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If the golden rule of academics is “publish or perish,” then preparing a journal article for publication is akin to death. The reason is thousands of paper cuts and a slew of flaws ranging from wrongly cropped photographs to text .

The ultimate journal article submission checklist will help you organize, chronologize, and prioritize each stage of article preparation for journal submission. At this stage, you should have already carried out your study, confirmed your findings, and made your conclusions. Now, it’s time to bring it all together in a logical text.

We start this checklist considering you’ve finished writing, rather than assuming you’ve already completed a full draft of your essay. The earlier you begin thinking about submission criteria, the better; submission conditions should influence how you create your piece.

Sometimes the circumstances are determined by your discipline. Scientific research, for instance, may have distinct writing standards than a humanities essay (e.g., authorial tone and citation ). Other times, the criteria are more particular to the journal you’re aiming for (e.g., margin formatting, heading numbers, image captions). The checklist’s components are broad enough to cover many fields, while specific elements may differ from one publication to the next.

Let’s start!

submission checklist

Let’s start!

  1. Choosing a Journal as a Target

The first step is to choose a target journal, but how do you do that?

Your topic may be so particular that you’ve always had one notebook in mind. If not, and you’re not sure which publication to submit your work to, go back through the sources that influenced your study. If a few of your sources were published in the same journal, it’s a strong bet the journal will be a good fit for your paper. Consider which magazine is the most prominent in your profession if your sources have been published in several top journals (as is often the case) (e.g., its impact factor). Also, think about which aspects of your study you want to emphasize in your journal paper.

Choose the most prominent monthly that has published the most sources for the component of your journal article submission that you will utilize. If you still need to pick a target journal from a list, have a look at the journals’ constraints (e.g., word count, image count, referencing limits). This will enable you to find the greatest possible match for your article’s requested scope.

Finally, keep your schedule for publication in mind while you review the constraints of potential journals. Pay attention to the typical period, from submission to publication, if you need to publish your study promptly. If it takes two months for Journal Alpha to receive, acknowledge, peer review, and publish an article, but six months for Journal Beta to do the same, a more time-sensitive paper should be published with Journal Alpha, even if it is less distinguished. Similarly, if Journal Alpha publishes an accepted version of an article online before its in print publication, whereas Journal Beta does not, a more time-sensitive paper should be submitted to the former journal.

  1. Checking for Copyright issues

Although the placement of this stage may appear to be incorrect, you should address copyright problems as soon as feasible!

First, think about how the research for this journal article relates to the research you’ve done for other publications as an author or collaborator. Did you use ideas from a prior publication that you (or a collaborator) had developed? Is it sufficient to just quote the preceding document, or did you take particular passages from it? If the latter, you’ll almost certainly require permission from the other publication’s copyright holder. The good news is that academic publications are frequently willing to allow you to reuse sections of your work.

Second, examine whether or not your journal article submission will incorporate quotes from other works. This will not be an issue for you if you did not quote directly from other sites. Copyright clearance may be time-consuming and expensive to get, so see if your target publication has employees devoted to acquiring the rights to reprint texts, as well as cash set aside to pay the costs of copyrighted items. If you answered “no” to one or both of these questions, get started arranging these documents right now. If a copyright holder refuses your request, the substance of your suggested journal paper may be dramatically altered.

Third, determine if your piece will feature photographs and/or video assets. This stage can be bypassed if you’re only going to publish a text-only article (no photos or videos). However, there are various considerations for those who must add visual illustrations  and/or videos.

If your images and/or video files are not your main materials, look into your target journal’s procedures for obtaining the rights to reproduce those materials (as described in the paragraph above for copyrighted text). Confirm that you have permission of use for materials in your study. If one graph’s axial label says “Energy (kWh)” and another says “Energy (kW h),” it’s advisable to redraw the graphs right away, using a single consistent unit of measurement expression.

  1. Establishing Formatting Parameters

You’ve chosen your target journal and examined copyright concerns; now it’s nearly time to start writing…

You must first choose the layout of the document(s) you will send to the publisher before you begin writing. Some journals prefer a specific file type (e.g., a PDF rather than a Word document). To maintain consistency in formatting, some journals give templates (e.g., standardized Word documents or pre-encoded LaTeX files). To produce the finest first impression, always adhere to the publisher’s guidelines. Use the template provided by the publisher if one is available. If the publisher specifies formatting guidelines, adhere to them.

  1. Writing the Article

Without going into detail, it is sufficient to suggest that you compose the major body of the text first, from beginning to end. Second, come up with a catchy title that will grab the reader’s attention; it should be informative and even funny (depending on your target audience). Third, write your abstract as a succinct overview of the whole breadth of the work, adhering to the journal’s guidelines for abstract length, format, and keyword generation. Fourth, include all necessary author information. The required information include full name(s), affiliations for the author(s), current contact information for the corresponding author(s), and biographical information for the author(s). Fifth, thank everyone who helped you with this endeavor, including scholarships, grants, licenses, and unofficial help. Sixth, make any potential conflicts of interest clear. Create any required appendices, such as supplemental tables or additional diagrams, in the seventh step. Eighth, arrange your references by double-checking the link between the text citations and the entire bibliographical materials. Finally, title, caption, and the figures (if you’re using the picture and/or video files) either directly within the article or as a separate document.

Take a pause once you’ve finished a full draft of your journal article before checking it again for changes. When you’re writing your first full draft, everything you write may sound amazing, seem necessary, and look error-free. You could not recognize inappropriate writing despite you take a break from the text. Remove them from the equation. To ensure that your writing is clear and complies with the standards of your target publication, have a friend or professional editing service to read it and give feedback.

  1. Submitting the Article

You are now ready to submit the journal paper after finalizing all of the details (s).

First, double-check that all aspects of your piece (such as the text and graphics) meet the journal’s standards. For example, if the journal specifies to write the the surname of the main author, a short title, and the keywords, make sure you follow the instructions.

Second, begin gathering any additional information that is necessary as part of the publishing process. If you’re submitting an article to a peer-reviewed journal, the editors may ask you to supply a list of possible peer reviewers. If the journal editors ask for this information straight immediately, have this list available. Your choice of peer reviewers should be wise much like when choosing a target journal.

Third, send a cover letter to the editors of the journal, pleading with them to read your journal article submission. You put in a lot of effort to finish the document(s) and are happy with the outcome. Make your future editors happy by letting them know about your hard work. Send all of the documents to the editors at the end.

You’ll be more than ready to submit your journal paper (at long last!) if you follow these procedures.

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