The process of scientific publication: 3 steps you have to go through

So you’ve put in the hard work and completed your scientific paper. After hours of working on a hypothesis, scouring data, compiling research and writing what you believe to be a highly informative piece, you finally feel ready to submit your work for publication.

The process of scientific publication: 3 steps you have to go through

But have you really done everything?

Manuscript preparation and the general submission process can highlight a whole host of issues you never even considered – and it’s no secret that it can be extremely difficult to pass the submission phase no matter how skilled or prominent you are in your field.  The good news is that there are things you can do to check your work and improve your chances of getting accepted.

3 steps to increase your chances of successful submission

1. Take your time before submitting

While you may feel like you’ve put in all the time and effort you can possibly manage, just wait a little longer before sending your work. You won’t get any feedback if there are any points that the review board isn’t happy with; a straight rejection will be made.

It’s always going to be a wise idea to step away from your work and come back to it a few days later for a reread. It may be worthwhile to pass it on to any trusted colleagues and potentially other researchers in your field, too. Having more than one educated eye cast over your work will give you a much higher chance of success. With this in mind, you may want to go one step further and send it off to a professional editing team to copy-edit (not proofread) the entire thing – this can give you even more peace of mind. 

You could even ask around for suggestions for the most appropriate publications to submit your work to – the more relevant your manuscript is, the more likely you are to gain a favourable outcome.

2. Do some research on your chosen journal

Once you have completed the above suggestions, it can be imperative to familiarise yourself with the workings of your chosen journal. Each publication is likely to have its own guidelines, requirements and wants/needs for the articles that they accept, and if you don’t meet these, all of your hard work so far will go to waste.

Make a copy of (or download) the author guidelines that should be provided and go through each point alongside your manuscript with a fine-tooth comb. If everything conforms, you’ll be well on your way to receiving publication. Remember to rethink tone, the aims and scope of the journal you’ve selected, structure, formatting, layout and any other factors that may be outlined before sending anything off.

The only good news is that you may get what is known as a ‘desk rejection’ that you can rework before your submission is sent out to the board with other peer reviewed articles.

3. Submit a cover letter

A cover letter can go a long way when asking scientific journals to publish your work. Address this to the editor or editor-in-chief to give a brief overview of the manuscript and why it is worth their time to review it. Many authors make the mistake of copy-pasting their chosen abstract into a cover letter, but this is an unwise move for your chances of acceptance. Be sure to outline the main objective of the paper, argue why your view is unique in the field and justify the relevance of your work to the journal you have chosen.

We also invite you to learn more about what are peer reviewed articles.