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How to write a cover letter for journal submission
Download our cover letter template.
When you submit your article to a journal, you often need to include a cover letter. This is a great opportunity to highlight to the journal editor what makes your research new and important. The cover letter should explain why your work is perfect for their journal and why it will be of interest to the journal’s readers.
When writing for publication, a well-written cover letter can help your paper reach the next stage of the manuscript submission process – being sent out for peer review . So it’s worth spending time thinking about how to write a cover letter to the journal editor, to make sure it’s going to be effective.
To help you, we’ve put together a guide to explain how to write a cover letter for journal article submission. You will receive cover letter instructions of what you should include and what you shouldn’t, and a word template cover letter.
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What should my cover letter include?
Before you start to write, please check the instructions for authors (IFAs) of your chosen journal, as not all journals will require one. You should also check the IFAs for any journal specific information on what to include. This may include a list of relevant articles written by you or your co-authors that have been or are currently being considered for publication in other journals.
Key points to include in your letter to the editor:
Editor’s name (you can usually find this on the journal page on Taylor & Francis Online ).
Your manuscript’s title.
Name of the journal you are submitting to.
Statement that your paper has not been previously published and is not currently under consideration by another journal.
Brief description of the research you are reporting in your paper, why it is important, and why you think the readers of the journal would be interested in it.
Contact information for you and any co-authors .
Confirmation that you have no competing interests to disclose.
Things to avoid:
Don’t copy your abstract into your cover letter, instead explain in your own words the significance of the work, the problem that is being addressed, and why the manuscript belongs in the journal.
Don’t use too much jargon or too many acronyms, keep language straightforward and easy to read.
Avoid too much detail – keep your cover letter to a maximum of one page, as an introduction and brief overview.
Avoid any spelling and grammar errors and ensure your letter is thoroughly proofed before submitting.
Click to enlarge your PDF on key information to include in your cover letter .
Cover letter template
If you need further help to write a cover letter for a journal, you can download and use our sample template as a guide.
You might find that the submission system for your chosen journal requires your cover letter to be submitted into a text box rather than as a separate document, but it is still a good idea to write a draft first to make sure you have included everything.
Always make sure to check the journal’s instructions for authors for any specific additional information to include.
Use our submission checklist to make sure you’ve included everything you need to.
If you need more guidance, take a look at our other information and resources to help you make your submission .
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A good cover letter can help to “sell” your manuscript to the journal editor. As well as introducing your work to the editor you can also take this opportunity to explain why the manuscript will be of interest to a journal's readers, something which is always as the forefront editors’ mind. As such it is worth spending time writing a coherent and persuasive cover letter.
The following is an example of a poor cover letter:
Dear Editor-in-Chief, I am sending you our manuscript entitled “Large Scale Analysis of Cell Cycle Regulators in bladder cancer” by Researcher et al. We would like to have the manuscript considered for publication in Pathobiology. Please let me know of your decision at your earliest convenience. With my best regards, Sincerely yours, A Researcher, PhD
Instead, check to see whether the journal’s Instructions for Authors have any cover letter requirements (e.g. disclosures, statements, potential reviewers). Then, write a letter that explains why the editor would want to publish your manuscript. The following structure covers all the necessary points that need to be included.
- If known, address the editor who will be assessing your manuscript by their name. Include the date of submission and the journal you are submitting to.
- First paragraph: include the title of your manuscript and the type of manuscript it is (e.g. review, research, case study). Then briefly explain the background to your study, the question you sought out to answer and why.
- Second paragraph: you should concisely explain what was done, the main findings and why they are significant.
- Third paragraph: here you should indicate why the readers of the journal would be interested in the work. Take your cues from the journal’s aims and scope. For example if the journal requires that all work published has broad implications explain how your study fulfils this. It is also a good idea to include a sentence on the importance of the results to the field.
- To conclude state the corresponding author and any journal specific requirements that need to be complied with (e.g. ethical standards).
TIP: All cover letters should contain these sentences:
- We confirm that this manuscript has not been published elsewhere and is not under consideration by another journal.
- All authors have approved the manuscript and agree with its submission to [insert the name of the target journal].
Before submitting your manuscript, thoroughly check its quality one more time. Evaluate it critically—could anything be done better?
Be sure that:
- The manuscript follows the Instructions for Authors
- All files are in the correct file format and of the appropriate resolution or size
- The spelling and grammar are correct
- You have contact information for all authors
- You have written a persuasive cover letter
Back │ Next
The cover letter is a formal way to communicate with journal editors and editorial staff during the manuscript submission process. Most often, a cover letter is needed when authors initially submit their manuscript to a journal and when responding to reviewers during an invitation to revise and resubmit the manuscript. For more information on the peer review process and possible manuscript decisions, see Section 12.7 of the Publication Manual .
Because cover letters are separate documents from the manuscript file, all correspondence during the publication process must include the complete manuscript title, the authors’ names, and the manuscript number (assigned by the journal when the manuscript is first received). Although any author may correspond with the journal editor or editorial staff, most correspondence is handled by the corresponding author , who serves as the main point of contact and responds to questions about the published article. All authors should decide prior to submission who will serve as the corresponding author.
This guidance has been expanded from the 6th edition.
Cover letter for manuscript submission to a journal
Authors usually must include a cover letter when they first submit their manuscript to a journal for publication . The cover letter is typically uploaded as a separate file into the online submission portal for the journal (for more information on using an online submission portal, see Section 12.10 of the Publication Manual ).
The cover letter should be addressed to the journal editor; any interim correspondence is addressed to the editor or associate editor with whom you have been in communication.
In your submission cover letter, include the following information:
- manuscript title
- manuscript authors
- assurances that all authors agree with the content of the manuscript and with the order of authorship (for more information, see Sections 1.21–1.22 of the Publication Manual )
- assurances that the corresponding author will take responsibility for informing coauthors of editorial decisions, reviews received, and any changes or revisions made
- information about the existence of any closely related manuscripts that have been submitted for simultaneous consideration to the same or to another journal
- notice of any conflicts of interest or activities that might be seen as influencing the research (for more information, see Section 1.20 of the Publication Manual )
- a request for masked review, if that is an option for the journal and desired (for more information, see Section 12.7 of the Publication Manual )
- verification that the treatment of human participants or nonhuman animal subjects was in accordance with established ethical standards (for more information, see Sections 1.18 and 12.13 of the Publication Manual )
- a copy of any permissions to reproduce copyrighted material or a notice that permissions are pending (for more information, see Sections 12.14–12.18 of the Publication Manual )
- the telephone number, email address, and mailing address of the corresponding author
Check the journal’s website for the current editor’s name and for any other journal-specific information to include in your cover letter.
Cover letter for a revised and resubmitted manuscript
Also include a cover letter with manuscripts being resubmitted to a journal after receiving an invitation to revise and resubmit. Ensure the cover letter contains the complete manuscript title, the authors’ names, and the manuscript number (assigned by the journal when the manuscript was first received). In the cover letter for the resubmission, thank the editors and reviewers for their feedback and outline the changes you made (or did not make) to the manuscript to address the feedback.
The cover letter for a revised and resubmitted manuscript summarizes the changes to the manuscript. Along with the cover letter and revised manuscript, authors should also provide a response to reviewers , which is a detailed document explaining how they responded to each comment.
Sample cover letters
These sample cover letters demonstrate how authors can communicate with the journal editor at the initial manuscript submission and following an invitation to revise and resubmit a manuscript for publication.
- Sample Cover Letter for Manuscript Submission (PDF, 73KB)
- Sample Cover Letter for a Revised and Resubmitted Manuscript (PDF, 91KB)
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How to Write a Cover Letter for Journal Submission
If you’re looking for solid advice on how to write a strong journal submission cover letter that will convince journal editors to review your research paper, then look no further! We know that cover letters can impact an editor’s decision to consider your research paper further.
This guide aims to explain (1) why you should care about writing a powerful cover letter, (2) what you should include in it, and (3) how you should structure it. The last segment will include a free downloadable submission cover letter template with detailed how-to explanations and some useful phrases. Finally, be sure to get journal manuscript editing , cover letter editing , and other academic editing services by Wordvice’s professional editors to ensure that you convey an academic style and error-free text, along with including all of the most important content.
Why does a good cover letter matter?
While your research paper’s role is to prove the merits of your research, a strong introductory cover letter is your opportunity to highlight the significance of your research and “sell” its concept to journal editors.
While your research paper’s role is to prove the merits of your research, a strong introductory cover letter is your opportunity to highlight the significance of your research and “sell” its concept to journal editors.
Sadly, we must admit that part of the decision-making process of whether to accept a manuscript is based on a business model. Editors must select articles that will interest their readers. In other words, your paper, if published, must make money . When it’s not quite clear how your research paper might generate interest based on its title and content alone (for example, if your paper is too technical for most editors to appreciate), your cover letter is the one opportunity you will get to convince the editors that your work is worth further review.
In addition to economic factors, many editors use the cover letter to screen whether authors can follow basic instructions . For example, if a journal’s guide for authors states that you must include disclosures, potential reviewers, and statements regarding ethical practices, failure to include these items might lead to the automatic rejection of your article, even if your research is the most progressive project on the planet! By failing to follow directions, you raise a red flag that you may be careless, and if you’re not attentive to the details of a cover letter, editors might wonder about the quality and thoroughness of your research. This is not the impression you want to give editors!
What to Include in a Cover Letter for a Journal Submission
We can’t stress this enough: Follow your target journal’s instructions for authors ! No matter what other advice you read in the vast webosphere, make sure you prioritize the information requested by the editors of the journal you are submitting to. As we explained above, failure to include required statements will lead to an automatic “ desk rejection ”.
With that said, below is a list of the most common elements you must include in your cover letter and what information you should NOT include:
- Editor’s name (when known)
- Name of the journal to which you are submitting
- Your manuscript’s title
- Article type (review, research, case study, etc.)
- Submission date
- Brief background of your study and the research question you sought to answer
- Brief overview of methodology used
- Principle findings and significance to scientific community (how your research advances our understanding of a concept)
- Corresponding author contact information
- Statement that your paper has not been previously published and is not currently under consideration by another journal and that all authors have approved of and have agreed to submit the manuscript to this journal
Other commonly requested information:
- Short list of similar articles previously published by the target journal
- List of relevant works by you or your co-authors that have been previously published or are under consideration by other journals. You can include copies of those works.
- Mention of any prior discussions with editor(s) (for example, if you discussed the topic with an editor at a conference)
- Technical specialties required to evaluate your paper
- Potential reviewers and their contact information
- If needed, reviewers to exclude (this information is most likely also requested elsewhere in online submissions forms)
Other disclosures/statements required by the journal (e.g., compliance with ethical standards, conflicts of interest , agreement to terms of submission, copyright sign-over, etc.)
