appearance of their documents but to concentrate on getting the right content and is based on the idea that it is better to leave document design to document designers and to let authors get on with writing documents.

Features OF LaTeX:

  • Typesetting journal articles, technical reports, books, and slide presentations.

  • Control over large documents containing sectioning, cross-references, tables and figures.

  • Typesetting of complex mathematical formulas.

  • Advanced typesetting of mathematics with AMS-LaTeX.

  • Automatic generation of bibliographies and indexes.

  • Multi-lingual typesetting.

  • Using PostScript or Metafont fonts.

Now, What are the tools, best practices, tips and other guidelines useful/important when writing scientific papers?

Given below is a carefully curated list of the tools, best practices, tips and other guidelines that might turn out to be useful when writing scientific papers:

1. Typesetting your paper:

Typesetting is the composition of text by means of arranging the types, i.e., letters and symbols. It is well understood that beautiful typography makes documents easier and more pleasant to read, therefore, helping the reader to get to the message.

You can make the use of the below tips in order to do so:

  • One Sentence Per Line

  • Capitalization

  • Tables

  • Number Formatting

2. Mathematical Notation:

When writing equations, it is much helpful to have a way of writing matrices, variables, vectors, etc that is coherent and consistent. It helps the reader to identify what you are talking about and remembering the semantics of each symbol.

The following rules are proposed for writing math:

  • Lowercase italic for variables

  • Lowercase italic bold for vectors

  • Uppercase italic bold for matrices

  • Uppercase italic for random variables

Following are the tips you can make use of in order to do so:

  • Define custom commands

  • Making the use of correct notation for columns et elements

3. Bibliography:

  • Back-references: For documents, such as a master or PhD thesis, it can be useful to have backreferences in the bibliography, in order to show where a reference was cited.

  • References: Mentioning References of the source you made use of.

4. Creating Figures:

Figures play a very important role in the majority of papers: they are your way of communicating your results. You should always think about what you are trying to put forward or communicate with each figure, and make sure that there is just enough information to support your message.

Also, Figures should also not be too complex: it is better to have several figures conveying every one or two messages than one big messy figure.

You can make the use of the below tips in order to do so:

  • One script per data-driven figure

  • Python helper script

  • Figures format

  • Rasterize parts of the figure

Given above is just an abstract, for further and in detail information of the tips and tricks mentioned, one can go through the link mentioned below:

Source and Information: GitHub