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Publish your research

Information, suggestions, and resources for preparing your written work for publication, including information on open access publishing.

Format and style

Your manuscript needs to be formatted according to your chosen journal’s formatting requirements, which are usually found in the Instructions for Authors. This will help the submission process go more smoothly as the journal’s editorial team will not have to send your manuscript back for formatting before being sent on to peer review. It will also help to ensure you have included all relevant content and materials the journal might require.

Every journal/publisher has its own requirements for formatting and citation style of the manuscript. Find an article in your chosen journal to see the published version of the format and style. Generally, the sections of a journal article include:

  • Title, abstract, keywords
  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussions and conclusions
  • References

Learn more about writing a manuscript for a target journal in this short author tutorial by Springer Nature.

Tips for preparing the manuscript

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 (print book available via the RRU Library) 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. 

Self-plagarism

When an author submits a manuscript to be published in a subscription journal, unless expressly stated otherwise, the publisher expects the manuscript to be original work that will make a new contribution to the field of study. Many publishers, as part of the publishing agreement, ask authors to confirm that the work is original, has not been previously published, and that the author is the original copyright owner and is, therefore, able to transfer copyright to the publisher. See the sample publisher agreements from Taylor & Francis and Elsevier for examples.

If an author signs such an agreement to have work published in a subscription journal, but the new work contains previously published work by the same author that isn't cited, the publisher may consider that the author has self-plagiarized and has therefore violated the publishing agreement. There are also copyright implications; if the author no longer owns the copyright to the earlier work, the author can't reuse the work without obtaining copyright permission from the publisher.

Visit the APA website for more information on self-plagiarism and citations.