What you should NOT do:
- Don’t use too much jargon or include too many acronyms.
- Don’t over-embellish your findings or their significance. Avoid words such as “novel,” “first ever,” and “paradigm-changing.” These types of statements show bias and will make the editor question your ability to assess your work’s merits objectively.
- Don’t name-drop. Listing people who might endorse your paper and discussing authors’ reputations do not interest editors. They want to know if your content fits their criteria, so focus solely on addressing that point.
- Don’t write a novel. While you want to adequately explain your work and sell its concept to editors, keep your cover letter to a maximum of one page. The letter is only meant to be an introduction and brief overview.
- Avoid humor . As much as we want to grab the editors’ attention, there are too many ways in which humor can go wrong!
How to Structure a Cover Letter
You should use formal language in your cover letter. Since most submissions are delivered electronically, the template below is in a modified e-mail format. However, if you send your cover letter on letterhead (PDF or hard copy by mail), move your contact information to the upper-left corner of the page unless you use pre-printed letterhead, in which case your contact information should be centered at the top of the letter.
ANNOTATED TEMPLATE Journal Submissions Cover Letter
[Journal Editor’s First and Last Name][, Graduate Degree (if any)] TIP: It’s customary to include any graduate degrees in the addressee’s name. e.g., John Smith, MD or Carolyn Daniels, MPH [Title] e.g., Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor, Co-Editors-in-Chief [Journal Name] [Journal Address] [Submission Date: Month Day, Year]
Dear Dr./Mr./Ms. [Editor’s last name]:
TIP: Where the editor’s name is not known, use the relevant title employed by the journal, such as “Dear Managing Editor:” or “Dear Editor-in-Chief:”. Using a person’s name is best, however.
TIP: Use “Ms.” and never “Mrs.” or “Miss” in formal business letters.
TIP: Never use “Dear Sirs:” or any similar expression. Many editors will find this insulting, especially given that many of them are female!
[Para.1: 2–3 sentences] I am writing to submit our manuscript entitled, [“Title”] for consideration as a [Journal Name][Article Type]. [One to two sentence “pitch” that summarizes the study design, where applicable, your research question, your major findings, and the conclusion.]
e.g., I am writing to submit our manuscript entitled, “X Marks the Spot” for consideration as an Awesome Science Journal research article. We examined the efficacy of using X factors as indicators for depression in Y subjects in Z regions through a 12-month prospective cohort study and can confirm that monitoring the levels of X is critical to identifying the onset of depression, regardless of geographical influences.
TIP: Useful phrases to discuss your findings and conclusion include:
- Our findings confirm that…
- We have determined that…
- Our results suggest…
- We found that…
- We illustrate…
- Our findings reveal…
- Our study clarifies…
- Our research corroborates…
- Our results establish…
- Our work substantiates…
[Para. 2: 2–5 sentences] Given that [context that prompted your research], we believe that the findings presented in our paper will appeal to the [Reader Profile] who subscribe to [Journal Name]. Our findings will allow your readers to [identify the aspects of the journal’s Aim and Scope that align with your paper].
TIP: Identify the journal’s typical audience and how those people can utilize your research to expand their understanding of a topic. For example, if many of your target journal’s readers are interested in the public policy implications of various research studies, you may wish to discuss how your conclusions can help your peers to develop stronger policies that more effectively address public concerns.
TIP: Include context about why this research question had to be addressed.
e.g., “Given the struggle policymakers have had to define proper criteria to diagnose the onset of depression in teenagers, we felt compelled to identify a cost-effective and universal methodology that local school administrators can use to screen students.”
TIP: If your paper was prompted by prior research, state this. For example, “After initially researching X, Y approached us to conduct a follow-up study that examined Z. While pursuing this project, we discovered [some new understanding that made you decide the information needed to be shared with your peers via publication.]”
e.g., Given the alarming increase in depression rates among teenagers and the lack of any uniform practical tests for screening students, we believe that the findings presented in our paper will appeal to education policymakers who subscribe to The Journal of Education . Although prior research has identified a few methods that could be used in depression screening, such as X and Y, the applications developed from those findings have been cost-prohibitive and difficult to administer on a national level. Thus, our findings will allow your readers to understand the factors involved in identifying the onset of depression in teenagers better and develop more cost-effective screening procedures that can be employed nationally. In so doing, we hope that our research advances the toolset needed to combat the concerns preoccupying the minds of many school administrators.
[Para 3: Similar works] “This manuscript expands on the prior research conducted and published by [Authors] in [Journal Name]” or “This paper [examines a different aspect of]/ [takes a different approach to] the issues explored in the following papers also published by [Journal Name].”
TIP: You should mention similar studies recently published by your target journal, if any, but list no more than five. If you only want to mention one article, replace the preceding sentence with “This paper [examines a different aspect of]/ [takes a different approach to] the issues explored by [Authors] in [Article Title], also published by [Journal Name] on [DATE].”
[Para. 4: Additional statements often required] Each of the authors confirms that this manuscript has not been previously published and is not currently under consideration by any other journal. Additionally, all of the authors have approved the contents of this paper and have agreed to the [Journal Name]’s submission policies.
TIP: If you have previously publicly shared some form or part of your research elsewhere, state so. For example, you can say, “We have presented a subset of our findings [at Event]/ [as a Type of Publication Medium] in [Location] in [Year].”
e.g., We have since expanded the scope of our research to contemplate international feasibility and acquired additional data that has helped us to develop a new understanding of geographical influences.
[Para. 5: Potential Reviewers] Should you select our manuscript for peer review, we would like to suggest the following potential reviewers/referees because they would have the requisite background to evaluate our findings and interpretation objectively.
- [Name, institution, email, expertise]
To the best of our knowledge, none of the above-suggested persons have any conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.
TIP: Include 3–5 reviewers since it is likely that the journal will use at least one of your suggestions.
TIP: Use whichever term (“reviewer” or “referee”) your target journal uses. Paying close attention to a journal’s terminology is a sign that you have properly researched the journal and have prepared!
[Para. 6: Frequently requested additional information] Each named author has substantially contributed to conducting the underlying research and drafting this manuscript. Additionally, to the best of our knowledge, the named authors have no conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.
Corresponding Author Institution Title Institution/Affiliation Name [Institution Address] [Your e-mail address] [Tel: (include relevant country/area code)] [Fax: (include relevant country/area code)]
Additional Contact [should the corresponding author not be available] Institution Title Institution/Affiliation Name [Institution Address] [Your e-mail address] [Tel: (include relevant country/area code)] [Fax: (include relevant country/area code)]
Quick Cover Letter Checklist Before Submission
- Set the font to Arial or Times New Roman, size 12 point.
- Single-space all text.
- Use one line space between body paragraphs.
- Do not indent paragraphs.
- Keep all text left justified.
- Use spelling and grammar check software. If needed, use a proofreading service or cover letter editing service such as Wordvice to review your letter for clarity and concision.
- Double-check the editor’s name. Call the journal to confirm if necessary.
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- Cover Letter
- Cover Letter for Journal Submission: Sample & How To Write
Cover Letter for Journal Submission: Sample & How To Write
You spent months doing research and documenting it in a neat manuscript. Make sure it gets published with this guide to cover letters for journal submissions
Every day, you help the world to move forward. Conducting research, performing tests, and working on scientific experiments are a part of your routine. The data you’ve collected must be processed and presented in a neat manuscript.
But wait. Who’s going to read it? Oh, right. You must have an audience. But not just any audience—you need scientists like you to read and review your paper. And to reach them, you must send your work to scientific journals.
To make sure your groundbreaking findings get published in reputable journals, you must write a professional cover letter for journal submission.
This guide will show you:
- A cover letter for journal submissions better than 9 out of 10 others.
- A sample cover letter for manuscript submission that gets your work published.
- A step-by-step guide on how to write a cover letter for a journal submission.
- How a neat abstract can put your scientific career on the right track.
Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that adapt to your content and already have all the formatting in place. Make your document look perfect with zero effort!
CREATE YOUR COVER LETTER NOW
That’s a sample cover letter for a journal submission made with our builder. See more cover letter templates and create your cover letter here .
Check this cover letter for journal submission sample:Cover Letter for Journal Submission Sample
Sushmita Devi, M. Sc.
Psychology Research Fellow, Indian Institute of Psychology & Research, Bangalore
+91 82 97651366
The International Journal of Indian Psychology
Sardar Patel University
Vallabh Vidyanagar, 388120
Dear Mr. Sur,
I'm honoured to submit my manuscript entitled " Life dissatisfaction and anxiety levels among teenage Instagram users in Bangalore " to be considered for publication as a case report in The International Journal of Indian Psychology.
As a psychology research fellow at the Indian Institute of Psychology & Research in Bangalore, I have focused on working with youth from various socioeconomic backgrounds. While serving as a counsellor, I've noticed high general anxiety levels, body image issues, eating disorders, and overall life dissatisfaction among 13–18-year-olds who used Instagram regularly and extensively.
I’ve conducted interviews with 168 individuals who declared active use of Instagram, defined as posting on their profiles at least once per day and interacting with the platform for more than 4 hours a day. Each individual filled out a self-assessment questionnaire to provide an overview of their self-esteem and to describe their Instagram habits. After gathering this preliminary data, I have discussed the answers with each participant and further evaluated their mental health.
Since social media is increasingly recognized as a major influence on children and teenagers, it’s also more often seen as a problem by parents and teachers. I believe that the findings presented in my case report may appeal to child psychologists, counsellors, social workers, and educators. Understanding the correlation between Instagram use and mental wellbeing can lead to the creation of health campaigns and establishing ways to enhance the positive effect of social media while minimizing the negative outcomes.
This manuscript examines a different aspect of the issues covered in the following papers also published by The International Journal of Indian Psychology:
- "The effect of Instagram addiction on quality of life among undergraduate students in Mysuru" by Schwann S Akanksh, Lancy D’Souza, Manish S, published in December 2020.
- "Social Media Use and Social Anxiety among Adolescents" by Cheryl Jolly, published in February 2022
- "Social Media Usage and Social Appearance Anxiety in Young Adults" by Teresa Sharon M A, Zidan Kachhi, Dr. Deepthi Vijayan, published in August 2021.
I declare that this manuscript is original and has not been published before. It is not currently being considered for publication elsewhere. No financial support was received for this study.
As the only author, I have approved the final version of the manuscript and agree to be accountable for all aspects of this work.
I believe that the following individuals would be well suited to reviewing my manuscript:
- Dr. Ehsaan Muni, University of Calcutta, Associate Professor specializing in child and adolescent mental health disorders: [email protected]
- Dr. Nupoor Golla, Banaras Hindu University, Assistant Professor specializing in cross-cultural health psychology: [email protected]
- Dr. Baldev Mutti, Bangalore University, Assistant Professor specializing in child psychology: [email protected]
To the best of my knowledge, none of the above-suggested persons has any conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Indian Institute of Psychology & Research
St. Anthony's Friary, #85, Hosur Road, Bangalore-560095
See? Not that complicated! Yet, it brings you a few steps closer to getting that research paper published.
