Author Guide

This guide has been written in order to provide assistance to authors submitting papers to IFAC meetings. Using this guide you will be able to prepare your paper in the appropriate form for inclusion in the event Proceedings. The pdf version of this guide can be downloaded here.

Proceedings of IFAC meetings are published online in the IFAC-PapersOnLine series, hosted on the Elsevier ScienceDirect service, which provides open access to the full text of all reviewed papers presented at IFAC events. 

All papers submitted to IFAC technical meetings must be in English and must comply with the IFAC paper layout. The material submitted for presentation at IFAC meetings must be original, not published or being considered for publication elsewhere. Full responsibility for the paper rests with the author, who must have taken the necessary steps to obtain permission to use any material that might be protected by copyright. The authors must grant exclusive publishing rights to IFAC under a CC-BY-NC-ND Creative Commons license at the time of the final submission.

The PaperPlaza Conference Manuscript Management System is used by IFAC to manage paper submissions to all IFAC events. Every participant in a conference is served by the site. The system allows users to:

  • submit their contributions to any event of their choice,
  • inspect the reviews and final decision letter of the submission,
  • resubmit the final version of a submission, and
  • upload comments if the user acts as a reviewer.

1. Templates and support

The simplest way to get the proper format for your paper is to use one of the templates available on the IFAC web site. Templates for LaTeX and Microsoft Word are available. If you want to use another text processor, please refer to the detailed format specifications and make sure that your file complies with them.

Preparing papers using Latex

The LaTeX template package can be downloaded here. The package includes:

  • The ifacconf.cls class style file for papers
  • The ifacconf.tex sample paper file
  • The ifacconf.bst bibliography style file
  • Some auxiliary files

You should have installed an appropriate distribution of LaTeX on your computer before you start using the IFAC LaTeX package. Some well-known examples are MikTex for Microsoft Windows, Tex Live for Linux systems, and MacTex for Mac OS X.

Make sure that your installation uses Type 1 fonts. Older versions of LaTeX used Type 3 (bitmapped) fonts. These fonts are not scalable and may render improperly on the screen or print.

The LaTeX engine should be configured to produce PDF files on A4 paper size. The pdflatex command is the best way to produce PDF files with the right format using the provided template.

Preparing papers using Microsoft Word

The MS Word paper template can be downloaded from the IFAC web site. The package includes:

  • The ifacconf.dotx template file.
  • The ifacconf.docx sample paper file that can also be used as a template.
  • The ifac_sample_office.pdf sample paper file.

You should compose your file using the template and then use the “Save as …” command to save it as a PDF file.


"All publication material submitted for presentation at an IFAC-sponsored meeting (Congress, Symposium, Conference, Workshop) must be original and hence cannot be already published, nor can it be under review elsewhere. The authors take responsibility for the material that has been submitted. IFAC-sponsored conferences will abide by the highest standard of ethical behavior in the review process as explained on the Elsevier webpage (, and the authors will abide by the IFAC publication ethics guidelines (

Accepted papers that have been presented at an IFAC meeting will be published in the proceedings of the event using the open-access IFAC-PapersOnLine series hosted on ScienceDirect ( To this end, the author(s) must grant exclusive publishing rights to IFAC under a Creative Commons license when they submit the final version of the paper. The copyright belongs to the authors, who have the right to share the paper in the same terms allowed by the end user license, and retain all patent, trademark and other intellectual property rights (including research data).”

IFAC License Agreement

Article Sharing Policy

(download pdf)

Prior to submission to an IFAC event

Authors may share their article in the following ways:

  • On the author's personal website or their institution website
  • On institutional or funder websites if required
  • On
  • In the author's own classroom use

This does not count as a prior publication.

Upon submission to an IFAC event

Authors may share or post their submitted version of the article (also known as the pre-print) in the following ways:

  • On the authors personal website or their institution website
  • On institutional or funder websites if required
  • On
  • For the author's own classroom use

The following text should be included on the first page of the posted article: "This work has been submitted to IFAC for possible publication".

Upon acceptance to an IFAC event

If an author previously posted their submitted version of the article in any of the following locations, they can replace the submitted version with the accepted version.

  • Authors personal website or their institution website
  • Institutional or funder websites

The following text should be included on the first page of the posted article: "© 20XX the authors. This work has been accepted to IFAC for publication under a Creative Commons Licence CC-BY-NC-ND".

When the article is published, the posted version should be updated with a full citation to the original IFAC-PapersOnline publication, including DOI.

