How to Prepare Your Academic Writing for A Journal

By the helpful people at ProofreadingServices.com

We are honored to share this post from ProofreadingServices.com about how to repurpose your academic writing for a peer-reviewed journal. Read on for some of their best advice!

Having a paper published in a reputable academic journal is a major accomplishment for any academic. However, it can be a complicated and time-consuming process. Journals tend to be quite picky about what they publish, and they often have very specific stylistic conventions. If your manuscript contains scores of typos, violates academic writing conventions, or includes an incomplete bibliography, no reputable academic journal will publish it. So, the process is not as simple as drafting a paper and sending it off to a journal. Here are a few pieces of advice to follow when writing an academic journal article.

Choose the Appropriate Journal

Carefully select the journal to which you wish to submit. Make sure that the journal deals with an appropriate field for your work. In some cases, you may have to revise your paper so it better fits the aims of the journal. In addition, each journal has its own submission guidelines and requirements, and you must familiarize yourself with these before submitting. Papers can be rejected for reasons as simple as using the incorrect file type when submitting your paper, or for not adhering to the word count specifications. Also, take note of the style guide the journal uses. Make sure you rigorously adhere to the style guide throughout the body of your text as well as in your bibliography.

Edit Your Paper to Fit Journal Specifications

Once you know what requirements you need to meet, it’s time to revise—and revise and revise and revise—your work. Cut down your paper—or expand it—to meet the journal’s specifications, but do so intelligently. If you need to reduce the word count, focus on eliminating verbose wording before you start cutting actual content. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to increase the word count, add valuable content that offers more details or a deeper exploration into your subject—don’t pad your paper with meaningless fluff.

Use Conventional Academic Structure

Unless the journal explicitly states otherwise, you should always write academic papers in the conventional academic style, with a title page, abstract, and keywords. Reveal the purpose of your study and your hypotheses clearly in the introduction. Don’t forget to include your methodology and a systematic analysis before you dive into the results. Close the paper with a thorough discussion of the results and the limitations of your study. When you’re done, review the title of your paper again and consider revising it—it’s the first glimpse into your article that a prospective reader gets, so a good impression is imperative.

Ask Colleagues for Feedback

Before you submit your paper, try reaching out to trusted colleagues for a second opinion on your work and implement any feedback they may provide. It’s also vitally important to scour your manuscript for any content from a third-party source—if you don’t have explicit permission to use copyrighted content, you’ll have to either obtain it or cut the content.

Don’t Forget the Cover Letter

When you submit your journal article, you will need to include a cover letter. The cover letter tells the journal why your work is a perfect fit and of interest to the journal’s readership. A well-written cover letter can help your paper get to the next stage of the review process. So, don’t rush through it. As your first contact with the journal editor, your cover letter is of utmost importance—take your time to carefully and succinctly outline the key points of your work and pique the editor’s interest.

What else do you need to do to get your paper published in an academic journal? This infographic provides a step-by-step guide.

12 steps to preparing your academic writing for submission to a journal

Check out ProofreadingServices.com for more helpful advice for academic journal writing.

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