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How to Write a Job Application Cover Letter
Writing a cover letter is essential when applying for jobs. This is the perfect way to express how your specific skills are relevant to the open position. Wow your future employer with this simple cover letter example format.
Write a First Draft
Writing a first draft makes your letter concise and professional, states The Balance Careers. Organize your thoughts by making a list of what you’re trying to convey. Make sure you prioritize certain aspects like your previous job experience and why you would be a good fit for the position. Clearly state what position you’re interested in and why. Think about why you’re applying and what caught your eye about this specific position. Your cover letter will be easier to write after your thoughts are collected and organized.
Customize Your Salutation
When writing a salutation, make sure you know who you are writing to. Is this person the owner of the company or a Human Resources administrator? If you’re not sure, research the company to find out. Addressing your cover letter to a specific person shows initiative and attention to detail. After your salutation, start your letter with a short introduction of yourself. This gives future employers insight into who you are and the purpose of your cover letter.
Your cover letter should be no more than one page, so keep your points brief. Clearly state what position you are interested in and why. Explain why you are a good fit for the company because of your past job experience. If you have no similar job experience, let the employer know why you are changing career paths. Expand on your skills and give specific examples of how that skill set helped you at your last position. Name projects you’ve worked on and show results.
Close Your Letter
End your cover letter with a brief sentence and sign off. Thank the employer for their time and express your interest towards the job again. Let them know you’ll follow up with them if you do not hear back within a week and leave your contact information. Sign off with a professional farewell and leave room for a signature if sending a hard copy.
Edit and Proofread
As you finish writing your cover letter, make sure you take time to edit and proofread your document. Make sure it’s structured in a professional format with the company’s information, the salutation and introduction, the body of the letter, a brief closing sentence and farewell. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes to ensure a formal result. Make sure all names are spelled correctly, as well.
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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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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.
- SpringerLink shop
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
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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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Writing Cover Letters for Scientific Manuscripts
Release Date: September 29, 2012 Category: Scientific Writing
Key Points Summary
- Always submit an accompanying cover letter with every manuscript.
- Some journals have very specific requirements for information to provide in the cover letter, and these are usually stated in the journal’s instructions to authors. Make sure your cover letter includes any journal-required elements.
- Strong cover letters tell journal editors why they should publish your manuscript in their journals.
- Cover letters should be succinct and focus on the importance and novelty of your findings, as well as how they relate to the scope of your target journal.
After the hard work of perfecting your manuscript and selecting a target journal, one more task remains before submission: writing a cover letter. The cover letter is an important document that must do more than tell the editor that you are submitting your manuscript for consideration. It should capture the editor’s attention, provide information about the novelty and importance of your findings, and indicate that all authors have approved of the submission and the manuscript has not been submitted to more than one journal concurrently.
Strong cover letters not only introduce your manuscript – they offer an important opportunity to convince journal editors to consider your manuscript for publication.
Determine Your Target Journal’s Requirements
Before you begin, check your target journal’s author instructions for any cover letter requirements, such as certain specifically worded statements. No matter what else you decide to include, always make sure that your cover letter contains any required information and statements described in your target journal’s author instructions.
Develop an Outline for the Cover Letter
In addition to any information and statements required by your target journal, every cover letter should contain the following elements:
- An introduction stating the title of the manuscript and the journal to which you are submitting.
- The reason why your study is important and relevant to the journal’s readership or field.
- The question your research answers.
- Your major experimental results and overall findings.
- The most important conclusions that can be drawn from your research.
- A statement that the manuscript has not been published and is not under consideration for publication in any other journal
- A statement that all authors approved the manuscript and its submission to the journal.
- Any other details that will encourage the editor to send your manuscript for review.
Write one or more sentences to address each of these points. You will revise and polish these sentences to complete your cover letter.
Write the Body of the Cover Letter
Open your cover letter with a sentence or two explaining why you are writing, the title of your manuscript, and the title of the journal.
- Example: “I am writing to submit our manuscript entitled, “Taking antioxidants plus zinc reduces the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration for high-risk patients,” for consideration for publication in Archives of Ophthalmology.”
Briefly state the background for the problem or question your research answers. The focus of the paragraph is to explain why your research was needed and clearly state the question your research answers. Clearly and concisely explain your results, findings, and conclusions.