Final published article

The authors may share the final published article on public non-commercial sites in the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND license (

Additionally, the authors may use the article in a subsequent compilation of their work, or extend it to book length form, or include it in a thesis or dissertation, or otherwise to use or re-use portions or excerpts in other works, for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

All copies of the article should link to the original publication in IFAC PapersOnline via its DOI and have a copyright statement and a reference to the CC-BY-NC-ND license.

Except for such uses, IFAC has the exclusive right to make or sub-license commercial use.

You can download the pdf document here.

3. Ethical guidelines

An excerpt from the Publication Ethics Guidelines document on the perspective of IFAC on ethical guidelines for editors, reviewers and authors follows. For the full document on publication ethics, please refer to the IFAC web site.

Ethical Obligations and Guidelines for Authors

“The nature and complexity of ethical issues depends strongly on the scientific field. It is the goal of IFAC to provide scientific guidelines that are geared towards the special situation in the field of automatic control. This list is based on experience in other scientific fields [1,2]. Authors of scholarly publications in automatic control should adhere to the following ethical guidelines.

  1. An author’s central obligation is to present an accurate and complete account of the research performed, absolutely avoiding deception, including the data collected or used, as well as an objective discussion of the significance of the research [2].
  2. The corresponding author must have the approval of all authors for each submission and the publication of the manuscript.
  3. Ghost authorships and gift authorships are not permitted, i.e., the authors’ list contains all people, and only those people, who have made a noteworthy contribution to the research behind the manuscript and to the manuscript itself. Other contributions should be indicated in a footnote or an “Acknowledgments” section.
  4. The material in any newly submitted paper should be original. If the paper is based on a prior publication, its contents must be substantially different from the previous version. The authors need to indicate how the new paper differs from relevant previous publications. In particular, the additional original contribution in the new paper has to be pointed out explicitly. The previous paper has to be cited and discussed like any other paper in the list of references [3]. This also holds if the previous publication has been published in connection with a conference (conference proceedings, edited book volumes for conferences, etc.).
  5. All material which is based on prior work, including from the same authors, must be properly attributed to the prior publication by proper citation.
  6. The manuscript should not contain any figures or other material copied from anyone else without their written permission and proper citation in the manuscript.
  7. It is the authors’ duty to find and cite the original publications that present closely related work. Furthermore, the authors need to identify the source of all information quoted or offered, except that which is common knowledge.
  8. While criticism regarding the scientific work of others may be appropriate, personal criticism is never acceptable.
  9. Potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise, must be disclosed to the editor with the submission.

10. The research itself, as reported in the manuscript, should have been conducted in accordance with commonly accepted ethical standards.

11. The authors have the obligation to notify the editor immediately should any of the statements in this list cease to be true.

It is the goal of IFAC to regularly monitor whether these criteria are still valid and whether they needed to be adapted changed, or added to.”

[1] Shewan, L. & Coats, A., Ethics in the authorship and publishing of scientific articles, International Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 144, 2010, pp 1-2.

[2] Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2012.

[3] Adapted from Automatica “Information for Authors”

4. IFAC paper style and layout

All papers submitted to IFAC technical meetings must comply with the IFAC paper layout. Template files are also available for some common word processing tools.

A summary of the main layout characteristics follows.

Paper length and file size

Regular papers must be between 4 (minimum) and 6 (maximum) pages in the final version. Check the conference site for special rules that may apply. PDF files will be limited to 2 MB in size.

Page size and margins

  • A4 paper (210 ´ 297 mm)
  • Margins:
    • First page: top 35 mm, bottom 25 mm, left/right 15 mm.
    • Other pages: top 25 mm, bottom 25 mm, left/right 15 mm.
  • Main text is two columns, with a 5 mm gap between columns.
  • No headers, footers, or page numbers.

Title page

The title page must contain the following items, centred on the page with a left and right margin of 30 mm (i.e. a maximum width of 150 mm):

  • Title, with a maximum of 10 words, 14 pt Times boldface.
  • Author names, 10 pt Times boldface.
  • Author affiliations, 10 pt Times italic.
  • An abstract with 50–100 words.
  • A list of 5–10 keywords.

The abstract and keywords should be separated from the previous and following text by a pair of full width (150 mm) horizontal lines and an 8 pt vertical space.

The rest of the title page is body text, formatted in two columns as detailed below.

Text format

  • Times Roman 10 pt, or equivalent font, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
  • All paragraphs must be justified, if possible.
  • Single line spacing.
  • The first line of a paragraph should not be indented.
  • 8 pt additional vertical space between paragraphs.
  • Avoid hyphenation at the end of a line.

