On-line guide to scientific publication


Initial planning

Producing the outline

Producing the manuscript

Finishing touches

Submitting the manuscript

The refereeing and publishing process

Submitting the manuscript

In preparing the manuscript for presentation to the journal editor there is one golden rule:


It doesn't matter how you might think your paper would look best, you have to abide by the rules of the journal.  If you don't then you can expect your paper to be sent straight back to you.

Key points to note are:

  • How does the journal want the paper sent?

Journals are increasingly asking for papers to be sent in electronic form.  This assists manuscript management but, more importantly, it enables speedy delivery of the manuscript to referees around the world.  Don't worry about the view that referees want to see paper copies because they are easier to read.  This many be true for some referees but an increasing number are happy to edit directly on the screen.  And for those who don't want to, they can always print out their own hard copy.

  • Have you formatted the paper according to the guidelines for authors published by the journal?

There is nothing that infuriates editors more than authors who can't be bothered to send their figures or tables in the correct format, or who have simply pasted the references from another source without noting the format in which they should be sent.  So, make sure you aren't one of that group!

Make sure the editor acknowledges receipt of your manuscript and gives you a rough idea of how long the refereeing process will take.  Then, if you haven't heard back from the journal in that time contact them to find out the status of the paper.

Supported by the Commonwealth Foundation