To keep your cover letter concise, limit this explanation to one or two brief paragraphs. You can also include a sentence or two that links your findings to the interests of the journal’s readership, if appropriate. It may be helpful to review your abstract to stay focused on your most important results and conclusions.
- Example: “Because our findings could be applied in the clinic right away, they are likely to be of great interest to the vision scientists, researchers, clinicians, and trainees who read your journal.”
As you write this explanation, think in terms of “how will my manuscript benefit the journal?” The journal editor’s goal is to publish important, novel findings that are within the journal’s scope and of interest to its readership. Your goal is to show the editor how your manuscript meets these criteria. Such manuscripts will be highly referenced, which will increase the impact factor of the journal. Without exaggerating, explain the novelty, relevance, and interest of your findings to researchers who read that journal.
After describing your research and findings, include a paragraph with any journal-required statements. If the findings in the manuscript have been presented at a scientific meeting, include that information in this paragraph. This paragraph should also include statements about exclusivity and author approval for submission.
- Example: “This manuscript describes original work and is not under consideration by any other journal. All authors approved the manuscript and this submission.”
In your last paragraph, thank the editor for his or her consideration.
- Example: “Thank you for receiving our manuscript and considering it for review. We appreciate your time and look forward to your response.”
Add Basic Letter Elements
Cover letters follow the same simple format as all letters. Make sure your cover letter includes the following basic letter elements:
- Addressee name and mailing address.
- Salutation (such as “Dear Dr. Smith:” or “Dear Editor:”).
- Body of the letter.
- Closing (such as “Kind regards,” or “Thank you,”).
- Signature block (author’s signature, typed name and highest degree, institution, and mailing address).
- Enclosure designation (“Enclosure” to indicate your manuscript is included with the cover letter).
Cover letters are often submitted electronically in an e-mail message. E-mail cover letters may not contain more formal letter elements like the date and address block.
Revise the Cover Letter
Read through your cover letter several times to proofread and revise the text for clarity and brevity. Remove any stray points or sentences that do not directly relate to the purpose, major results, and most important findings and conclusions of your study. As you revise the cover letter, ask yourself if the impact, novelty, and relevance of your findings are clear. Rewrite any sentences that are very long, do not make your point clearly, or are cluttered with too many details.
Cover letters should not exceed one page unless absolutely necessary. If you write a cover letter that is longer than one page, think carefully about how it can be shortened.
As you revise the cover letter, proofread for the same basic grammar and construction issues you would look for when revising your manuscript.
- Eliminate unnecessary or redundant phrases like “in order to” and “may have the potential to.”
- Make sure the letter is written in plain English. Remove any jargon and define all abbreviations at first use.
- Proofread for spelling and grammar errors.
During your review, read the cover letter at least once to ensure you avoid the following:
- Statements that exaggerate or overstate results
- Conclusions that are not supported by the data reported in the manuscript.
- Sentences repeated word-for-word from the manuscript text.
- Too many technical details.
Always complete a final check to confirm that your cover letter includes all elements required by your target journal.
More Resources for Writing Cover Letters
- ACS Publications. Publishing Your Research 101 - Ep.2: Writing Your Cover Letter. [Video.] (accessed 7 Aug 2012).
- Finkelstein, Joshua. 50 ways to write a (cover) letter. [Weblog.] The Sceptical Chymist. 16 Apr 2007. (accessed 7 Aug 2012).
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Writing a Journal Cover Letter [Free Template]
- Research Process
- Peer Review
Journal cover letters are your chance to lobby on behalf of your manuscript. This AJE Journal Cover Letter Guide offers some useful tips for getting them right. It also includes a free journal cover letter template.
Updated on September 20, 2018
The cover letter accompanying your journal submission is your chance to lobby on behalf of your manuscript. The letter is far from just a formality and should be written with the same care as your manuscript's text (if not more). Ultimately, your cover letter is designed to influence the decision of the editor to send your manuscript out for peer review. The letter will argue that your manuscript is a good fit for the journal you are submitting it to and highlight your most important findings. Let us help you produce the most effective cover letter possible.
