One of the most important pieces in the publishing process is submitting a manuscript in accordance with journal-specific instructions successfully. While peer-review journals may vary in their requirements, manuscripts are typically submitted through a journal’s online submission system, often found by a “Submit Your Manuscript” link on the journal’s website. Within this system, authors can upload, review, and save manuscript documents. It is important to review the journal-specific “Instructions for Authors,” usually found on a journal’s website. Most manuscripts that do not adhere to journal guidelines are returned or rejected.

Submission Components

  • Cover Letter
    • Most journals will require a cover letter that directly address the editor and journal by name, clearly articulates the importance or novel aspects of your manuscript, and justifies why it the manuscript is a good fit for the journal. Generally, the cover letter should also attest that the manuscript is not under consideration for publication elsewhere and disclose if the information has been previously presented at a professional meeting or conference, among other journal-specific requirements.
  • Title Page
    • Title page format can vary by journal, be sure to check the Instructions for Authors.
    • Manuscript title;
    • Corresponding author’s name, academic degrees, institutional affiliation(s), mailing address, email address, telephone number, and fax number;
    • Co-authors’ names (in order of authorship), academic degrees, and institutional affiliation(s), including city and state;
    • Acknowledgment of study funding and conflicts of interest for each author (or explicitly state if neither applies);
    • A statement that appropriate institutional review board (IRB) approval or waiver was obtained to conduct the study; and
    • Discuss abstract and manuscript word count restrictions, if required.
  • Manuscript Text
    • The manuscript should be formatted to the journal’s specific requirements, as stated in the Author’s Instructions, including the abstract and keywords, article body, acknowledgments, references, tables and figures, appendices. To enable blind peer review, author and institution names should not be included anywhere in the manuscript text. Check the journal’s requirements to determine if tables and figures should be included in the same document as the manuscript text or submitted as separate documents.
  • Conflict of Interest/Authorship Attestation Forms
    • Journals may require additional documents to be submitted with each manuscript to help minimize study bias and confirm authorship is awarded appropriately. To receive authorship credit, all authors listed on the manuscript must substantively contribute to it, including involvement in the review process before it is submitted. For more information on authorship requirements, visit the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) website. Be sure to carefully review all uploaded documents to confirm they are correct, complete, and readable. Then, submit the manuscript! If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach out to the journal’s editorial office for clarification.

References

  1. The EQUATOR Network. Reporting guidelines for main study types. Published 2020. Accessed August 5, 2020. https://www.equator-network.org/reporting-guidelines/
  2. Vintzileos AM, Ananth CV. How to write and publish an original research article. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2010;202(4):344.e1-344.e6. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2009.06.038
  3. Branson RD. Anatomy of a Research Paper. RESPIRATORY CARE. 2004;49(10):7.
  4. Kotz D, Cals JWL. Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part XI: submitting a paper. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 2014;67(2):123. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2013.10.004
  5. Kotz D, Cals JWL. Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part VII: tables and figures. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 2013;66(11):1197. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2013.04.016