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Because That Would Make Too Much Sense

Microsoft Word and other word processing programs have been around for quite some time now — enough that most researchers are fairly familiar with it — and so DrugMonkey wonders why manuscript submission policies still say that figures must be submitted in a separate document from the text. "Even with the considerable limitations of Microsoft Word and my own skills with it, I've been able to insert figures more or less where I want them in my grant applications for years. Over a decade," he writes, adding that most of the researchers whose grants he has reviewed have also been able to do that. "Why not allow the authors to format the manuscript in a pdf with the figures inserted as the authors feel best?"

Thomas Mailund "couldn't agree more," as he writes at his blog, adding:

When reviewing, I would prefer to have a version of the manuscript as close to the formatting it will finally appear in, but I realize that isn't necessarily easy if authors use different word processing systems where not all can get a template that gets close to the final form, but at least we could get the figures in the text close to where they are referred to so I don't have to check three different places every time a figure referred to (the main text, the sheet with the figure legends, and the actual figure).