Getting ready to submit your manuscript? Download our comprehensive Free Journal Cover Letter Writing Guide with Template
A cover letter should be written like a standard business letter :
Address the editor formally by name, if known. Include your contact information, as well. This information is probably available through the journal's online submission system, but it is proper to provide it in the cover letter, too.
Begin your cover letter with a paragraph that states the name of the manuscript and the names of the authors. You can also describe what type of manuscript your submission is (research article, review, case report , etc.). In this first paragraph and the next, describe the rationale behind your study and the major findings from your research. You can refer to prior work that you have published if it is directly related.
Next, write a short paragraph that explains why your manuscript would be a good fit for the journal. Do not simply state that your manuscript is “of interest to the field” or “novel.” Address specific aspects of the journal's Aims & Scope statement. If the journal expresses interest in research with a clinical application, be sure to highlight the importance of your work in terms of clinical implications. If the journal mentions that it focuses on nanostructured materials, explain how your work involved such materials. Even if your work is not a perfect fit for the journal, be sure to address some of the Aims & Scope statement, and explain why your manuscript would be of interest to the journal's readers.
Finally, close with a brief paragraph indicating the following:
- The manuscript is original (i.e., you wrote it, not copied it)
- No part of the manuscript has been published before, nor is any part of it under consideration for publication at another journal
- There are no conflicts of interest to disclose
- A list of potential reviewers (only if requested by the journal)
- Any researchers who should NOT review your manuscript
Together, this information provides assurance to the editor that your manuscript merits consideration for publication in their journal and that you are interested specifically in their journal. Sometimes great science will be reviewed regardless of the cover letter, but a well written cover letter is useful for the vast majority of scientists who want to make their research stand out.
Best of luck with your research! If you have any questions about your cover letter, write us anytime.
Journal Cover Letter Templates
Click here to download a Microsoft Word template for a standard journal cover letter (also available with instructions in Chinese , Japanese , Korean , Portuguese , and Spanish ). A full set of the information in this post can be found here .
Ben Mudrak, PhD
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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Format of articles, cover letter, revised manuscripts, tex/latex files, writing your manuscript, copy editing services, acknowledgements, author contributions, competing interests, data availability, ethics declarations, approval for animal experiments, approval for human experiments, consent to participate/consent to publish.
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General figure guidelines, figures for peer review, figures for publication, statistical guidelines, chemical and biological nomenclature and abbreviations, gene nomenclature, characterisation of chemical and biomolecular materials, registered reports.
Scientific Reports publishes original research in two formats: Article and Registered Report. For Registered Reports, see section below . In most cases, we do not impose strict limits on word count or page number. However, we strongly recommend that you write concisely and stick to the following guidelines:
- Articles should ideally be no more than 11 typeset pages
- The main text should be no more than 4,500 words (not including Abstract, Methods, References and figure legends)
- The title should be no more than 20 words, should describe the main message of the article using a single scientifically accurate sentence, and should not contain puns or idioms
- The abstract should be no more than 200 words
For a definitive list of which limits are mandatory please visit the submission checklist page .
Please do not include any references in your Abstract. Make sure it serves both as a general introduction to the topic and as a brief, non-technical summary of the main results and their implications. Abstract should be unstructured, i.e. should not contain sections or subheadings.
Your manuscript text file should start with a title page that shows author affiliations and contact information, identifying the corresponding author with an asterisk. We recommend that each section includes an introduction of referenced text that expands on the background of the work. Some overlap with the Abstract is acceptable. Large Language Models (LLMs), such as ChatGPT , do not currently satisfy our authorship criteria . Notably an attribution of authorship carries with it accountability for the work, which cannot be effectively applied to LLMs. Use of an LLM should be properly documented in the Methods section (and if a Methods section is not available, in a suitable alternative part) of the manuscript. For the main body of the text, there are no specific requirements. You can organise it in a way that best suits your research. However, the following structure will be suitable in many cases:
- Results (with subheadings)
- Discussion (without subheadings)
You should then follow the main body of text with:
- References (limited to 60 references, though not strictly enforced)
- Acknowledgements (optional)
- Author contributions (names must be given as initials)
- Data availability statement (mandatory)
- Additional Information (including a Competing Interests Statement)
- Figure legends (these are limited to 350 words per figure)
- Tables (maximum size of one page)
Please note, footnotes should not be used. Please also do not include keywords, as these are not published in Scientific Reports articles.