Thinking of improving on your resume to better present yourself to the academic community? Check this guide: How to Write a Resume for a Job: See a Good Sample & Guide
Now, let’s see how to write a cover letter for journal submission:
1. Start With the Proper Cover Letter for Journal Submission Template
Appearances matter. You wouldn’t wear a baggy T-shirt and shorts to an academic conference. In the same way, you don’t want your cover letter for journal submission to look sloppy.
Follow these steps to create a professional template:
Cover Letter for Journal Submission Checklist
- Add your contact information, degree, name of the institution
- List the editor’s name, the name of the journal, address, and submission date
- Greet the editor by name: Dear Mr./Mrs. XYZ
- Say the title of your manuscript
- Explain your motivation behind this paper
- Summarize the research in an abstract
- Highlight why readers might be interested in your paper
- Mention past papers from this journal that explored similar themes
- Add mandatory declarations
- Point to potential reviewers
- Regards + your info
Interested in writing a cover letter as well? Read more: How to Write a Cover Letter in India: Examples & Full Guide
2. Begin Your Cover Letter for Journal Submission Strong
Scientific journals receive hundreds of submissions on a daily basis. Even if your research is truly groundbreaking, they might overlook it.
Hoping to see your name in The Lancet ? Then start with putting it in your cover letter! Make sure to also include your contact information, degree, and the academic institution that backs you up. Then, list the information of the chief editor you’re addressing.
But that’s not all!
The first paragraph of your cover letter for journal submission must present the title of your manuscript. It’s also worth noting the type of article, such as review, case study, research, etc. Then, explain why you’ve conducted your research and mention the main findings.
Cover Letter for Journal Submission Sample
This example presents the themes of the manuscript in a clear and concise manner. It includes all the essential information.
While the title of the article sounds promising, the information provided by the author doesn’t explain why they chose this particular subject and what they focused on.
Pro Tip: Many journals, including Nature , Science , and Elsevier , list the exact information required in the cover letter for journal submissions. Make sure to check the requirements of your preferred journal before writing your cover letter!
3. Put the Abstract in the Middle of Your Cover Letter for Journal Submission
The editor’s attention spiked after the intro, but now it dropped.
Because you started rambling about your unique findings without mentioning how you got to these conclusions. They’ve decided you’re just a dreamer with no facts to back up your ideas.
Don’t try to shake the world—first, prove you know what you’re talking about:
- Describe your scientific methods and type of data you’ve collected.
- Mention why your study is important and who might benefit from it.
- List articles that covered similar themes.
See? There’s no need for a lengthy essay here.
Check this cover letter for journal submission sample to see what I’m talking about:
Cover Letter for Journal Submission—Middle Part
You’ve got it all! This shows the editor you know what you’re talking about. You aren’t a pseudo-scientist trying to push your intuitive beliefs on others.
Ouch. That’s really vague. It doesn’t seem convincing—maybe the author isn’t really a scientist?
Pro Tip: Writing about your research in English may not be as natural to you as chatting with fellow researchers over lunch. Studies show that many papers from non-English speaking authors are regularly rejected by editors because of incorrect grammar. If you need to improve your language skills, consider joining courses specifically for scientists, such as Coursera’s English for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics .
When making a resume and a cover letter in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check . Start building a professional resume template here for free .
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
4. Add Mandatory Declarations to Your Cover Letter for Journal Submission
Now, this is a very easy part.
Most journals require authors to include various statements. They provide backing for the journal in case of legal issues.
Those may include:
- Statement that none of the material has been previously published or is currently under consideration for publication in another journal
- Statement that informed consent was obtained for investigations on humans
- Statement that animals’ care during the study was in accordance with local guidelines
- Statement regarding possible conflict of interest, funding sources, competing interests, etc.
To make sure you included all required clauses, always check the requirements of the journal.
Cover Letter for Journal Submission—Mandatory Clauses
It’s clear and easy to understand. The required statements are covered here.
There aren’t enough details here. It’s always best to just paraphrase the clauses listed in submission requirements.
Pro Tip: Always be upfront about a potential conflict of interest, especially when your research was financed by a private institution. There’s no shame in getting private funding! In the U.S., over 70% of research and development is funded by the private sector .
5. Finish Your Cover Letter for Journal Submission
Now it’s time for the last step: the ending!
But before you can click “send” on your submission, there’s one more important thing.
That’s one of the goals of your submission—to get your article reviewed by other scientists. This way, you become more trustworthy. It will also help to gain interest in your research, which might lead to future job opportunities.
Think of 3–5 persons from the academic community who might be interested in your research. It’s best if they study similar themes or published articles on related topics. Pay attention to potential conflicts of interest!
Cover Letter for Journal Submission—Ending
It’s pretty clear why these individuals could be interested in reviewing this article—they all specialize in similar topics.
A great cover letter that matches your CV will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here . Here's what it may look like:
See more cover letter templates and start writing.
This is the easiest formula to write a cover letter for journal submission:
- Use the proper format for a cover letter for journal submission to make sure you include essential information.
- State the reasoning behind your article.
- Show your methods to prove you’re a serious scientist.
- Point to readers who could benefit from your research.
- Include mandatory statements.
- Mention potential reviewers.
Now get to writing!
Not sure how to customize your cover letter to the journal’s requirements? Having trouble describing your research methods? Leave a comment below. I’ll be happy to assist you!
What is a Cover Letter for a Resume / CV / Job Application
To send or not to send, that is the question. Cover letters can be a secret weapon in the job hunt today. Here’s why.
Cover Letter for Internship: Format & Sample [No Experience]
Worried you won’t get accepted for an internship? Boost your chances of success with a cover letter for internship applications that will put you miles ahead of your competition.
20 Free Resume Templates to Download (Word, PDF & More)
Looking for a free resume template to download and edit? Well, here it is: our selection of 20+ free resume templates for freshers and pros, ready to be downloaded.
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Three Cover Letter Templates to Journal Editors
Posted by Rene Tetzner | Aug 26, 2021 | How To Get Published | 0 |
Three Cover Letter Templates to Journal Editors Each cover letter is unique, and those addressed to journal editors by scientists and academics when they submit their writing for publication are no exception. As an opportunity to present original research in the best possible light, a cover letter is indispensible for persuading a busy editor that a manuscript is worthy of peer review. A letter can only achieve this goal, however, if it is well written, contains everything the particular journal’s author instructions request for cover letters and offers specific and detailed information about why the research reported and the paper itself are perfect for the journal and of special interest to its readers. The originality that should characterise an excellent cover letter therefore prevents the wholesale use of a universal template without significant alterations, but the three sample letters that appear below may prove helpful for scholars who are planning, formatting and drafting a professional cover letter to a journal editor.
The content of the three sample letters is entirely fictional, with the dates, names, titles and situations invented. The specifics pertinent to your own research, your manuscript and the journal you are targeting will give you the raw material to emulate these templates. The format of a traditional business letter has been observed, so contact information for the authors and editors has been provided as complete mailing addresses. This formality may not be strictly necessary when communicating with a journal editor via email, where such details are often truncated, but the complete forms are always acceptable, and proper names and titles are a necessity. If possible, the official letterhead of the university, department or other research body with which you are affiliated should be used along with your name, phone number and professional email address.
Descriptions of the research and manuscript in each of the three examples have been kept simple so that the meaning will be clear to readers of all specialisations, but there are certainly successful cover letters that delve into a good deal more detail. Letter 2 below, for instance, might productively say more about the specific lights used and tomato plants grown and provide numbers and percentages as well. Do keep in mind, however, that the clarity and accessibility offered by a short and simple approach is also valuable, particularly when writing to an editor who may not share your precise specialisation.
Letter 1 adopts the perspective of a doctoral candidate who has rewritten the literature review chapter of his thesis as a bibliographical study and is seeking publication for the first time. Letter 2 introduces a research paper written by several authors and demonstrates how to act as the corresponding author when submitting a multi-author manuscript. Letter 3 posits that the author met the journal editor at a recent conference where an earlier version of the paper now being submitted for a theme issue of the journal was presented.
Download –> Letter 1: A Doctoral Candidate Seeking His First Publication
Joe Student Department of English University of the Western Shore San Francisco, CA, USA 98765 777-999-8888 [email protected]
Dr. Brian Editing Editor-in-Chief Journal of Analytical Middle English Bibliography New York, NY, USA 12345 [email protected]
November 8, 2017
Dear Dr. Editing,
I am writing to submit my article entitled ‘A Bibliography of Hoccleve Studies from the Fifteenth Century to 2017: Patterns of Readership and Response’ for publication in the Journal of Analytical Middle English Bibliography . This manuscript is based on a chapter of my doctoral thesis, supervised by Dr Hoccleve Specialist, and has not been published or submitted elsewhere for consideration.
I believe this manuscript is appropriate for the Journal of Analytical Middle English Bibliography because it combines a complete list and critical summary of previous studies with an in-depth analysis of not only individual contributions, but also the larger patterns of scholarship and their possible significance through the centuries. As I argue in the paper, the autobiographical nature of Hoccleve’s writing and the bouts of madness he claims to have experienced are topics upon which perspectives and approaches swing on a particularly long pendulum. Shifts in opinion regarding the literary quality of Hoccleve’s poetry are similarly striking. Current trends and the annotated Hoccleve bibliography will likely prove of special interest to many of your readers, enabling future research and encouraging scholarly self-awareness.
If you decide to consider the manuscript for publication, I suggest the following two experts as qualified reviewers:
Dr. Medieval Scholarship Professor of English, Southern University [email protected]
Dr. Manuscript Expert Director of Medieval Studies, Northern University [email protected]
Many thanks for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.
Joe Student Ph.D. Candidate and Teaching Assistant Department of English University of the Western Shore
Download –> Letter 2: A Corresponding Author Submitting an Article Written by Several Researchers
Jane Researcher Private Plant Research Institute 9201 Pink Greenhouse Place Coquitlam, BC, Canada, V0V 1A1 604-604-6044 [email protected]
Dr Samuel Botanist Managing Editor Growing Our Greenhouse: A Journal of Current Research 2020 Glass Hill Colorado Springs, CO, USA, 59678 [email protected]
November 22, 2017
Dear Dr Botanist,
I am delighted to submit an original research article entitled ‘LED Lights Increase Vitamin C Content in Greenhouse Cherry Tomatoes’ for publication in Growing Our Greenhouse: A Journal of Current Research . My colleagues and I at the Private Plant Research Institute in Coquitlam conducted the research and coauthored the manuscript; a full list of the names and affiliations of all ten coauthors is attached. We have all approved the manuscript for submission to Growing Our Greenhouse , and I have been chosen as the corresponding author.