Section headings

  • Section headings must be centred, in capital letters, and numbered consecutively, starting with 1.
  • Sub-section headings should be in capital and lower-case italic letters, numbered 1.1, 1.2, etc, and left justified, with second and subsequent lines indented.


  • All tables should be numbered with Arabic numerals.
  • Headings should be placed above tables, underlined and centred.
  • Leave one line space between the heading and the table.


  • All photographs, schemas, graphs and diagrams are to be referred to as figures.
  • Lettering and symbols should be clearly defined either in the caption or in a legend provided as part of the figure.
  • Figures should be placed at the top or bottom of a column wherever possible, as close as possible to the first reference to them in the paper.
  • Figures should be restricted to single-column width unless this would make them illegible.
  • The figure number and caption should be typed below the illustration, left justified, with subsequent lines indented.


  • Equations should be numbered with Arabic numerals.
  • SI units should be used for physical magnitudes. All non-standard abbreviations or symbols must be defined when first mentioned, or a glossary provided.


  • In the text the surname of the author and the year of publication of the reference should be given.
  • Two or more references by the same authors published in the same year should be differentiated by letters a,b,c etc.
  • For references with more than two authors, text citations should be shortened to the first name followed by et al.
  • Only essential references, which are directly referred to in the text, should be included in the reference list.
  • References must be listed in alphabetical order at the end of the paper. References to the same author(s) should be in chronological order.
    • Journal references should include:
      • author’s surname and initials;
      • initials and surnames of remaining authors;
      • year of publication (in brackets);
      • article title (where provided);
      • abbreviated journal title (in italics);
      • volume number and page numbers.
      • References to books should include:
        • author’s surname and initials;
        • initials and surnames of remaining authors;
        • year of publication (in brackets);
        • book title (in italics);
        • name of the publisher and place of publication.
      • References to multi-author works should include after the year of publication:
        • chapter title (where provided);
        • "In:" followed by book title (in italics);
        • initials and name(s) of editors(s) in brackets;
        • volume number and pages;
        • name of the publisher and place of publication.

5. PDF specifications

PDF (Portable Document Format) is an open standard, developed by Adobe Systems, which has become the preferred format for electronic publishing on the Internet. PDF enables documents to be stored in a platform and device independent format, ensuring that the appearance of the document is the same when read on different computer systems. PDF documents can be read on a variety of freely available viewers, including Adobe Reader, Foxit Reader and Apple Preview, among others,

PDF has evolved with time, and different versions of the standard have been produced. Furthermore, there are optional settings that may affect portability, and some of the enhanced characteristics that have been added to the basic PDF format can make it difficult to read PDF files on some computer platforms. In order to ensure that the paper files stored in the IFAC PapersOnLine site can be read with the highest quality on all computer platforms, and that IFAC papers can be efficiently searched, PDF files containing papers submitted to IFAC meetings are required to comply with a set of specifications, which are listed below. Some PDF characteristics are required for the file to be published in IFAC PapersOnLine, while others are recommended for best quality presentation.

Required PDF file properties

  • A4 paper size (210 ´ 297 mm).
  • PDF version 1.4 (Acrobat 5) or PDF/A.
  • All fonts must be embedded in the file.  Subsetting fonts is recommended.
    This also applies to so-called base 14 fonts (Times, Helvetica, Courier, Symbol and ZapfDingbats) or their equivalent (Times New Roman, Arial, Courier New, etc.).
  • Only scalable fonts can be accepted. Type 3 (bitmap) fonts are not allowed.
  • Fonts that require non-English language support (e.g. CJK fonts) are not allowed.
  • The file must contain searchable text. Scanned files are not acceptable.
  • The document must not have any password protection.
  • The document must not have any links or bookmarks..

Recommended PDF properties

  • Subset all fonts if less than a 100% of the characters are used.
  • The file should be optimized for a faster viewing on the web.
  • The print Resolution should be set to 600 dpi.
  • Color/Grayscale Images: Bicubic Downsampling at 300dpi.
  • Compression for Color Images: JPEG/Medium Quality.
  • Monochrome Images: Bicubic Downsampling at 600dpi.
  • Compression for Monochrome Images: CCITT Group 4.
  • Compress Text and Line Art: Yes.
The file settings can be checked by opening the “Document properties” window in Adobe Reader®.

6. License agreement

You can download a pdf copy of the License Agreement form here.