You may include a limited number of uncaptioned molecular structure graphics and numbered mathematical equations if necessary. Display items are limited to 8 ( figures and/or tables ). However, to enable typesetting of papers, we advise making the number of display items commensurate with your overall word length. So, for Articles of 2,000 words or less, we suggest including no more than 4 figures/tables. Please note that schemes should not be used and should be presented as figures instead.
Your submission must also include:
- A cover letter
- Individual figure files and optional supplementary information files
For first submissions (i.e. not revised manuscripts), you may incorporate the manuscript text and figures into a single file up to 3 MB in size. Whilst Microsoft Word is preferred we also accept LaTeX, or PDF format. Figures can be inserted in the text at the appropriate positions, or grouped at the end.
Supplementary information should be combined and supplied as a single separate file, preferably in PDF format.
A submission template is available in the Overleaf template gallery to help you prepare a LaTeX manuscript within the Scientific Reports formatting criteria.
In your cover letter, you should include:
- The affiliation and contact information of your corresponding author
- A brief explanation of why the work is appropriate for Scientific Reports
- The names and contact information of any reviewers you consider suitable
- The names of any referees you would like excluded from reviewing
Finally, you should state whether you have had any prior discussions with a Scientific Reports Editorial Board Member about the work described in your manuscript.
For revised manuscripts, you should provide all textual content in a single file, prepared using either Microsoft Word or LaTeX. Please note, we do not accept PDF files for the article text of revised manuscripts. Make sure you:
- Format the manuscript file as single-column text without justification.
- Number the pages using an Arabic numeral in the footer of each page.
- Use the default Computer Modern fonts for your text, and the 'symbols' font for any Greek characters.
- Supply any figures as individual files.
- Combine and supply any Supplementary Information as a separate file, preferably in PDF format.
- Include the title of the manuscript and author list in the first page of the Supplementary Information file.
If you do not wish to incorporate the manuscript text and figures into a single file, please provide all textual content in a separate single file, prepared using either Microsoft Word or LaTeX.
If you’re submitting LaTeX files, you can either use the standard ‘Article’ document class (or similar) or the wlscirep.cls file and template provided by Overleaf . For graphics, we recommend your use graphicx.sty. Use numerical references only for citations.
Our system cannot accept .bib files. If you prepare references using BibTeX (which is optional), please include the .bbl file with your submission (as a ‘LaTeX supplementary file’) in order for it to be processed correctly; this file is included automatically in the zip file generated by Overleaf for submissions. Please see this help article on Overleaf for more details.
Alternatively, you can make sure that the references (source code) are included within the manuscript file itself. As a final precaution, you should ensure that the complete .tex file compiles successfully on its own system with no errors or warnings, before submission.
Scientific Reports is read by a truly diverse range of scientists. Please therefore give careful thought to communicating your findings as clearly as possible.
Although you can assume a shared basic knowledge of science, please don’t expect that everyone will be familiar with the specialist language or concepts of your particular field. Therefore:
- Avoid technical jargon wherever possible, explaining it clearly when it is unavoidable.
- Keep abbreviations to a minimum, particularly when they are not standard.
- If you must use an abbreviation, make sure you spell it out fully in the text or legend the first time it appears.
- Clearly explain the background, rationale and main conclusions of your study.
- Write titles and abstracts in language that will be readily understood by any scientist.
We strongly recommend that you ask a colleague with different expertise to review your manuscript before you submit it. This will help you to identify concepts and terminology that non-specialist readers may find hard to grasp.
We don’t provide in-depth copy editing as part of the production process. So, if you feel your manuscript would benefit from someone looking at the copy, please consider using a copy editing or language editing service. You can either do this before submission or at the revision stage. You can also get a fast, free grammar check of your manuscript that takes into account all aspects of readability in English.
We have two affiliates who can provide you with these services: Nature Research Editing Service and American Journal Experts . As a Scientific Reports author, you are entitled to a 10% discount on your first submission to either of these.