The article is particularly appropriate for the journal’s section dedicated to the cultivation of fruits and vegetables. It is, in fact, a continuation of the research presented in our article ‘Can LED Lights Really Replace the Sun for Tomatoes?’ which was published in that section of Growing Our Greenhouse two years ago. Then we were analysing the results of our first two seasons of growing tomatoes under LED lights. One of the unexpected discoveries we made as we determined which plants and lights produced the best results was that vitamin C content appeared to increase when the ripening fruit was exposed to LED light.
The research reported in the manuscript I am submitting today was designed to investigate further the apparent increases in vitamin C. Its methodology is similar to that of our earlier study, but we used only those cherry tomato plants that we had already shown could thrive under LED lights. We also established a larger number of experimental groups to explore the effects of variables such as light colour, light intensity, hours of exposure, ambient temperature and presence or absence of sunlight. Our findings were convincing to say the least, with vitamin C content doubling and sometimes trebling in fruit exposed to additional LED light. Even fruit given only LED lighting and deprived of all natural sunlight far exceeded the vitamin C content of those tomatoes exposed to natural sunlight alone.
We trust that your readers will find our hands-on empirical method as effective as they have in the past and benefit from our practices and discoveries as they grow and experiment in their own greenhouses.
Thank you for your continuing interest and consideration.
Jane Researcher Research Director, Private Plant Research Institute
Download –> Letter 3: A Conference Participant Submitting a Paper to the Journal Editor She Met
Sheila Presenter Chair, School of Business Management Yorkshire University 2121 University Road York, North Yorkshire, UK, YO33 7EE 01904 323232 [email protected]
Dr Margaret Publisher Editor-in-Chief Journal of Innovative Business Studies 178B West Central Avenue London, UK, EC9M 6BB [email protected]
25 November 2017
Dear Dr Publisher,
It was a pleasure meeting you and discussing our similar interests at the Business Management conference in London a couple of weeks ago. As promised, I have revised my presentation and am submitting it for your consideration for the upcoming issue of the Journal of Innovative Business Studies dedicated to management innovations. The new title of the manuscript is ‘Empathy as a Management Strategy Yields Significant Increases in Efficiency and Productivity.’
You might recall that we discussed the challenges of reshaping my presentation, which was designed to generate in conference attendees the emotional responses it discusses, to conform to the structural requirements of the Journal of Innovative Business Studies . The journal’s author instructions were actually very helpful, and I believe the overall argument of the paper is now clearer as a result of the rearrangement. I also took a look at the recent Journal of Innovative Business Studies articles by Sally Scholar and John Researcher that you recommended. The former was particularly helpful and I have cited it more than once in my closing discussion. That discussion has benefited significantly from our long talk at the conference and I hope you do not object to my acknowledgement of your insight.
As you know, the research presented in the manuscript is original and has not been published or submitted elsewhere. My methods comply with the journal’s ethical standards, I have no conflicts of interest to disclose and I have removed all traces of my identity in preparation for blind review. I would respectfully request that Stephen Harsh not review the manuscript, however. His knowledge in this area is extensive, but you may remember from his comments at the conference that he does not share my approach to management or view my recent research with a positive eye. I believe the following two experts would serve as more appropriate reviewers of my paper:
Frederick Newapproach CEO, Management Innovations UK Inc. [email protected] Samantha Kindheart Chair, Department of Business Management University of the Wolds [email protected]
I look forward to seeing you at the upcoming conference in Leeds. In the meantime, let me take this opportunity to thank you for your interest and consideration.
Sheila Presenter Chair, School of Business Management Yorkshire University
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Writing a manuscript: cover letter.
- Most journals require a cover letter to be submitted with a manuscript
- Many ask that statements regarding funding, conflicts of interest, or copyright transfer be included in this letter – be sure to comply!
- Some will ask for a brief overview of your paper – this is your opportunity to summarize your entire manuscript in one or two sentences! Leave out all background or introductory information, and simply state what you found and why it’s important.
- If a journal accepts different types of articles (reviews, original articles, images), be sure to state what type of article you are submitting
- Many journals ask authors to suggest reviewers or even editors for their manuscripts: take advantage of this! If you know experts in the field, especially if they are favorable to your hypotheses or studies, suggest them as reviewers for your manuscript. While reviews are still anonymous (the reviewers won’t know whose paper they are reviewing), the journal will appreciate the suggestion(s) as this saves them time and likely helps you with knowing your paper is in the hands of a colleague who knows the subject matter well. This will also likely help speed up the review process.
- Close the letter by thanking the editor or journal for their consideration of your work
- Place the letter on official department, division, or professional letterhead
Sample Cover Letter
Dr. John Smith, Editor-in-Chief Journal of Ophthalmology
Dear Dr. Smith:
We are submitting our manuscript entitled “Taking antioxidants plus zinc reduces the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration for high-risk patients,” for consideration for publication as an Original Article in Journal of Ophthalmology . This work has not been previously published and is not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. All authors have contributed significantly and have read and approved the submitted work.
Results from our randomized, controlled trial of drug X demonstrate significant improvement in patient symptoms. Drug X is a simple, cost-effective treatment that clinicians can implement easily and quickly into routine practice.
[Any required text: disclosures, funding, author participation, IRB/ACUC approval]
Thank you for your consideration of this manuscript. We look forward to hearing from you.
A. Thomas Jones, MD Associate Professor
The Caffeinated Writer
Jul 22, 2016
How to Write a Cover Letter for a Literary Journal Submission
Why you don’t need to stand out in your cover letter.
As the publisher of Fiction Attic Press , which publishes flash fiction , short stories , essays , and novellas-in-flash by new and established writers, I receive a few dozen submissions each month through our submittable portal . In the 17 years since Fiction Attic began, I’ve read thousands of cover letters for journal submissions. Some are good, some are bad, and most are forgettable. It might surprise you to know that the most forgettable cover letters are often the best. That’s because a cover letter for a literary magazine submission should be a bridge to get the reader as quickly as possible to the story. Unlike a query letter, which should drum up excitement about a novel or article you want to submit, a cover letter’s job is to be as brief and invisible as possible.
What Not to Do in Your Cover Letter
A cover letter is never a place to be cute, as in, “I live with my seven gerbils and love Swedish Fish!” That’s great if you’re submitting to a high school writing contest or venue, but for most literary magazines, leave the Swedish fish out of it, unless you know that the editor is a huge fan of Swedish Fish.
Explain, praise, or summarize the story
Your cover letter isn’t a place to sing your own praises — “This story is a riveting journey into the mind of a madman. It offers a unique perspective on mental illness and will be sure to wow your readers.”
Let the reader be the judge of that.
Your cover letter definitely shouldn’t vaguely mention publications and awards without backing them up. I recently received a submission with a cover letter that began:
PUBLICATIONS & AWARDS: To date, 30+ short fiction publications in print and online and 12 writing awards. Details on request.
The first problem with this letter is that it isn’t a letter. There’s no salutation. The second problem is that it comes off as arrogant. The writer assumes that this single submission is so important that the editor will take the time and effort to contact the writer requesting “details” of the writer’s publications and awards.
It would be far more impressive to name one or two good publications and one or two real awards. “12 writing awards” could mean that the writer won best essay in a college writing contest, which is irrelevant to an editor. The fact that the writer doesn’t specifically name the awards or publications makes me think they’re not worth mentioning.
Quote Amazon reviews of previous books or stories
When you’re pitching a book to an agent, of course, you may quote newspaper, magazine, and trade publication reviews of previous books, but writing a query letter for an agent is an entirely different skill. There is no reason to quote reviews in a submission to a journal. Editors don’t expect you to have reviews unless you have a published book; because you’re not submitting a published book to a literary journal, a review has no place in your letter.
The most forgettable cover letters are often the best.
Your cover letter shouldn’t
- try to explain your story
- be arrogant
- quote Amazon reviews
- include phrases like, “Jane Writer‘s work deftly plumbs the intricacies of the human psyche.”
What To Include in Your Cover Letter for a Literary Journal Submission
What your cover letter should do is indicate your professionalism so the editor can get past the cover letter and on to the story. It should be a gateway, not a barrier.
It should include a salutation addressed to the correct editor, a brief statement including the title and length of what you’re submitting, a brief bio including two to three previous publications if you have them, and a polite sign-off (known in traditional letter-writing as the complimentary close and the signature).
Whether you have zero publications to your name or an impressive bibliography, if your cover letter is professional, most editors will eagerly set the letter aside and begin reading the story. Remember, editors love to “discover” unpublished writers, so the absence of previous publications isn’t a problem. If the letter is unprofessional, on the other hand, editors will approach the story warily, expecting it to be as poorly executed as the letter.
Your cover letter should indicate your professionalism so the editor can get past the cover letter and on to the story.
A Good Literary Magazine Submission Cover Letter
I wanted to share with you a cover letter in which the writer does almost everything right. This letter came in “over the transom” (publishing speak for unsolicited) through Fiction Attic’s Submittable page .
Dear Fiction Attic Press, Thank you for considering my work. I am an emerging writer with only a small scattering of published pieces. I appreciate all the time and attention my work receives. I look forward to hearing from you. This is a simultaneous submission. I will withdraw the piece immediately if it is accepted elsewhere. I am a writer and graduate student in the MA English program at *** University. My work has been published in *** and ***, and is forthcoming in ***. I live in *** with my fiancée, Jane. Sincerely, Joe Writer
Why the letter works:
- The tone is genuine and not boastful.
- The writer expresses appreciation for the work that goes into reading submissions (not necessary at all, but it’s certainly a nice gesture).
- The writer uses a phrase that is a common courtesy of professional letters in any industry: I look forward to hearing from you.
- The writer acknowledges that it is a simultaneous submission. This is not only courteous; it also indicates that the writer has done his homework, understands the world of literary magazines, and knows that most stories are submitted to multiple publications before they are accepted.
- The bio is brief and lends credibility: He is working on an MA, which means he is a serious reader and writer. It’s certainly not necessary to have an advanced degree in English or any degree for that matter, but if you have one or are pursuing one, you should include it in your letter.
- If you don’t have a creative writing background, no worries. Briefly state what you do. Writer Person is a truck driver living in Modesto. Your profession is probably part of your identity. I am always interested in what a submitter does for a living, and if the writer is a truck driver/park ranger/astrophysicist/hot dog stand worker (pretty much anything other than just a writer), I’m instantly intrigued.
- In the bio, the writer names three publications in which his work has appeared and is forthcoming. Three to four is the maximum number of publications you should name, unless every publication you name is impressive ( Glimmer Train, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, etc). I get a lot of letters in which writers name a dozen publications I’ve never heard of. It’s great if you’ve published in very small journals (after all, Fiction Attic is very small!), but you don’t need to name all of them. The proper way to list publications is this: My work has appeared in ***, ***, ***, and other magazines and anthologies . Or My work has appeared in or is forthcoming from ***, ***, and ***, among others.
