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Academic Publishing : 3. Prepare the manuscript for submission

This guide will provide you with information, suggestions, and resources for preparing your written work for publication, including information on open access publishing.

Prepare the manuscript

You've chosen your document and the journal that you want to send it to; now comes the effort involved in turning your document into a journal article. Whether you are expanding a short paper or repurposing a section or chapter from a longer document, it's likely that there will be major changes involved. Dr. Wendy Belcher's (2009) Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success is an excellent tool to help you get your manuscript ready, but to paraphrase some of Dr. Belcher's major recommendations, here are some things to consider:

  • The title of the document should accurately describe your article and be keyword searchable
  • The introduction should engage your reader and express your enthusiasm for the topic
  • The article should present a strong overall argument
  • Research and supporting evidence should serve to convince your reader
  • A strong structure will help your reader follow your thinking process as you develop the argument
  • By the time the article is finished, has it achieved the goal as stated in the introduction?
  • Don't plagiarize - make sure all sources are cited correctly.
  • Ensure you have all necessary copyright permissions to reproduce images (e.g., tables, figures, graphs, photographs). See the Copyright Guide for more information on copyright. 

Another important consideration are the formatting guidelines required by the journal. These guidelines can usually be found on a journal's website and are often located in sections titled “author instructions” or “submitting a manuscript”.  Regardless of what formatting and referencing guidelines you used when you originally wrote the document, please revise your article with exacting focus to ensure that the article meets the guidelines. Don't give the reviewer an easy way to dismiss your work simply because you neglected to follow the journal's instructions. 

 

Advice for authors: Keep it simple

Evaluate your sentences

The Writer's Diet Test is a great tool to help authors assess the grammatical structure of sentences. As per the example shown below, the tool will assess 100-1000 words at a time, and will give a rating of "lean" to "heart attack territory". Keep in mind that the tool is an automated feedback tool, not an assessment tool, so please don't rely solely on the Writer's Diet to evaluate your manuscript.

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