Claim 10% off English editing from Nature Research Editing Service
Claim 10% off American Journal Experts
Please note that the use of an editing service is at your own expense, and doesn’t ensure that your article will be selected for peer-review or accepted for publication.
We don't impose word limits on the description of methods. Make sure it includes adequate experimental and characterisation data for others to be able to reproduce your work. You should:
- Include descriptions of standard protocols and experimental procedures.
- Only identify commercial suppliers of reagents or instrumentation when the source is critical to the outcome of the experiments.
- Identify sources for any kits you use in your procedures.
- Include any experimental protocols that describe the synthesis of new compounds.
- Use the systematic name of any new compound and put its bold Arabic numeral in the heading for the experimental protocol, indicating it thereafter by its assigned, bold numeral.
- Describe the experimental protocol in detail, referring to amounts of reagents in parentheses, when possible (eg 1.03 g, 0.100 mmol).
- Use standard abbreviations for reagents and solvents.
- Clearly identify safety hazards posed by reagents or protocols.
- Report isolated mass and percent yields at the end of each protocol.
If you’re reporting experiments on live vertebrates (or higher invertebrates), humans or human samples, you must include a statement of ethical approval in the Methods section (see our detailed requirements for further information on preparing these statements).
We don’t copy edit your references. Therefore, it’s essential you format them correctly, as they will be linked electronically to external databases where possible. At Scientific Reports , we use the standard Nature referencing style. So, when formatting your references, make sure they:
- Run sequentially (and are always numerical).
- Sit within square brackets.
- Only have one publication linked to each number.
- Only include papers or datasets that have been published or accepted by a named publication, recognised preprint server or data repository (if you include any preprints of accepted papers in your reference list, make sure you submit them with the manuscript).
- Include published conference abstracts and numbered patents, if you wish.
- Don’t include grant details and acknowledgements.
Sorry, we cannot accept BibTeX (.bib) bibliography files for references. If you are making your submission by LaTeX, it must either contain all references within the manuscript .tex file itself, or (if you’re using the Overleaf template) include the .bbl file generated during the compilation process as a ‘LaTeX supplementary file’ (see the "Manuscripts" section for more details).
In your reference list, you should:
- Include all authors unless there are six or more, in which case only the first author should be given, followed by 'et al.'.
- List authors by last name first, followed by a comma and initials (followed by full stops) of given names.
- Use Roman text for Article and dataset titles, with only the first word of the title having an initial capital and written exactly as it appears in the work cited, ending with a full stop.
- Use italics for book titles, giving all words in the title an initial capital.
- Use italics for journal and data repository names, abbreviating them according to common usage (with full stops).
- Use bold for volume numbers and the subsequent comma.
- Give the full page range (or article number), where appropriate.
Printed journals Schott, D. H., Collins, R. N. & Bretscher, A. Secretory vesicle transport velocity in living cells depends on the myosin V lever arm length. J. Cell Biol . 156 , 35-39 (2002).
Online only Bellin, D. L. et al . Electrochemical camera chip for simultaneous imaging of multiple metabolites in biofilms . Nat. Commun . 7 , 10535; 10.1038/ncomms10535 (2016).
For papers with more than five authors include only the first author’s name followed by ‘ et al. ’.
Books: Smith, J. Syntax of referencing in How to reference books (ed. Smith, S.) 180-181 (Macmillan, 2013).
Babichev, S. A., Ries, J. & Lvovsky, A. I. Quantum scissors: teleportation of single-mode optical states by means of a nonlocal single photon. Preprint at https://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0208066 (2002).
Manaster, J. Sloth squeak. Scientific American Blog Network http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/psi-vid/2014/04/09/sloth-squeak (2014).
Hao, Z., AghaKouchak, A., Nakhjiri, N. & Farahmand, A. Global integrated drought monitoring and prediction system (GIDMaPS) data sets. figshare https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.853801 (2014).
Please keep any acknowledgements brief, and don’t include thanks to anonymous referees and editors, or any effusive comments. You may acknowledge grant or contribution numbers. You should also acknowledge assistance from medical writers, proof-readers and editors.
You must supply an Author Contribution Statement as described in the Author responsibilities section of our Editorial and Publishing Policies .
Please be aware:
- The author name you give as the corresponding author will be the main contact during the review process and should not change.