- Three sentences is the perfect length for a bio. If you have won literary awards, you can add a sentence after the list of publications stating, My short story, ***, won the *** Emerging Writers Prize. However, resist the temptation to include a long list of third-runner up prizes. I repeat: resist.
- Although it’s certainly not necessary to name your fiancé, including a third sentence provides a nicely rounded biography. Saying where you live is a perfect way to construct that third sentence. In this case, I found it sweet that he named his fiancé.
- The one thing Joe Writer should have done differently is address the letter to a person instead of to Fiction Attic Press. In the case of Fiction Attic, I am listed on the About page as the editor. If a magazine lists Fiction Editor, Poetry Editor, or Nonfiction Editor on its masthead or about page, address your cover letter to the specific editor. If no names are provided, simply address it to the name of the publication.
So, there you have it: a simple, effective letter for a literary magazine submission.
One more tip: although you don’t want your letter to be overly familiar, if you share a genuine connection with the editor, mention it. For example: On a personal note, I noticed that you attended The University of Alabama. I was a student there from 2002 to 2006. Roll Tide! If someone wrote this in a letter, I would notice, and it would give me the warm fuzzies.
And just one more: Another thing you might mention in your letter is a recent story or two that you admire from the publication, to show that you’ve done your research and understand what kind of work the journal publishes.
Now, go forth and submit!
psst… a shout-out to Laurel Moon , the literary magazine of Brandeis University, for linking to this post in its submission guidelines .
SUBMIT your flash fiction and to Fiction Attic. Submit your novella-in-flash (we are actively seeking our first novella-in-flash for serial publication).
Hone your flash fiction and write twelve flash fictions in four weeks in the Fiction Attic Press flash fiction intensive . All stories submitted for this class are automatically considered for publication in Fiction Attic.
Michelle Richmond is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels and two story collections, including most recently The Wonder Test . Her books have been published in 30 languages.
More from The Caffeinated Writer
Essays on novel writing, publishing, and the writing life from New York Times bestselling novelist Michelle Richmond.
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Text to speech
A good cover letter will help "sell" your manuscript to the journal editor. it is not enough to send a manuscript to a journal editor like this:.
I am sending you our manuscript entitled "Large Scale Analysis of Cell Cycle Regulators in bladder cancer" by Researcher et al. We would like to have the manuscript considered for publication in Pathobiology.
Please let me know of your decision at your earliest convenience.
With my best regards,
A Researcher, PhD
Instead, check to see whether the journal's Instructions for Authors have any cover letter requirements (e.g., disclosures, statements, potential reviewers).
Then, write a letter that explains why the Editor would want to publish your manuscript:
- Please find enclosed our manuscript, "[manuscript title]" by [first author's name] et al., which we would like to submit for publication as a [publication type] in [name of the journal].
- To our knowledge, this is the first report showing...
- We believe our findings would appeal to the readership of [journal name].
- Please address all correspondence to:
- We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
All cover letters should contain these sentences:
- We confirm that this manuscript has not been published elsewhere and is not under consideration by another journal.
- All authors have approved the manuscript and agree with its submission to [insert the name of the target journal].
Submission checklist Before submitting your manuscript, thoroughly check its quality one more time. Evaluate it critically-could anything be done better?
Be sure that:
- The manuscript follows the submission guidelines
- All files are in the correct file format and of the appropriate resolution or size
- The spelling and grammar are correct
- You have contact information for all authors
- You have completed online registration for the submission process for your target journal
- You have written a persuasive cover letter
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Tips on Writing Cover Letters
A cover letter intended to be submitted with your article manuscript is not a formality. Care should be taken when writing such a letter. When writing a cover letter, keep these tips in mind:
- Include a statement that your research has not been published elsewhere or is not under consideration for publication elsewhere
- Keep it concise - at maximum, a page long
- Do not copy and paste your abstract; write a clear paragraph explaining why your research is important and why that journal's readers would find it interesting
- Make sure you are including all the information that the Instructions for Authors page on the journal's website asks you to
- Publishers sometimes have their own templates - use those as a guide
- Proofread, proofread, proofread! Make sure you letter is free of typos and is addressed to the correct editor and journal
Information above was taken from the sources below.
Image by Mehmed_Nurrohmad on Pixabay .
- Key Information to Include in Your Cover Letter A template of information that should be included in a cover letter. From Taylor & Francis.
- Cover Letters Information that should be included in a cover letter, with an example of a poor cover letter. From Springer.
- Writing a Journal Cover Letter A short guide to a good cover letter, along with a template. From American Journal Experts (AJE).
- How to Write a Cover Letter A cover letter template from Wiley.
- Submitting Your Manuscript: Write the Right Cover Letter A short guide to what should be included in a cover letter. From Cell Press.
- Cover Letter and Submission Form Preparation A chapter from "Getting Published in the Life Sciences" (2011) that includes guidance on how to prepare a cover letter as well as a sample template.
- << Previous: Journal Impact Factors For the Top Journals in Your Field
- Last Updated: Jan 11, 2023 3:13 PM
- URL: https://libguides.mssm.edu/journalselection
- Journal Article Publishing Support Center
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- Research & Preparation
What should be included in a cover letter?
You may be required to submit a cover letter with your submission. Individual journals may have specific requirements regarding the cover letter's contents, so please consult the individual journal's Guide for Authors.
A cover letter is a simple, brief business letter, designed to introduce your manuscript to a prospective Editor. If the Guide for Authors does not specify what to include in your cover letter, you may wish to include some of the following items:
- Specify special considerations that should be given to the paper (if any).
- A brief background regarding the research involved or how the data was collected.
- Details of any previous or concurrent submissions.
- It's also useful to provide the Editor-in-Chief with any information that will support your submission (e.g. original or confirmatory data, relevance, topicality).
- The inclusion (or exclusion) of certain Reviewers (if propose/oppose reviewers isn't an available step in the submission process).
- Bring to the Editor’s attention any Conflict of Interest or Permissions information which may be relevant. Be sure to upload any accompanying forms or declarations as required to your submission.
Please note: When your manuscript is received at Elsevier, it's considered to be in its 'final form' ready to be reviewed, so please check your manuscript carefully before you submit it to the Editor. A guide to the publication process and getting your article published in an Elsevier journal is available on the Elsevier Publishing Campus .
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How to Write an Effective Cover Letter for Journal Submission | Example Cover Letter
When submitting your manuscript to a journal, it is important to include a well-written cover letter which could help your paper to reach the next level of the process. A good cover letter can voice your manuscript on behalf of you to the journal editor. You can take this opportunity to describe why your manuscript will be of importance and interesting to the journal’s readers, which is something that every journal editor looks for. Therefore, it is worth spending time to write a coherent and convincing cover letter for journal article submission. This article provides the best cover letter example format for your easy understanding.
Before start writing your cover letter, check the instructions for authors of your journal for any specific information to be included in the cover letter. Some journals suggest including few additional details in the cover letter.
The cover letter should claim that your article is a good fit for the journal and it should highlight your major research findings. Specify the theme or scope of the journal under which you are submitting the manuscript. The author should assure the editor that there are no conflicts of interest to publish your manuscript.
To help you with this, iLovePhD imparts you how to write an effective cover letter to a journal for research article submission, providing examples of what should be included, what should not be included, and a sample template of the cover letter.
Key points to include:
- Editor’s name (you can find this on the journal webpage ).
- Name of the journal
- Your article’s title
- Brief description of the novelty of the research and emphasis on your major research findings.
- A statement that your paper is not currently under consideration by another journal
- Contact information for you and any co-authors
- Confirm that you have no conflicts of interest
- A list of potential reviewers (If asked by the journal)
- Any researchers/reviewers who should not review your manuscript (If asked by the journal)
Points to avoid:
- Keep your cover letter to a maximum of one page (brief introduction and overview).
- Don’t copy your abstract into your cover letter; instead explain significance and novelty of your work in your own words.
- Don’t use too much jargon or acronyms; instead use simple, easy and straightforward language.
- Avoid spelling and grammar errors and ensure your letter is professional before submitting.
Example Cover Letter for Journal Submission
The best cover letter example for any publication (elsevier, wiley, IEEE, springer, pubmed, taylor and francis, and SAGE ) shown below:
Dr. / Prof. (Editor’s name)
Dear Dr. /Prof. ( Editor’s name)
I/we wish to submit a research manuscript entitled “(title of research article)” for publishing in your esteemed journal. ( Briefly describe your research work in your own words. Don’t paste your abstract here. Clearly explain the novelty of your work and its significance and the reason to choose this journal for publication .)
I/we declare that all the authors ( all the authors’ name ) of this manuscript agreed to submit the manuscript to the journal ( Journal name ). We also agree to transfer copyright from the authors to the journal. The manuscript has been prepared as per the journal’s guidelines and checked for language correction.
I/we do confirm that this work is original and the manuscript is not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere.
Please address all the correspondence pertaining to this manuscript to me at ( email address ).
( Your name )
I Hope, this article helps you to know how to write an effective cover letter with an example to a journal for research article submission.
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Writing a Successful Journal Cover Letter (Free Templates)
Even great manuscripts often stand out based on the title or its contents alone. They need great cover letters.
Cover letters for journal submission are an underrated part of the submission process. Don’t overlook them. They’re a valuable step to getting your research noticed, published, and all the good things that come after that.
The truth is, most journal editors just don’t have the time to thoroughly read every submitted article in full to decide if it’s suitable for their journal. They use cover letters to help them filter out the most interesting and appropriate submissions first.
Cover letters also help identify articles completely out of the journal’s scope and that would be better off getting a quick letter of rejection.
If your manuscript doesn’t have a cover letter and the 12 other articles on the editor’s desk do, it’s likely that your paper will be looked at last. Putting in that extra effort, just like on a job application, lets you sell your research, avoid quick rejections, and more likely make it to peer review.
We also have some journal cover letter templates and examples for you, so you don’t have to start from zero. Read on.
What do you put in a journal cover letter?
Your cover letter needs certain basic elements. Generally they are:
- Editor and target journal
- Salutation (Dear Dr. …)
- Indication you’re submitting your manuscript, along with its title, and the category of manuscript you’re submitting (Original Report, Review , Case Study, etc.) based on what the journal accepts
- Background information regarding your work – what is already known about the subject matter?
- What your study was
- Why you performed the study (rationale)
- Briefly, what methods you used and what your key findings were
- Why your manuscript is a great fit for this journal
- (optional, depending on the journal and on if you want to do this) Recommended reviewers
- (optional, depending on the journal) Funding information
- Closing line (Sincerely, etc.) and the name and contact details for the manuscript’s corresponding author
Those are the key elements. It’s how you express them and the quality of your message that mean the different between a dry overview and an attractive promotion of your work.
