Common Problems in Formatting ICML-2000 Papers

The following is a list of common problems found in papers submitted to ICML-2000. Give them a quick read to be sure you've avoided these common pitfalls. If you have any questions, please send email to

Titles and sections

  1. For paper titles that take two lines, break the title into two lines of roughly equal length (LaTeX has a tendency to place a single word on the second line).
  2. Give each author's complete physical address, including the department or any other information needed when sending physical mail.
  3. When two or more successive authors have the same physical address, give that address only once, after the final author's name.
  4. Limit the abstract to a single paragraph, preferably shorter than the first column.
  5. Capitalize the first letter of all content words in the paper title, section headings, and subsection headings, but use lower case for the other letters in those words.
  6. Number all section and subsection headings except those for the acknowledgement and reference sections.
  7. Avoid sections with single subsection headings; in such cases, add another subsection heading or remove the isolated one.
  8. Place any appendices after the acknowledgement and reference sections rather than before them.

Generic formatting

  1. Reserve the label "figure" for floating bodies with graphs or other drawn material; if the body contains text, refer to it as a table.
  2. Place the captions or titles of tables above the body, not below it, as in a figure.
  3. Label different graphs in the same figure and refer to them in the caption, but do not include titles or other information about the graphs above them, as this belongs in the caption itself.
  4. Do not place a figure or caption immediately after a section or subsection heading.
  5. Avoid widows and orphans (single lines separated from the rest of their paragraphs by column or page breaks).
  6. Minimize the use of abbreviations, especially if the abbreviated phrase occurs only one or two times.
  7. Write common technical phrases like "data set" and "test set" as in regular English, not as jargonized terms like "dataset" and "testset".
  8. Use "and" rather than ampersands "&" in the text and section headings, except in parenthetical citations.
  9. Right justify all text, including references, figure captions, and table titles, unless the latter are short enough to center.

Citations in the text

  1. When citing works in the text, use the form "Newell (1980, 1982)" if describing it directly in a sentence; use the alternative form "(Newell, 1980, 1982)" only when referring to it in a parenthetical expression.
  2. Use regular parentheses to surround references, as in "Newell (1980)", not square brackets, as in "Newell [1980]".
  3. Use "and" when referring directly to multi-author papers in a sentence, as in "Newell, Shaw, and Simon (1957)", but use an ampersand if citing them parenthetically, as in "(Newell, Shaw, & Simon, 1957)".
  4. State the authors' names and the year of publication in both the text and reference section; do NOT use a paper number.
  5. Do not mention the authors' names twice in a single citation; they should occur as part of a sentence or in a parenthetical expression, but not in both forms.
  6. When referring to a paper or book that is being published but has not yet appeared, refer to the year as "in press", as in "Simon (in press)". Use the same notation in the reference section, and not "to appear".

Formatting the reference list

  1. In the reference section, spell out the complete name of a journal or proceedings; for the latter, make sure to include "Proceedings of", write out the conference number in words (e.g., "Tenth" rather than "10th"), and do NOT include abbreviations (like AAAI-97).
  2. The proper name for our field's journal is "Machine Learning", not "Machine Learning Journal"; similarly, use "Artificial Intelligence" rather than "Artificial Intelligence Journal".
  3. Then citing a paper not yet accepted for publication, refer to the year it was written, but list it as an unpublished manuscript and give the department, organization, and city where the work occurred; do not use phrases like "submitted" or "in preparation".
  4. Give authors' last names before their initials, as in "Newell, A., & Simon, H. A. (1972)." and do the same for editors when referencing an entire volume; however, put editors' initials first when mentioning their names in the entry for a book chapter.
  5. Include page numbers for journal articles, using the format "101-120", and for conference papers, using "(pp. 101-108)"; give the volume number for journal articles but NOT the issue number.
  6. Provide the publisher's location followed by the publisher's name for both books and proceedings, as in "Cambridge, MA: MIT Press"; if a city is well known (e.g., Boston), omit the state or country.
  7. Specify the author's department and state his organization's city in entries for dissertations, tech reports, and unpublished manuscripts.
  8. Capitalize the first letter of all content words in titles of journals and proceedings, but capitalize only the first letter of the first word in titles (and subtitles) of papers, chapters, books, and tech reports.
  9. Negatively indent the second and successive lines in each reference by 10 points (0.138 inches or 0.351 cm); the early style files had larger indentation, so download and use the most recent versions.