- The information you provide in the submission system will be used as the source of truth when your paper is published.
You must supply a competing interests statement . If there is no conflict of interest, you should include a statement declaring this.
Your statement must be explicit and unambiguous, describing any potential competing interest (or lack thereof) for EACH contributing author. The information you provide in the submission system will be used as the source of truth when your paper is published.
Examples of declarations are:
Competing interests The author(s) declare no competing interests.
Competing interests Dr X's work has been funded by A. He has received compensation as a member of the scientific advisory board of B and owns stock in the company. He also has consulted for C and received compensation. Dr Y and Dr Z declare no potential conflict of interest.
You must include a Data Availability Statement in all submitted manuscripts (at the end of the main text, before the References section); see ' Availability of materials and data ' section for more information.
If your research includes human or animal subjects, you will need to include the appropriate ethics declarations in the Methods section of your manuscript.
For experiments involving live vertebrates and/or higher invertebrates, your Methods section must include a statement that:
- Identifies the institutional and/or licensing committee that approved the experiments, including any relevant details.
- Confirms that all experiments were performed in accordance with relevant named guidelines and regulations.
- Confirms that the authors complied with the ARRIVE guidelines.
For experiments involving human subjects (or tissue samples), your Methods section must include a statement that:
- Confirms that informed consent was obtained from all participants and/or their legal guardians.
Please note that:
- Study participant names (and other personally identifiable information) must be removed from all text/figures/tables/images.
- The use of coloured bars/shapes or blurring to obscure the eyes/facial region of study participants is not an acceptable means of anonymisation. For manuscripts that include information or images that could lead to identification of a study participant, your Methods section must include a statement that confirms informed consent was obtained to publish the information/image(s) in an online open access publication.
You should submit any Supplementary Information together with the manuscript so that we can send it to referees during peer-review. This will be published online with accepted manuscripts.
It’s vital that you carefully check your Supplementary Information before submission as any modification after your paper is published will require a formal correction.
Please avoid including any "data not shown" statements and instead make your data available via deposition in a public repository (see ' Availability of materials and data ' for more information).
If any data that is necessary to evaluate the claims of your paper is not available via a public depository, make sure you provide it as Supplementary Information.
We do not edit, typeset or proof Supplementary Information, so please present it clearly and succinctly at initial submission, making sure it conforms to the style and terminology of the rest of the paper.
To avoid any delays to publication, please follow the guidelines below for creation, citation and submission of your Supplementary Information:
You can combine multiple pieces of Supplementary Information and supply them as a single composite file. If you wish to keep larger information (e.g. supplementary videos, spreadsheets [.csv or .xlsx] or data files) as another separate file you may do so.
Designate each item as Supplementary Table, Figure, Video, Audio, Note, Data, Discussion, Equations or Methods, as appropriate. Number Supplementary Tables and Figures as, for example, "Supplementary Table S1". This numbering should be separate from that used in tables and figures appearing in the main article. Supplementary Note or Methods should not be numbered; titles for these are optional.
Refer to each piece of supplementary material at the appropriate point(s) in the main article. Be sure to include the word "Supplementary" each time one is mentioned. Please do not refer to individual panels of supplementary figures.
Use the following examples as a guide (note: abbreviate "Figure" as "Fig." when in the middle of a sentence): "Table 1 provides a selected subset of the most active compounds. The entire list of 96 compounds can be found as Supplementary Table S1 online." "The biosynthetic pathway of L-ascorbic acid in animals involves intermediates of the D-glucuronic acid pathway (see Supplementary Fig. S2 online). Figure 2 shows...".
Remember to include a brief title and legend (incorporated into the file to appear near the image) as part of every figure submitted, and a title as part of every table.
Keep file sizes as small as possible, with a maximum size of 50 MB, so that they can be downloaded quickly.
Supplementary video files should be provided in the standard video aspects: 4:3, 16:9, 21:9.
If you have any further questions about the submission and preparation of Supplementary Information, please email: [email protected] .
Please begin your figure legends with a brief title sentence for the whole figure and continue with a short description of what is shown in each panel. Use any symbols in sequence and minimise the methodological details as much as possible. Keep each legend total to no more than 350 words. Provide text for figure legends in numerical order after the references.
