As a first-time researcher, my most pressing concern was how to get my work published in a respectable scientific journal. And I know I’m not alone. I’m sure it takes a researcher, to understand the necessity to publish your findings or share your findings with the rest of the scientific community. If you’re going to write for an academic publication, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Also, every journal has a peer-to-peer process that is essential to scientific publication and you need to take note of this process. What’s more, you need to select a suitable journal that fits your research to improve your chances of acceptance.
Having said that, let’s take you through the process of publishing your research paper in a reputable journal.
Steps to Publish Your Research Paper in a Scientific Journal
- Step 1: Choose an Appropriate Target Journal
The first step in publishing a research paper is by choosing a suitable journal that you want to publish. Finding the right journal for your article can dramatically improve the chances of acceptance and ensure it reaches your target audience.
Having a choice of the journal before writing helps you tailor your work to build on research that has already been published in that journal. Also, many journals have specific manuscript formats for articles. This helps you write your article to their specifications and improve your chances of acceptance.
You can use Elsevier’s Journal Finder to search for the appropriate journal for your publication.
- Step 2: Read the Publication Guidelines of Your Target Journal
Next is to read the publication guidelines of your chosen scientific journal in your target research area. This will drastically improve your chances of having your manuscript accepted for publication.
You can also download and read the author’s guidelines and ensure that your manuscript is in line with them. Check the styling, format, and requirements for figures, tables, and references.
- Step 3: Write Your Paper
Once you have chosen your target journal, the next step is to write your research paper. The format, structure, and style of your writing depend on your chosen journal, your subject area, and the type of research paper that you’re writing. Also, you need to familiarize yourself with the editorial policies for your target journal.
Make a good impression with the title and abstract of your paper as these are important components of your manuscript. They are the first elements a journal editor sees once you submit your work for publication.
Your title should summarize the content of your article and reflect your contribution to the theory. Your abstract should also be well crafted and highlight the aim and scope of the study; the key problem to be addressed and the theory; the method used; the data set; key findings; limitations; and implications for theory and practice.
- Step 4: Proofread Your Manuscript
Before submitting your article to a journal, you must proofread your manuscript including the title, names of authors, main text, list of references, tables, and figures. Bear in mind that your article will be scrutinized critically by the editorial board of the journal before it is selected for peer review.
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- Step 5: Submit your Manuscript along with a Cover Letter
Before submitting your paper, you must go through the submission guidelines. Also, your manuscript should be accompanied by a well-written cover letter addressed to the editor or editor-in-charge of the target journal.
A good cover letter should include the following, the main theme of the paper, argues the novelty of the paper, justifies the relevance of the manuscript to the target journal. If possible, limit the cover letter to half a page.
- Step 6: Address Reviewer Comments
Based on the recommendations provided by the reviewer, you may need to revise and resubmit your manuscript. These revisions may be either minor or major changes depending on.
As such, it is important to address the revisions recommended by the reviewer. It is also imperative to address all the comments received from the reviewers. You also need to revise and resubmit the manuscript before the deadline provided by the journal.
During re-submission, you need to provide the revised manuscript highlighting all the modifications made following the recommendations received from the reviewer. Along with that is a letter listing your responses illustrating how you have addressed all concerns raised by the reviewer and editor.
Importantly, you can either agree or disagree with the reviewer as you’re not always obliged to implement their recommendations. However, if you’re not in agreement with a reviewer’s comment, you need to provide a well-argued justification for your course of action.
- Step 7: Track your Paper
Once you have submitted or resubmitted your paper, you can track the status of your submitted paper online. For some journals, you can track your paper from the same system that you use in submission. Use the reference number you received after submission to track your submission.
Once your paper is accepted for publication, you will receive a reference number and a direct link that lets you follow its publication status.
It is always recommended that you thoroughly prepare your article before submitting it for publication, as this will considerably boost your chances of being accepted. You may, however, rewrite your article if it is rejected by a certain publication and then submit the revised version to a different journal.