Your manuscript is complete, and you’ve chosen a journal to submit it to. But what are the final steps to follow as part of the submission process? Read this 10-point checklist for guidance, to avoid potential delays in having your paper processed and published.
1) Ensure written permission has been obtained for use of third-party material
Copyright matters can be easily overlooked by inexperienced authors. This is a costly mistake, potentially both in monetary terms and time spent securing permission while a manuscript is already with a publisher.
2) See if you can publish your research data
Publishing your data adds to the credibility and reproducibility of your work, and journals and funders increasingly require you to publish your data alongside your article. Consider uploading it to a repository, so you already have a data availability statement and DOI in your manuscript.
3) Signal the corresponding author(s)
The journal's editor needs to know who to contact regarding your manuscript. This is usually required information in the submission process. Indicate who the corresponding author(s) is/are, and provide contact details. An email address that is expected to remain valid for a long time is best.
4) Include ORCID iDs
Getting an ORCID identifier ensures that your research outputs are correctly attributed to you, by distinguishing you from every other researcher out there. Don’t forget to list the ORCID iDs of every author who has one. Most journals ask or require ORCID iDs to be added when submitting.
5) Make sure you adhere to the journal’s style guide
This is very important to avoid delays in processing your paper. Font types and sizes, line spacing, margins, abbreviation standards, etc, should all be in accordance with the journal’s preference. You can find this in the journal page section that is often called ‘author guidelines’, ‘author instructions’, or ‘submission guidelines’.
6) Upload files in the required format
When uploading files to the journal’s submission system, your manuscript may need to be separate from other information such as author names/contact details (for blind peer-review purposes) and tables/figures.
7) Indicate the section of the journal you want your paper in
If the journal you are submitting to has separate sections, specify which one would be suitable for your paper. If you are submitting to a special issue of the journal, also make that clear at the point of submission.
8) Prepare a cover letter
More often than not an afterthought, the cover letter is crucial for the journal editor to assess the suitability of your paper for review. Highlight why your paper is a good fit and should be considered for publication.
9) Think of potential reviewer names to recommend
Some journals ask authors to suggest names of peer-reviewers at the point of submission. Good candidates will be people whose research relates to yours, with the capacity to undertake peer-review work.
10) Do a final proofread of your manuscript
You may have proofread your manuscript already, but some errors may remain. Use Writefull Revise to screen your text and spot any language issues within seconds. A carefully written manuscript goes a long way to making a good first impression.