Please submit any tables in your main article document in an editable format (Word or TeX/LaTeX, as appropriate), and not as images. Tables that include statistical analysis of data should describe their standards of error analysis and ranges in a table legend.
Include any equations and mathematical expressions in the main text of the paper. Identify equations that are referred to in the text by parenthetical numbers, such as (1), and refer to them in the manuscript as "equation (1)" etc.
For submissions in a .doc or .docx format, please make sure that all equations are provided in an editable Word format. You can produce these with the equation editor included in Microsoft Word.
You are responsible for obtaining permission to publish any figures or illustrations that are protected by copyright, including figures published elsewhere and pictures taken by professional photographers. We cannot publish images downloaded from the internet without appropriate permission.
You should state the source of any images used. If you or one of your co-authors has drawn the images, please mention this in your acknowledgements. For software, you should state the name, version number and URL.
Number any figures separately with Arabic numerals in the order they occur in the text of the manuscript. Include error bars when appropriate. Include a description of the statistical treatment of error analysis in the figure legend.
Please do not use schemes. You should submit sequences of chemical reactions or experimental procedures as figures, with appropriate captions. You may include in the manuscript a limited number of uncaptioned graphics depicting chemical structures - each labelled with their name, by a defined abbreviation, or by the bold Arabic numeral.
Use a clear, sans-serif typeface (for example, Helvetica) for figure lettering. Use the same typeface in the same font size for all figures in your paper. For Greek letters, use a 'symbols' font. Put all display items on a white background, and avoid excessive boxing, unnecessary colour, spurious decorative effects (such as three-dimensional 'skyscraper' histograms) and highly pixelated computer drawings. Never truncate the vertical axis of histograms to exaggerate small differences. Ensure any labelling is of sufficient size and contrast to be legible, even after appropriate reduction. The thinnest lines in the final figure should be no smaller than one point wide. You will be sent a proof that will include figures.
- Figures divided into parts should be labelled with a lower-case, bold letter ( a, b, c and so on) in the same type size as used elsewhere in the figure.
- Lettering in figures should be in lower-case type, with only the first letter of each label capitalised.
- Units should have a single space between the number and the unit, and follow SI nomenclature (for example, ms rather than msec) or the nomenclature common to a particular field.
- Thousands should be separated by commas (1,000).
- Unusual units or abbreviations should be spelled out in full or defined in the legend.
- Scale bars should be used rather than magnification factors, with the length of the bar defined on the bar itself rather than in the legend.
In legends, please use visual cues rather than verbal explanations such as "open red triangles". Avoid unnecessary figures: data presented in small tables or histograms, for instance, can generally be stated briefly in the text instead. Figures should not contain more than one panel unless the parts are logically connected; each panel of a multipart figure should be sized so that the whole figure can be reduced by the same amount and reproduced at the smallest size at which essential details are visible.
At the initial submission stage, you may choose to upload separate figure files or to incorporate figures into the main article file, ensuring that any figures are of sufficient quality to be clearly legible.
When submitting a revised manuscript, you must upload all figures as separate figure files, ensuring that the image quality and formatting conforms to the specifications below.
You must supply each complete figure as a separate file upload. Multi-part/panel figures must be prepared and arranged as a single image file (including all sub-parts; a, b, c, etc.). Please do not upload each panel individually.
Please read the digital images integrity and standards section of our Editorial and Publishing Policies . When possible, we prefer to use original digital figures to ensure the highest-quality reproduction in the journal. When creating and submitting digital files, please follow the guidelines below. Failure to do so, or to adhere to the following guidelines, can significantly delay publication of your work.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
1. Line art, graphs, charts and schematics
For optimal results, you should supply all line art, graphs, charts and schematics in vector format, such as EPS or AI. Please save or export it directly from the application in which it was made, making sure that data points and axis labels are clearly legible.
2. Photographic and bitmap images
Please supply all photographic and bitmap images in a bitmap image format such as tiff, jpg, or psd. If saving tiff files, please ensure that the compression option is selected to avoid very large file sizes. Please do not supply Word or Powerpoint files with placed images. Images can be supplied as RGB or CMYK (note: we will not convert image colour modes).
