For any researcher, publishing a research paper with a reputable journal gives it validity and credibility. In turn, this shared knowledge is thus presented to the wider world, connecting your research to other researchers, scholars, and institutions to allow for future collaboration.
There are numerous benefits to publishing research, not only for the researcher but also the wider scientific community. By making their research available to other researchers, not only do they contribute to the existing body of knowledge and the advancement of their field, but they also boost their expertise and probability of attaining future research grants. Moreover, a greater number of publications highlights a researcher’s productivity and ability to problem-solve.
For unpublished authors, a common way to gain relevant experience is through reviewing articles, which involves outlining current studies to show the progression of a specific research field. This is a great foot in the door before writing your own research paper, since you’ll gain first-hand experience in examining papers in your specialist field. And if you’ve written an as-yet unpublished article, having your own research peer-reviewed will provide you with useful feedback on how to make further revisions, as well as helping peers advance their studies and inviting further collaboration.
In the following section, we’ll show you how to get your research paper published by showing you how to select a reputable journal and how to fulfil the submission criteria. The list below provides some guidance on right steps to take toward submitting your research paper:
Double-check your work with colleagues
Before submitting your work to a journal, it is worth asking your colleagues to review your study and provide constructive feedback. Such pre-submission peer-reviews help you further improve your writing by identifying any holes in the methodology or gaps in the literature, and determining whether your study fits into the scope of the journal you’re submitting to. Aiming to get as much feedback as possible will help your paper stand out when it is finally submitted.
Reviewers essentially act as referees in the publishing process. As experts in your field, their comments not only provide you, the author, with useful feedback, but they also judge the significance of the study and validate it’s merit to be included in a specialist journal.
Since it is recommended to only submit to one journal at a time, there are several important criteria to consider when selecting a specific journal among a myriad options available. When considering a relevant journals, it’s worth assessing its reputation and impact on the field, which is determined by how often its articles are cited annually and indicates high-quality research. Hence, impact factor tables are useful to determine a journal’s standing. Additionally, it is also worth investigation the publication fees and page charges, as costs can vary.
Choose the most fitting journal
As recommended by the British Society of Immunology, when you’ve narrowed down your options, the following questions will assist you in selecting the most appropriate journal:
- Scope: is your paper relevant to the journal scope?
- Audience: is the journal audience appropriate (national or international, general with a broad scope or specialist with a narrow scope)?
- Visibility: is the publication listed in major indexes? Does it have a social media presence?
- Impact and reputation: the impact a journal has is not just based on its impact factor but also on its reputation in the scientific/medical community.
- Journal turnaround times: how quick is the peer-review process and how long does it take for an article to be published after acceptance?
- Open access publishing options and costs, and publication charges: does the journal have a page charge?
Understand the submission process
Submission guidelines, usually available on the target journal’s website, will indicate the preferred format, word count, and any other files to include, such as images and videos, tables and figures, and copyright/consent forms. It’s a good idea to have your Abstract up-to-scratch, since this is what the editorial staff and reviewers will read first. Ensure the main points stand out, but don’t go into too much detail about your findings.
Write a convincing journal cover letter
An introductory letter gives you a chance to justify its merit for publication. Demonstrate why your search is deemed worthy of review by highlighting the study’s significance. To gain the journal’s attention. Be persuasive and to the point, write in formal language, and explain why the research might interest the reader. Above all, avoid making biased statements.
Online templates are available to help you with the structure and content. After addressing the editor, provide a short summary of the study background and research questions. Then, move on to explain the research method, major findings, and why their significance. After describing the study, state how your study is of interest to the reader and it’s relevance to the journal.
Tips from editors
- Write in clear, accurate English. Make sure to proofread your writing.
- Adhere to the submission guidelines and preferred format, Make sure your citations and references are in line with the journal style.
- State your argument clearly in the Abstract.
- Write first, revise later. Have a colleague check your work for any weak points in the study, and consider hiring an editor to ensure accurate language and formatting.
- Write a captivating cover letter. Rather than a copy of the Abstract, focus on the study’s significance and relevance to the journal.