The Overleaf LaTeX Validation Service is a fully automated LaTeX compilation service delivering consistency and quality control for publishers, providing speed, simplicity and peace of mind for authors. In this post we explain how it can benefit your organization through workflow efficiencies and providing world-class services and support to your authoring community.

Introduction

The Overleaf LaTeX Validation Service provides a fully automated LaTeX compilation and validation solution which can be configured and delivered to your authors in different ways. It offers a robust solution to the challenges of managing LaTeX submissions, allowing publishers and other third parties to use the Overleaf technology and servers to handle all of their LaTeX compilations automatically, via a managed Application Programming Interface (API).

Publishers can choose to implement the service though:

  • the validation service API, creating a full integration into new or existing article submission workflows, or
  • as a standalone service via a (publisher-branded) web interface to allow authors to submit manuscripts for LaTeX validation themselves, at any time.

Publishers can also work with Overleaf to enhance the core service through bespoke processing options to meet publisher-specific validation and workflow requirements.

Backed by our robust, auto-scaling technology

The Overleaf LaTeX Validation Service is built using Overleaf’s highly scalable, field-tested and proven technology—to date over 20 billion LaTeX pages have been typeset using our platforms. Not only that, those pages cover a huge variety in type of content: with some two million registered users from countries all across the globe, our infrastructure has processed millions of LaTeX documents containing innumerable combinations of packages, document classes, languages and fonts used in conjunction with all major TeX engines—pdfTeX, XeTeX and LuaTeX.

By providing fully supported API access to our compilers, this new service is designed to extend out those technology benefits and experience to the wider authoring and publishing community.

The core Overleaf LaTeX Validation Service: How does it work?

The specifics of the workflow will depend upon the type of integration you choose to implement but the core service works as follows:

  1. authors upload their LaTeX and supporting files for compilation;
  2. the LaTeX manuscript is compiled and the resulting PDF is returned to the author (and other output files, such as .bbl files, if required), if the compile was successful;
  3. the author is provided with the status of the compilation, and if there was a compilation error, provide that author with any error messages reported by LaTeX;
  4. optionally, the author is provided with the opportunity to open their files in Overleaf, to use the user-friendly Overleaf interface to immediately find and fix errors in the document, and resubmit through the validation service.

Additional pre- or post-processing checks specific to a particular publishing workflow can also be added; please contact us if you have particular requirements you’d like to discuss.

Submission of files

The file submission process will depend on how the validation service has been integrated into your workflows. It can be set up as a standalone service, where the author can upload files for LaTeX validation via a web-based interface or “Upload for Validation” button. Or it can be set up to automatically validate any files “behind the scenes” via an automatic API from your submission process—forming an integral part of your main journal submission procedures.

Correcting errors in files that don’t pass validation

This too will depend on the specifics of your preferred integration—the most basic option requires authors to fix the files locally and re-upload them for additional validation. An enhanced service option provides authors with an “Open in Overleaf” button to open files on Overleaf and use our LaTeX editing platform to quickly find and fix errors, before resubmitting through the validation service.

Metrics and analytics

Overleaf provides metrics and analytics on the validation service results for your organization. This includes a web interface for staff to view reports on statistics such as the number of compilations processed each day and the number of successful or failed compilations.

Additional service options

Publishers and organizations requiring a more comprehensive solution for their authors can enhance the core service through a number of options.

Provide an “Open in Overleaf” button

If a file fails to validate, authors can be provided with a facility to open their LaTeX file on Overleaf, to use the user-friendly interface to quickly find and fix errors in the document, and resubmit through the validation service.

It can save a lot of time and frustration on all sides, especially if authors are traveling and do not have access to a LaTeX installation—for example, when attending a conference or working at another institution.

Example integration (above): The optional “Open in Overleaf” facility allowing authors to open their LaTeX files as an Overleaf project to quickly find and fix any errors reported by LaTeX.

Offer LaTeX author support

A comprehensive LaTeX support service is also available as part of the Overleaf LaTeX Validation Service, allowing publishers and other organizations to outsource author support to Overleaf—recognised and trusted by the authoring community.

  • No more technical support calls about LaTeX installations, no need to worry about Windows, Linux or Mac OS—take full advantage of Overleaf’s technical support to deliver an outstanding service to your authors and editors alike.

It’s worth noting that the LaTeX environment isn’t static: the ecosystem and infrastructure of TeX engines, LaTeX packages and the tools freely available to authors continue to evolve through upgrades and new releases. Overleaf’s team stay up-to-date with developments in LaTeX-based technology so that you don’t have to.

Provide a hosted web interface to the validation service

The Overleaf LaTeX Validation Service can be provided through a (publisher-branded) web interface to allow authors to submit manuscripts themselves, at any time.

Integrate with submission systems and provide re-submission support

Overleaf can also integrate the validation service with your manuscript submission management system, to allow direct access between your system and the Overleaf LaTeX Validation Service, including for re-submissions. No need for authors to separately download/re-upload files, or re-key metadata.

Develop custom workflows and integrations

The Overleaf LaTeX Validation Service can be customized to provide publishers with bespoke workflows and specialized validation and processing.

What benefits might you see?

  • improved completeness of submissions by helping authors to consistently submit all necessary files—decreasing the time required to chase authors for missing files and information;
  • receiving LaTeX files that are technically up-to-date and able to compile without errors—reducing time required to debug files and/or pass files back to authors for updates;
  • reduction in workloads for editorial and production staff leading to reduced publication times by catching errors far earlier in the publication process;
  • improvements in the quality of PDF files submitted—particularly useful for conference proceedings publication and journals/publishers with “PDF-only on first submission” workflows;
  • being seen as a technology innovator and delivering high quality support and services to your author community.

Interested?

The Overleaf LaTeX Validation Service can be implemented and integrated in various ways, depending on the needs and requirements of your organization and workflows. If you would like to discuss how it can work for you please contact us via sales@overleaf.com for further information.

Read the original post over on Overleaf’s blog.