What to Consider Before Submitting an Article to a Journal
Before you choose a journal to submit your article to, you need to evaluate the kind of work you are submitting and consider what will make you most successful at getting published. The following types of articles may be less likely to be accepted:
Rewrite of a Report or Dissertation Chapter
Rewriting a report or dissertation chapter runs a higher submission risk as it may not have a targeted scope or address the specific audience of the journal. Targeted work for a specific publication will help issues of mission and scope creep that may occur if you attempt to rework material produced for a different purpose.
Articles Based on a Published Conference Paper
Articles based on conference papers may be higher risk as they may be seen as previously published work. The submission policy for previously published conference papers should be stated clearly on the journal's web page in the author instructions.
Articles Published or Being Reviewed with Another Journal
If you have published your article elsewhere, attempting to republish the work will be difficult. There are strict statements around republishing works or even considering works that are currently going through the review process with another journal. A lot of work goes into reviewing and editing of scholarly articles. Publishers do not want to invest time and effort into an article that could potentially be published somewhere else.
To best prepare your work for publication, review the following questions:
What to Consider for Your Cover Letter
While some journals and publishers offer step-by-step electronic journal submission via an online form, other journals may require a cover letter to accompany your manuscript. The advice below is quoted directly from the Springer Author Academy, but the advice is applicable to many academic publishers.
Check the journal’s Instructions for Authors
Check to see whether the journal’s Instructions for Authors have any requirements for cover letters, e.g. disclosures, statements, potential reviewers. Then, write a letter that explains why the editor would want to publish your manuscript:
Select from these common phrases:
All cover letters should include these sentences:
|We confirm that this manuscript has not been published elsewhere and is not under consideration by another journal.|
|All authors have approved the manuscript and agree with its submission to [insert the name of the target journal]."|
What to Consider During the Publication Review Process
|Image of the Article Review Process from Taylor and Francis.|
The publication review process can be lengthy. The image here outlines the steps in the process from submission, editorial review, peer review, revision and acceptance. Each step in the process potentially involves a number of different people who consult and review your work. This is important to remember as you may be tempted to prematurely contact the editor to see where your article is in the review process.
One of the most complicated aspects of this process is the acceptance and revision process. While having your article accepted by a publisher can feel very rewarding, acceptance without revision rarely happens. Regardless of whether there is an editor reviewing your work or it is a full peer review process, revisions can be complicated to navigate.
Publication Review Process Checklist
To best prepare yourself for the publication review process, review the following questions:
What to Consider Once an Article is Accepted for Publication
Once your article has been accepted for publication, you will need to sign a copyright agreement. These agreements will differ from journal to journal. Some journals may allow you to maintain some rights to your article (e.g. ability to share, archive, etc.), while others may be more restrictive. It's important to understand the copyright agreement as it pertains to ownership of your work and your ability to archive your paper if required by a granting agency.
Publication Acceptance Checklist
To best prepare yourself for understanding the copyright-transfer agreement, review the following questions:
For assistance in understanding your author rights, contact the Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office.
Top 10 Pet Peeves of an Academic Journal Editor
To get an inside perspective of the common issues and problems that make the submission process difficult for journal editors, we contacted a journal editor for their top annoyances when reviewing submissions. Many of these "pet peeves" could be avoided through diligent research on author guidelines and paper formatting requirements. Don't be one of these submitters!
- The paper formatting requirements are not met.
- There is missing information or extraneous information during submission.
- The author requests for a faster review.
- The paper is not anonymized.
- The author provides a list of possible reviewers.
- The author doesn't respect the word limit.
- The author requests to use alternate formatting.
- Papers are sent by email when an electronic submission system exists.
- The author uses ALL CAPS in the title.