Many journals don’t have a prescribed format for the cover letter. On the other end of the spectrum are PLOS ONE’s guidelines , which give specifics on what to include, including selecting Academic Editors from its directory.
Always check the guidelines first to be sure you give the journal what it wants. Those are basics. With a grasp of those, there are many ways to polish your cover letter into a valuable sales tool for your work.
What to do and what to avoid in your journal cover letter
Most “problems with journal cover letters relate to simply not spending enough time and care on it. Or even not doing it at all. These are easily fixed if you’re a skilled English writer. If not, they’re still easily fixed with a little help.
All of the following are critical. Make sure you DO:
- Check the name of your target journal.
- Address the cover letter to the relevant person. It is not enough to simply say “Dear Editor” or “To whom it may concern.” Include the name, title and position of the editor you are addressing.
- Avoid superlatives – about the journal, yourself and your own work. It’s pretty unlikely your work is “groundbreaking” or “trailblazing,” though it may by the “first time ever” that a certain approach was taken with a certain population.
- Check the formatting. This varies by journal. It includes US vs. UK vs. Oxford English spelling, correct page numbering, use of templates, and much more.
- Get a colleague to read your cover letter before you send it.
“ A typical cover letter just repeats the abstract. That’s a huge missed opportunity. You need to think of what the journal wants. Try to tailor your manuscript’s novel and interesting points specifically to the your target journal’s aims and scope. It may mean an extra half-hour of work for you, but if it helps get you published, isn’t it worth that small investment of time? “ — Geraldine Echue , PhD, CMPP Edanz Managing Editor
But don’t do this…
The following may not be critical, but they’re common areas that authors mess up. Sometimes they don’t know they’re doing it or they’re just trying their best. So be aware
Make sure you DON’T :
- Take shortcuts. Your cover letter is very important for getting your manuscript to peer review; give it time and attention.
- Cut and paste your abstract, or sections of it, into the cover letter. That’s low-effort and low-readability. Reword it to make it pop.
- Over-praise the editor or target journal – it’s not necessary to use such phrases as “your esteemed journal.” A manuscript will be sent for peer review based on the quality of the cover letter and study, not because you say nice things about the journal.
- Forget to use the Word (or other software’s) spellcheck and, ideally, use a tool like Grammarly and/or Hemingway to help grammar and readability. These are no substitute for a professional edit, though.
- Be overly proud about your English skills. Just like you go to the dentist to get your teeth fixed, you can hire a professional editor and subject matter expert to get your English fixed.
Not that a lot of these also reply to resubmission letters and responses to peer review . The underlying themes are care, courtesy, and excellent English suitable for your audience.
And two more big DOs
- DO get a professional edit or proofread if you’re not a native speaker of English or just not that great at writing.
DO have a professional write your cover letter for you if you want to save some time and make sure you got everything just as the journal wants it. The Edanz Cover Letter Development service can handle this for you.
Set phrases and common expressions
The journal letter maintains a formal tone, so there are certain stock phrases you can use and in some cases must use. As a result, there are a number of phrases which are common to cover letters.
- To our knowledge, this is the first report showing…
- We believe our findings will appeal to the readership of [target journal name].
- Please address all correspondence to:
- We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
“I’ve found about 60% of authors don’t submit a cover letter at all. It seems they just expect something magical to happen with their manuscript. Journal editors struggle with this: they’re not necessarily subject-area specialists. They wonder, ‘Why is the paper important?'” — Gareth Dyke , PhD Edanz Author Education Manager
Commonly required statements
Many journals and publishers require that all cover letters should contain the following sentences:
- We confirm that this manuscript has not been published elsewhere and is not under consideration by another journal.
- All authors have read and approved the final manuscript and agree with its submission to [target journal name].
If all authors have no competing interests, you should include a statement indicating as such:
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
If an author does have competing interests, it’s a good idea to include details of these in your cover letter. You might also include funding information:
This study was supported by a grant from the [funding body].
Other required statements
Some other potentially required information:
- Clinical trial registration database and number
- Has this manuscript been published in another language? If so, has that journal editor given permission for this submission?
- What other publications related to the same study have been published? (especially for clinical trial related manuscripts)
- Has the data in your study been presented or been published in any other format? For studies involving human subjects, was informed consent obtained? Was permission obtained from an ethics committee? Was the study carried in accordance with Declaration of Helsinki guidelines?
- Was permission obtained for the reproduction or modification of previously published figures and tables (especially for review articles).
The journal’s guidelines will typically give specific directions on which of these to include, if any. And if you have any questions, get in touch with them directly.
Journal submission tips and hacks from the experts
Most of these are plain common sense, but if you’re in a hurry, you might overlook them. Some are less commonly known.
Be personal, use the editor’s name
Do your homework. Look up the name of the Editor-in-Chief or the specific Section Editor for the journal you’re submitting to and address the letter to them directly.
Use Dear Dr. (or Professor) + their Last name . If you’re not sure of their title, Google them to see if they have a LinkedIn page, ResearchGate page, or works published in the last couple of years. If you still can’t confirm their title, use Dear Full name as shown on the journal’s webpage .
It’s like a cover letter for a job; you need to personalize your cover letter to demonstrate your interest in that particular journal, and not make it look like you’d just be happy to get your paper accepted anywhere.
You should also explain why your study will be of specific interest to the readers of the journal.
Check the Aims & Scope on the journal website to see who their target audience is and tailor your reasoning to them.
Tell them what you want to publish
This may seem obvious, but sometimes authors submit cover letters without including the title of their manuscript and what type of article it is.
This should appear in the very first paragraph of your letter and will help the editor see immediately if the topic is of interest and judge whether they have space for the article type you’re submitting for the current issue.
Even more, it will show that you thoroughly read the guidelines. If you say you’re submitting “Original Research” when the journal calls it “Research Articles”, you’re not making a very good first impression.
Summarize the highlights of your work
It’s not enough to simply include the title of your manuscript in the cover letter and hope that alone will attract the editor.
Try to keep the cover letter to one page, but always include a brief summary of your study outlining the reasons why you conducted the work, your aims, and the major results you observed. If that makes you go a bit longer, it’s not a big deal.
Don’t include statistics or a lot of data; a compelling summary of the study is sufficient. If the editor is interested, they’ll look into your manuscript more deeply for further details.
Cover letters are your chance to talk directly with the journal editor and convince them that your paper is more interesting than the next one sitting on their desk. Talk about any real-world implications of your findings or the significance of your results for the field. Don’t be too speculative or over-exaggerate your findings, but do take this important opportunity to feature the importance of your work.
Don’t forget your “must have” statements
Editors want to know that your manuscript has not been submitted elsewhere or is under consideration at another journal.
They want to know any relevant conflict of interest information and any roles the funding body played in the study.
The author instructions may or may not have explicit information on what they want you to write, but it’s good practice to state this information upfront. This way, the editor doesn’t have to dig through the manuscript to know if you’ve met the basic ethical requirements for publication.
See it in action: Edanz video on writing cover letters
We laid out the basics of a cover letter in this video.
And if you don’t want to start with a blank document…
Get a cover letter template
It’s all easier said than done, right?
Download a template to plug-and-play your text.
Download the above short-form or long-form cover letter from the Edanz Learning Lab template collection .
“When I became a journal editor, I really learned how important cover letters are. We need them to learn more about submissions and to make more informed decisions on whether to send manuscripts out for peer review. As a journal editor, I greatly appreciate a carefully written cover letter; it saves me time and it shows me the authors really care. It also helps with reviewer selections … something I rarely have time to do.” — Gareth Dyke , PhD Editor-in-Chief of Taylor & Francis journal ‘Historical Biology’
By the way, not all cover letters are the same, though most are. PLOS ONE cover letters are a notable exception and have certain requirements for what you need to tell them, such as which of their Academic Editors you want to review your submission. See their guidelines here .
So, all set to do your cover letter? Now go find a forever home for your manuscript and tell them why they’re the perfect fit for you.
Want to dig deeper into the publication process, soup to nuts, ideas to publication? Take simple, expert-designed courses to walk you through it all, at the Edanz My Learning Lab .
Journal Article Publication Letters
What is this handout about.
This handout offers guidance on how to write a cover letter for submitting journal manuscripts for publication.
What is a journal publication letter?
A journal publication letter, also known as a journal article submission cover letter, is a cover letter written to a peer-reviewed journal to advocate for the publication of a manuscript. Not all journals ask for a publication letter. Some see publication letters as optional, but many peer-reviewed academic journals request or require them.
What do journal publication letters typically contain?
The most basic information included in a publication letter is contact information, the name of the author(s), the title of the manuscript, and either the assurance that the manuscript being submitted has not been submitted elsewhere or a statement regarding any places the manuscript may be available. Some journals may also expect you to briefly explain your argument, outline your methodology or theoretical commitments, discus permissions and funding, and explain how your manuscript fits into the overall aims of the journal. Journals may even request the names of two or three suggested reviewers for your manuscript. A journal may require all, none, or some of this additional information. The above list is not exhaustive, but it highlights the importance of knowing the journal’s conventions and expectations.
How should I prepare to write?
Just as with any other writing project, writing publication letters involves a process. Although you may finish in as little as a few hours or a day, you might take longer if you compose multiple drafts. This section is designed to help you think through the various steps of the writing process.
Previously, we mentioned the importance of knowing the journal’s standards, but you may not find those expectations laid out clearly on the journal’s website. In fact, most journals assume that the scholars who submit a letter are well-versed in the journal’s mission. Below are some strategies for helping you determine the expectations for journal article publication letters.
Consider the standards in your field:
- See if your field’s top journals require a letter.
- Ask your advisor or mentor about their standard practices.
- Ask someone who has published recently in your field’s top journals whether a letter is standard or not.
- If submitting a letter is standard practice, ask others in your field for examples of their publication letters to see what information is typically included.
Research the specific journal:
- If you aren’t already very familiar with the journal, read a handful of recent articles to get a sense of the type and content of manuscripts the journal publishes.
- Explore the journal’s website to see what you can learn about the journal in general.
- Read the journal’s mission statement.
- Read carefully any information the journal provides for potential authors.
- If you still have questions, consider contacting one of the journal’s editors.
After completing your research, you should have a good sense of the journal’s audience and the sort of articles that appear in the journal.
Once you know the expectations for publication letters in your field and in a specific journal, revisit the reasons your manuscript is a good fit for the journal. Remember the journal has no obligation to publish your manuscript. Instead, you advocate for your scholarship and communicate why your manuscript is a good fit. Below are some questions to consider.
Consider how your manuscript fits into the publication:
- How does it use a specific methodology or framework important to the journal?
