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For researchers, there are numerous avenues available to publish their work, ranging from broad open-access journals to preprint platforms. However, most of us prefer having our research published in a highly cited journal. In today’s world of information overload, citation-based metrics serve as a guide on where to invest one’s time. Nonetheless, many researchers are unaware of the rigorous evaluation procedures in such journals.
Regardless of the citation impact, many journals have very low acceptance rates. However, as one of an array of journal metrics, they simply serve as a probabilistic tool and nothing more.
Nonetheless, it is important to sharpen your knowledge so you know how to prepare a manuscript that lands. In this article, we lay out some techniques and strategies that you can implement to ensure that your work finds an appropriate home.
1. Ensure your research is publication-worthy
Journals strive to publish work that will impact the scientific and medical community, with innovation and the potential to inspire further discussion and research as key components. Manuscript preparation is an important cornerstone of research communication. However, before embarking on your manuscript publishing journey, consider the underlying messages you want to communicate and why you want to publish your work.
2. Get clues on how to prepare a manuscript
The key to producing a successful manuscript is clear communication of a scientifically significant message in a well-organised manner. Consider the following:
- Manuscript format: To avoid time-consuming corrections and repeated communications with editorial staff, carefully review and strictly follow the submission guidelines before submission.
- Title: Craft a title that grabs the readers’ attention, accurately describes your manuscript’s contents, and emphasises your research significance. Strike a balance between brevity and completeness by brainstorming several possible titles and refining them into a shortlist.
- Abstract: As the first point of contact for many readers and editors, your abstract should answer key questions and be able to stand alone. Follow a simple format that addresses who, what, why, and how of your research, along with the take-home message. Adhere to journal formatting guidelines and note the word limit.
- Narrative flow: Stick to a simple and logically organised story that uses summary statements to tie together the main points. Remember, good scientific writing requires clear, concise, and logical expression of ideas.
The standard scientific format to submit a manuscript to publishers is typically as follows: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgements, References, Tables, and Figures.
3. Write a compelling cover letter
What defines a well-written cover letter when submitting a manuscript?
- Address the editor-in-chief by their name, indicating that you are familiar with the journal’s editorial team and have taken the time to verify their identity.
- Emphasise the unique contribution of your research and explain its significance to the journal readership.
- Explain how this work aligns with the focus and objectives of the journal and provides additional relevant background information.
- Avoid including the abstract, past accomplishments, meeting details, and research feedback.
When choosing a journal to publish your scientific work, it is crucial to accurately judge the quality and impact of your research, especially if you’re sending unsolicited manuscripts. Familiarise yourself with your field and be honest about the novelty and impact of your work. Don’t just aim for the highest impact journal; choose the most suitable one by checking its aims, interests, and scope. For high-impact journals, consider making a pre-submission inquiry if you think your work is worthy—this will help you ascertain the amenability of publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts. In the long run, this saves you time and ensures you are targeting the right journal.
To help you beat the tough acceptance odds in the competitive world of academic research, Elsevier Author Services is ready with a range of products and services to improve articles before submission. Throughout the submission process, we will provide you with complete assistance, which includes formatting your manuscript according to the guidelines of your preferred journal.