Step 3: Formatting Your Research and Submissions

  • References & Citations: Abide strictly to a journal’s request for citation formats such as APA (American Psychological Association Standard), MLA (Modern Language Association) or AMS (American Mathematical Association). Which format does your journal require? You can easily find instructions for and examples of each reference formatting style online. Also consider the journal’s reference formatting guidelines – for example, should the references be in alphabetical order?
  • Submission Format: Consider the format you are supposed to submit your manuscript in. Does the journal ask for a hardcopy, electronic submission, or both? If electronic, should the material be a PDF or Word Document, or do they have an entirely separate online submission form? If hardcopy, does it need to be bound with a plastic cover slip? Although these are details unrelated to the content of your manuscript, they can also be the difference between acceptance and rejection.
  • Cover Letter: What specific information should be included in the cover letter for your manuscript submission? How should your contact information be organized within the cover letter, and what other relevant details are necessary to present to the editor for a good first impression?
  • Word Formatting: Various journals have very specific word formatting requirements for their submissions. Some of these requirements include specified text size, font, line spacing, indentation as well as title font and size. Carefully review these requirements for each specific journal you are submitting to.
  • Index: The index is the organizational window into your entire manuscript. Is your manuscript index effective and formatted correctly for the journal you are submitting to?
  • Figures & Images Guidelines: Many journals have very specific guidelines for figures and images. Should each figure be on a separate page? Are there specific dimensions to adhere to for included graphics? Some journals require multi-media presentations to be submitted as a separate file, if electronic. Where should your figures and images be placed within the overall order of your manuscript? Is a legend required for each figure, and if so how should it be formatted? Make sure you carefully review all the requirements for figures and images before submitting your research.
  • Paper Length: Some journals distinguish the category and guidelines of your submission based on its length (usually by word count). For example, a submission that is under four pages might be considered a ‘letter’ while one over four pages might be labeled as an ‘article.’ Have you determined what category your manuscript falls into and taken those specific submission guidelines into account?

Step 4: Including Essential Details »

« Step 2: Organizing Your Submission

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