- How does it focus on themes that have been popular in recent issues?
- How does it advance a new perspective on topics typically seen in the journal?
- Does it fit with any proposed themed issues?
Consider the audience for your manuscript:
- How does your subject or your approach to it intersect with the interests of the journal’s readers?
- How does your manuscript appeal to readers outside your subfield?
- Could your manuscript reach a broader audience that could expand the journal’s readership? If so, how?
Consider how your manuscript engages with the field at large:
- How is it advancing new perspectives, approaches, or topics?
- How is it critiquing previous or current scholarship?
- How is it anticipating new directions in the field?
- How is it using a common approach in a new way?
All these questions encourage you to consider how your manuscript contributes to the field in a way that is valuable enough for a journal to publish it. Make no mistake, the cover letter is an argument for why your manuscript should be published.
Writing a draft
This section addresses two aspects of composing a cover letter draft. The first aspect is the form, and the second is the content. Think about both of these aspects when composing your draft.
Consider the form
The structure of a document can be defined as the different sections of the document and the order in which they appear. There should be an addressee and addresser, as well as the proper contact information. If possible, it should be on departmental letterhead. The letter may be as short as three sentences or as long as multiple paragraphs. But unless the writer is a senior scholar, even a longer letter should be no more than one page. Some standard features you might consider:
Addressee. If you choose or are required to write a cover letter, follow the standard format for letters in the country in which the publication is based.
- It is usually addressed to the editor unless otherwise specified.
- If you cannot find the name of the editor, it is permissible to address it to the Editor-in-Chief or Managing Editor.
- The address should be the journal’s, not the editor’s personal address or institutional address.
Font. While this category may seem trivial, font choice communicates a lot to readers.
- The goal for a letter is readability, so avoid fonts and styles that are difficult to read.
- Standard fonts include Arial or Times New Roman, usually in size 12.
Paragraphs. Again, the formatting of paragraphs aids in the readability of a letter, and an unusual paragraph format may appear unprofessional to some readers.
- Make sure that paragraphs are not indented.
- Single-space the text and justify it to the left.
- Separate paragraphs with one line of space.
Closing. Letter closings solidify your presentation as a professional. Maintain the same formality as the rest of the letter.
- Close with “sincerely,” “best regards,” or something comparably formal.
- Type your name and provide your signature.
- Include your contact information near the end.
- For a dual-authored manuscript, include the contact information for both authors.
- If the manuscript was composed by more than two authors, include only one additional author’s contact information with yours.
Consider the content
Remember that a cover letter, especially a longer one, is essentially a professional pitch for your manuscript. You ultimately need to communicate why your manuscript would be a good fit for a particular journal. Journals asking for longer cover letters want to know whether you are familiar with their audience and the journal’s mission statement. Below are some elements that you should consider when composing your letter:
Summarize the major arguments/findings of the manuscript. Make sure that you clearly explain what you discovered from your research. Connect these findings to the journal’s aims and scope. Some questions you might consider:
- Did you make new connections?
- Did you confirm previous findings?
- Did you discover new implications?
Discuss your methodology. Clarify the type of methods you used in your research. Ask yourself:
- Did you undertake a case study? A longitudinal study? A cross-sectional study?
- Is the study qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods?
- Did you use or adapt a specific model or framework?
- Did you approach the topic using a new theoretical lens?
- Did you integrate multiple theories or theoretical frameworks?
- Did you apply a theory or method not frequently used in your subfield?
- Did you approach a theory or method in a new way?
Consider the aim of the journal. Every journal has a purpose, and most journals have a statement about the type of scholarship they feature. You might ask:
- What is the aim and scope of the journal?
- How does it present itself to the field?
- How does your manuscript fit with recent publications in the journal?
Consider the readership. Here are some questions you can ask:
- Who is the audience for the journal, and how will your manuscript appeal to them?
- Which institutions subscribe to this journal?
- How does your manuscript appeal to readers outside your subdiscipline?
- How does your manuscript appeal to people outside your discipline?
- How does it appeal to non-academic readers or professionals?
Consider the journal’s future trajectory. Research journals strive to remain relevant. In order to do so, journals often change to reflect trends in the field. Ask yourself:
- Are they attempting to expand their readership?
- Are they trying to integrate interdisciplinary approaches?
- Are they incorporating more theoretical questions or newer methodologies?
- Are they willing to critique the field?
- Would your manuscript work as a part of a special issue?
Provide context for the research . If you are writing a longer letter, explain how your research fits in both with the research in your field at large and in your subfield. Ask yourself:
- How does your work contribute to your field?
- How does it engage with current scholarship in your field or subfield?
- Does your scholarship address an oversight in the field? If so, how?
- Do you innovate in terms of the subject(s); the methodology; or the integration of fields?
- Do you address a gap in current research?
Additional considerations . Check to determine whether the journal requires any additional information. Some common expectations include:
- Comment on the type of article submitted (e.g., research article, review, case report)
- Assurances that all authors agree with the content of the manuscript
- Assurance that the corresponding author will take responsibility for informing co-authors of editorial decisions, reviews received, and any changes or revisions made
- Information about any closely related manuscripts that have been submitted for simultaneous consideration to the same or another journal
- Statements about conflicts of interest or activities that might be seen as influencing the research
- Statements regarding ethical practice
- A copy of permissions to reproduce copyrighted material or a notice that permissions are pending (if applicable)
- Names of specific reviewers from the journal who may be a good fit to read your manuscript
Below are several other elements to keep in mind as you write your publication letter:
- Avoid using too much jargon or too many acronyms.
- Avoid over-embellishing your findings or exaggerating their significance.
- Avoid name dropping.
- Keep it simple and straightforward. Do not write a novel.
- Keep it professional. Avoid humor.
- Don’t copy text word-for-word from your manuscript.
Below are two cover letter templates to help you visualize how form and content combine to make a strong publication letter. The templates offer guidelines for each section, but they can be modified based on the standards of your field. Use them to help you think through the elements that are most important to include in your letter.
Remember, your first draft does not have to be your last. Make sure to get feedback from different readers, especially if this is one of your first publications. It is not uncommon to go through several stages of revisions. Check out the Writing Center’s handout on editing and proofreading and video on proofreading to help with this last stage of writing.
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
American Psychological Association. n.d. “Cover Letter.” APA Style. Accessed April 2019. https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/research-publication/cover-letters.
Belcher, Wendy Laura. 2009. Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Press.
BioScience Writers (website). 2012. “Writing Cover Letters for Scientific Manuscripts.” September 29, 2012. https://biosciencewriters.com/Writing-Cover-Letters-for-Scientific-Manuscripts.aspx .
Jones, Caryn. n.d. “Writing Effective Cover Letters for Journal Submissions: Tips and a Word Template.” Think Science. Accessed August 2019. https://thinkscience.co.jp/en/articles/writing-journal-cover-letters.html .
Kelsky, Karen. 2013. “How To Write a Journal Article Submission Cover Letter.” The Professor Is In (blog), April 26, 2013. https://theprofessorisin.com/2013/04/26/how-to-write-a-journal-article-submission-cover-letter/ .
Kelsky, Karen. 2013. “Of Cover Letters and Magic (A Follow-up Post).” The Professor Is In (blog), April 29, 2013. http://theprofessorisin.com/2013/04/29/of-cover-letters-and-magic-a-followup-post/ .
Mudrak, Ben. n.d. “Writing a Cover Letter.” AJE . https://www.aje.com/dist/docs/Writing-a-cover-letter-AJE-2015.pdf .
Wordvice. n.d. “How to Write the Best Journal Submission Cover Letter.” Accessed January 2019. https://wordvice.com/journal-submission-cover-letter/ .
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Writing a persuasive cover letter for your manuscript
About this video.
Submitting your manuscript without a cover letter or an incomplete one can impact the outcome of your submission. Strong cover letters efficiently introduce your work to the editor, but also communicates why your paper is of interest to the journal audience and contributory to overall science.
In this Researcher Academy module, experts Anthony Newman and Lora Heisler give you important insights about writing strong and persuasive cover letters. This webinar will give an exhaustive check list on writing an effective cover letter which brings attention to your paper and helps it get published.
You will come away with the knowledge of what cover letters are, how they support your manuscript and how you can write an airtight cover letter, covering your research scope, objectives and goals.
About the presenter
Senior Publisher, Life Sciences, Elsevier
Anthony Newman is a Senior Publisher with Elsevier and is based in Amsterdam. Each year he presents numerous Author Workshops and other similar trainings worldwide. He is currently responsible for fifteen biochemistry and laboratory medicine journals, he joined Elsevier over thirty years ago and has been Publisher for more than twenty of those years. Before then he was the marketing communications manager for the biochemistry journals of Elsevier. By training he is a polymer chemist and was active in the surface coating industry before leaving London and moving to Amsterdam in 1987 to join Elsevier.
Chair in Human Nutrition, The Rowett Institute, The Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen.
Lora Heisler, Ph.D. is Chair in Human Nutrition at the Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where she is Head of the Obesity and Food Choice research theme. Professor Heisler has enjoyed being an active member of various journal editorial boards for more than a decade. She was appointed as Deputy Editor of Elsevier’s journal Molecular Metabolism in 2018. Professor Heisler received her B.A. from Boston University, M.Sc. from London School of Economics and Political Sciences and Ph.D. from Tufts University. She undertook postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California at San Francisco and Beth Israel Deaconess/Harvard Medical School. Professor Heisler began her independent research group at Harvard Medical School and then relocated to the University of Cambridge in the UK. Her active research group moved to the Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen in 2013 where they investigate the neurobiology of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
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Writing effective cover letters for journal submissions: Tips and a Word template
When you need to submit a cover letter with your manuscript, you'll probably write it just before submission. Like many other authors, you may find yourself wondering what to write and taking longer than you expected, causing last-minute delays and stress.
To help you write effective cover letters—and to write them quickly and easily—in this article we offer some tips on layout and appropriate wording. Also, you can download our template cover letter (Word file) to help you save time writing and help you remember to include standard author statements and other information commonly required by journals.
If you are submitting a revised paper to the same journal, note that the response letter to the reviewers is different from the cover letter used at initial submission. You can find tips and a template on writing effective response letters to the reviewers in our previous article .
Many journals require a cover letter and state this in their guidelines for authors (alternatively known as author guidelines, information for authors, guide for authors, guidelines for papers, submission guide, etc.). For some journals, a cover letter is optional or may not be not required, but it's probably a good idea to include one.
Why do some journals ask for cover letters?
Cover letters can be helpful to journal staff in the following ways.
1. Cover letters that include standard statements required by the journal allow the journal staff to quickly confirm that the authors have (or say they have) followed certain ethical research and publishing practices.
