Release Date: September 29, 2012
Category: Scientific Writing
Key Points Summary
- Always submit an accompanying cover letter with every manuscript.
- Some journals have very specific requirements for information to provide in the cover letter, and these are usually stated in the journal’s instructions to authors. Make sure your cover letter includes any journal-required elements.
- Strong cover letters tell journal editors why they should publish your manuscript in their journals.
- Cover letters should be succinct and concentrate on the importance and novelty of your findings, as well as how they relate to the scope of your target journal.
After the hard work of perfecting your manuscript and selecting a target journal, one more task remains before obedience: writing a cover letter. The cover letter is an significant document that must do more than tell the editor that you are submitting your manuscript for consideration. It should capture the editor’s attention, provide information about the novelty and importance of your findings, and indicate that all authors have approved of the subjugation and the manuscript has not been submitted to more than one journal concurrently.
Strong cover letters not only introduce your manuscript – they suggest an significant chance to coax journal editors to consider your manuscript for publication.
Determine Your Target Journal’s Requirements
Before you begin, check your target journal’s author instructions for any cover letter requirements, such as certain specifically worded statements. No matter what else you determine to include, always make sure that your cover letter contains any required information and statements described in your target journal’s author instructions.
Develop an Outline for the Cover Letter
In addition to any information and statements required by your target journal, every cover letter should contain the following elements:
- An introduction stating the title of the manuscript and the journal to which you are submitting.
- The reason why your examine is significant and relevant to the journal’s readership or field.
- The question your research answers.
- Your major experimental results and overall findings.
- The most significant conclusions that can be drawn from your research.
- A statement that the manuscript has not been published and is not under consideration for publication in any other journal
- A statement that all authors approved the manuscript and its subjugation to the journal.
- Any other details that will encourage the editor to send your manuscript for review.
Write one or more sentences to address each of these points. You will revise and grind these sentences to accomplish your cover letter.
Write the Assets of the Cover Letter
Open your cover letter with a sentence or two explaining why you are writing, the title of your manuscript, and the title of the journal.
Shortly state the background for the problem or question your research answers. The concentrate of the paragraph is to explain why your research was needed and clearly state the question your research answers. Clearly and concisely explain your results, findings, and conclusions.
To keep your cover letter concise, limit this explanation to one or two brief paragraphs. You can also include a sentence or two that links your findings to the interests of the journal’s readership, if suitable. It may be helpful to review your abstract to stay focused on your most significant results and conclusions.
As you write this explanation, think in terms of “how will my manuscript benefit the journal?” The journal editor’s aim is to publish significant, novel findings that are within the journal’s scope and of interest to its readership. Your purpose is to display the editor how your manuscript meets these criteria. Such manuscripts will be very referenced, which will increase the influence factor of the journal. Without exaggerating, explain the novelty, relevance, and interest of your findings to researchers who read that journal.
After describing your research and findings, include a paragraph with any journal-required statements. If the findings in the manuscript have been introduced at a scientific meeting, include that information in this paragraph. This paragraph should also include statements about exclusivity and author approval for conformity.
In your last paragraph, thank the editor for his or her consideration.
Add Basic Letter Elements
Cover letters go after the same elementary format as all letters. Make sure your cover letter includes the following basic letter elements:
Cover letters are often submitted electronically in an e-mail message. E-mail cover letters may not contain more formal letter elements like the date and address block.
Revise the Cover Letter
Read through your cover letter several times to proofread and revise the text for clarity and brevity. Liquidate any stray points or sentences that do not directly relate to the purpose, major results, and most significant findings and conclusions of your examine. As you revise the cover letter, ask yourself if the influence, novelty, and relevance of your findings are clear. Rewrite any sentences that are very long, do not make your point clearly, or are cluttered with too many details.
Cover letters should not exceed one page unless absolutely necessary. If you write a cover letter that is longer than one page, think cautiously about how it can be shortened.
As you revise the cover letter, proofread for the same basic grammar and construction issues you would look for when revising your manuscript.
During your review, read the cover letter at least once to ensure you avoid the following:
Always finish a final check to confirm that your cover letter includes all elements required by your target journal.
More Resources for Writing Cover Letters
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Writing Cover Letters for Scientific Manuscripts
Release Date: September 29, 2012
Category: Scientific Writing