These statements assert that the authors followed standard practices, which may include (i) adhering to ethical guidelines for research involving humans ( Declaration of Helsinki ), involving animals ( ARRIVE guidelines ), or falling under institutional guidelines; (ii) obtaining ethics approval from institutional review boards or ethics committees; (iii) obtaining informed consent or assent from participants; (iv) complying with authorship criteria (e.g., ICMJE criteria ); (v) confirming no duplicate submissions have been made; and (vi) recommending reviewers for your paper, which may include specifying peers that you prefer not be contacted.
2. Cover letters can summarize your manuscript quickly for the journal editor, highlighting your most important findings and their implications to show why your manuscript would be of interest.
Some journals, such as Nature, state that while a cover letter is optional, it provides "an excellent opportunity to briefly discuss the importance of the submitted work and why it is appropriate for the journal." Some publishers, such as Springer , recommend that you write a cover letter to help "sell" your manuscript to the journal editor.
3. Cover letters that contain all of the information required by the journal (as stated in the guideline for authors) can indicate that you have spent time carefully formatting the manuscript to fit the journal's style. This creates a good first impression. Addressing the letter to a named editor at the journal also shows that you took the time to write your letter (and by extension, your manuscript) with care and considered the fit with the journal beyond just impact factor.
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What makes an effective cover letter?
Cover letters should be short—preferably no more than 1 page—and they often use single line spacing. The content can be broadly divided into six sections:
- Addressee's information and date of submission
- Opening salutation
- Purpose statement and administrative information
- Summary of main research findings and implications
- Statements or information required by the journal
- Closing salutation and your contact information
Let's look at some tips for each section. And don't forget to download the template , which shows these tips already in place.
1. Addressee's information and date of submission
- Check the journal's website for the name of the editor who handles submissions; this could be the Managing Editor or an editor assigned to your geographical region. If no handling editor is named, address your cover letter to the Editor-in-Chief. Some journals ask that you identify a specific editor for your specialty.
- Write the name of the addressee in the top left corner of the page.
- Write the date beneath. To minimize the number of line breaks used in your cover letter (and help keep it to one page of text), you can put the date to the right if you wish.
- Note that dates written as numerals only can be confusing: 02/03/2017 can be read "2 March 2017" in British and "3 February 2017" in American English. Using the format "3 February 2017" or "February 3, 2017" is clear.
2. Opening salutation
- Write the title and last name of the addressee (exclude the first name); for example, "Professor Brown" or "Dr. Baker" (British English: "Dr Baker").
- If you can't find a named editor on the journal website, then you can use the opening salutation "Dear Editor".
- At the end of the opening salutation, you can use a comma or a colon; that is, "Dear Dr. Baker," or "Dear Dr. Baker:" (British English uses the comma; American English uses either, but the colon is considered more formal).
3. Purpose statement and administrative information
- Clearly state the purpose of your letter (that you are submitting a manuscript) and then state your manuscript title, author names (or first author "Brown et al."), and article type (e.g., original paper).
- Be sure to use the journal's own terminology to refer to the article type; for example, some journals use the term "Regular Articles" for a full research paper, whereas others use "Original Submissions", "Full Papers", "Original Articles", among others.
- See the downloadable Word template for an example sentence that presents this information clearly and concisely.
- If your submission consists of many files, consider summarizing them in one short sentence so that the journal editor is sure all of the files have been received; for example, "There are 8 files in all: 1 main manuscript file, 1 highlights file, 3 figure files, 1 table file, 1 supplementary data file, and 1 supplementary figures file".
4. Summary of main research findings and implications
- In a new paragraph, summarize the purpose of your research (the research gap or problem it addresses), the main findings, and finally the implications of these findings. This is your main chance to highlight the value of your work to the journal editor, so keep this short and focused. (Journal editors may receive thousands of submissions annually, and many fulfill editing duties on top of their own research and teaching schedule, so you should strive to make their jobs easier by providing as concise a summary as possible.)
- Be sure to tailor your statements so that they're in line with the readership of the journal. For example, if you are submitting to a more general journal that has a diverse readership, underscore the possible impact your findings could have in multiple fields. Conversely, if you are submitting to a publication with narrow scope, you can write about your findings in highly focused terms.
- Avoid simply reproducing sentences verbatim from the abstract—which the journal editor will likely read next. Instead, if you take sentences from your abstract as a base to work from, then try to craft a much shorter summary that clearly fits the journal's focus and that highlights the implications of your work for the journal's readers. In fact, Nature guidelines state specifically to "avoid repeating information that is already present in the abstract and introduction."
- When stating that you think your work is a good fit for the journal, be sure not to use exaggerated flattery. Avoid using words like "esteemed" and "prestigious" to describe the journal: "We believe that these findings will be of interest to the readers of your esteemed/prestigious journal."
- It's helpful to the journal editor to state if your work directly relates to a paper published by another author in the same journal. Also, mention if your study closely relates to or extends your previously published work, so it is clear why your submitted manuscript is novel or important enough to publish.
Common phrases in this paragraph:
Summarizing the purpose of your research
- This study presents/summarizes/examines…
- X remains a problem for (engineers/software developers/local government). In this study, we (examined/investigated/developed and tested)…
Presenting your main results
- Our main findings/results were that…
- The most interesting/important findings were that…
- Most importantly, our findings can improve/reduce/help…
Highlighting the relevance of your findings
- These findings should enable (engineers/doctors/local government) to…
- We believe that these findings will be of interest to the readers of your journal.
5. Statements or information required by the journal
- In this new paragraph, provide any statements that the journal requires be included in your cover letter. Be sure to review the journal's guidelines to know what information you should provide.
- Some journals or publishers have very specific requirements. For example, PLOS requires that authors describe any prior interactions with the journal in the cover letter, as well as suggest appropriate Academic Editors from the journal's editorial board to handle the submission.
- Some journals require that sentences are provided verbatim in the cover letter. The guidelines will tell you to copy and paste the sentence provided in quotation marks into the cover letter. For example, Springer states that cover letters should contain two specific sentences: "We confirm that this manuscript has not been published elsewhere and is not under consideration by another journal" and "All authors have approved the manuscript and agree with its submission to [insert the name of the target journal]."
- Several statements pertaining to research and publication ethics are commonly required by journals across a broad range of fields. These are given in our downloadable Word template . When using the template, you can retain the statements in full, revise them slightly as appropriate to your circumstances, replace them with any similar wording required by the journal, or delete them if they do not fit your specific situation.
Previous contact with the journal
- We state that we have had no previous contact with the journal regarding this submission.
- We previously contacted the journal to inquire about/to check whether…
Conflict of interests and financial disclosures
- The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
- X.Y. advises Company A and has received lecture fees from Company B.
- This study was supported by a grant from Z.
- No financial support was received for this study/work.
- A.B. conceived the study, analyzed the data, and drafted the manuscript; C.D. analyzed the data…
- All authors have approved the manuscript and agree with its submission to the journal.
- All authors approved the final version of the manuscript and agree to be accountable for all aspects of this work.
- Potential reviewers for our manuscript are:
- We believe that the following individual(s) would be well suited to reviewing our manuscript.
Request to exclude reviewers
- We request that the following individual(s) not be approached to review our manuscript (because…).
- We declare that this manuscript has not been published before, in whole or in part, and is not currently being considered for publication elsewhere.
- This study was presented in part at…
- This study was previously published in Japanese (citation) and…
6. Closing salutation and your contact information
- Briefly thank the journal editor for considering the manuscript and follow this with the full contact information of the corresponding author (name, academic degrees or professional qualifications; affiliation and postal address; telephone (and fax); email).
- Be sure to maintain a collegial tone to leave the journal editor with the best impression as he or she finishes reading your cover letter and moves on to evaluate your manuscript.
- Avoid statements that could be construed as presuming to give instructions to the editor. For example, "we look forward to your review of our manuscript" implicitly directs the editor to review your paper. Also, we look forward to hearing from you "at your earliest convenience/as soon as possible" implicitly directs the editor to communicate with you quickly; instead, simply use a neutral but polite phrase such as "we look forward to hearing from you" or "we look forward to hearing from you in due course".
- A suitable closing salutation is "Sincerely," or "Yours sincerely,"
Although the cover letter is not, strictly speaking, a part of your manuscript, it can affect how your submission is perceived by the journal editor. A cover letter that is tailored to the journal, introduces your work persuasively, and is free from spelling and grammatical errors can help prime the editor to view your submission positively before he or she even looks over your manuscript.
We hope our tips and Word template can help you create professional, complete cover letters in a time-effective way. Our specialist editors, translators, and writers are available to help create or revise the content to be error-free and, as part of our additional comprehensive Guidelines for Authors service , we can ensure the cover letter includes all of the statements required by the journal.
Lastly, just as a reminder for members of ThinkSCIENCE's free annual rewards program , remember to claim your reward of free editing or translation of one cover letter alongside editing or translation of a full paper before the end of the March!
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How to write a cover letter for journal submission Download our cover letter template When you submit your article to a journal, you often need to include a cover letter. This is a great opportunity to highlight to the journal editor what makes your research new and important.
Include the date of submission and the journal you are submitting to. First paragraph: include the title of your manuscript and the type of manuscript it is (e.g. review, research, case study). Then briefly explain the background to your study, the question you sought out to answer and why.
These sample cover letters demonstrate how authors can communicate with the journal editor at the initial manuscript submission and following an invitation to revise and resubmit a manuscript for publication. Sample Cover Letter for Manuscript Submission (PDF, 73KB) Sample Cover Letter for a Revised and Resubmitted Manuscript (PDF, 91KB)
To summarize, remember that the cover letter may be your best and only chance to market your manuscript. A well-drafted impressive cover letter may be a key factor in your manuscript being given serious consideration. You can download the attached template to write a cover letter for your submission. Related reading:
ANNOTATED TEMPLATE Journal Submissions Cover Letter [Journal Editor's First and Last Name] [, Graduate Degree (if any)] TIP: It's customary to include any graduate degrees in the addressee's name. e.g., John Smith, MD or Carolyn Daniels, MPH [Title] e.g., Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor, Co-Editors-in-Chief [Journal Name] [Journal Address]
Cover Letter for Journal Submission Checklist Add your contact information, degree, name of the institution List the editor's name, the name of the journal, address, and submission date Greet the editor by name: Dear Mr./Mrs. XYZ Say the title of your manuscript Explain your motivation behind this paper Summarize the research in an abstract
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Example Cover Letter for Journal Submission The best cover letter example for any publication (elsevier, wiley, IEEE, springer, pubmed, taylor and francis, and SAGE ) shown below: Date To Dr. / Prof. (Editor's name) Editor-in-Chief Journal name Dear Dr. /Prof. ( Editor's name)
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Cover letters can be helpful to journal staff in the following ways. 1. Cover letters that include standard statements required by the journal allow the journal staff to quickly confirm that the authors have (or say they have) followed certain ethical research and publishing practices.