Figures that do not meet these standards will not reproduce well and may delay publication until we receive high-resolution images.
3. Chemical structures
Please produce Chemical structures using ChemDraw or a similar program. All chemical compounds must be assigned a bold, Arabic numeral in the order in which the compounds are presented in the manuscript text. Structures should then be exported into a 300 dpi RGB tiff file before being submitted.
4. Stereo images
You should present stereo diagrams for divergent 'wall-eyed' viewing, with the two panels separated by 5.5 cm. In the final accepted version of the manuscript, you should submit the stereo images at their final page size.
If your paper contains statistical testing, it should state the name of the statistical test, the n value for each statistical analysis, the comparisons of interest, a justification for the use of that test (including, for example, a discussion of the normality of the data when the test is appropriate only for normal data), the alpha level for all tests, whether the tests were one-tailed or two-tailed, and the actual P value for each test (not merely "significant" or "P < 0.05"). Please make it clear what statistical test was used to generate every P value. Use of the word "significant" should always be accompanied by a P value; otherwise, use "substantial," "considerable," etc.
Data sets should be summarised with descriptive statistics, which should include the n value for each data set, a clearly labelled measure of centre (such as the mean or the median), and a clearly labelled measure of variability (such as standard deviation or range).
Ranges are more appropriate than standard deviations or standard errors for small data sets. Graphs should include clearly labelled error bars. You must state whether a number that follows the ± sign is a standard error (s.e.m.) or a standard deviation (s.d.).
You must justify the use of a particular test and explain whether the data conforms to the assumptions of the tests. Three errors are particularly common:
- Multiple comparisons: when making multiple statistical comparisons on a single data set, you should explain how you adjusted the alpha level to avoid an inflated Type I error rate, or you should select statistical tests appropriate for multiple groups (such as ANOVA rather than a series of t-tests).
- Normal distribution: many statistical tests require that the data be approximately normally distributed; when using these tests, you should explain how you tested your data for normality. If the data does not meet the assumptions of the test, you should use a non-parametric alternative instead.
- Small sample size: when the sample size is small (less than about 10), you should use tests appropriate to small samples or justify the use of large-sample tests.
You should identify molecular structures by bold, Arabic numerals assigned in order of presentation in the text. Once identified in the main text or a figure, you may refer to compounds by their name, by a defined abbreviation, or by the bold Arabic numeral (as long as the compound is referred to consistently as one of these three).
When possible, you should refer to chemical compounds and biomolecules using systematic nomenclature, preferably using IUPAC . You should use standard chemical and biological abbreviations. Make sure you define unconventional or specialist abbreviations at their first occurrence in the text.
You should use approved nomenclature for gene symbols, and employ symbols rather than italicised full names (for example Ttn, not titin). Please consult the appropriate nomenclature databases for correct gene names and symbols. A useful resource is Entrez Gene .
You can get approved human gene symbols from HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC), e-mail: [email protected] ; see also www.genenames.org .
You can get approved mouse symbols from The Jackson Laboratory, e-mail: [email protected] ; see also www.informatics.jax.org/mgihome/nomen .
For proposed gene names that are not already approved, please submit the gene symbols to the appropriate nomenclature committees as soon as possible, as these must be deposited and approved before publication of an article.
Avoid listing multiple names of genes (or proteins) separated by a slash, as in 'Oct4/Pou5f1', as this is ambiguous (it could mean a ratio, a complex, alternative names or different subunits). Use one name throughout and include the other at first mention: 'Oct4 (also known as Pou5f1)'.
Scientific Reports is committed to publishing technically sound research. Manuscripts submitted to the journal will be held to rigorous standards with respect to experimental methods and characterisation of new compounds.
You must provide adequate data to support your assignment of identity and purity for each new compound described in your manuscript. You should provide a statement confirming the source, identity and purity of known compounds that are central to the scientific study, even if they are purchased or resynthesised using published methods.
1. Chemical identity
Chemical identity for organic and organometallic compounds should be established through spectroscopic analysis. Standard peak listings (see formatting guidelines below) for 1H NMR and proton-decoupled 13C NMR should be provided for all new compounds. Other NMR data should be reported (31P NMR, 19F NMR, etc.) when appropriate. For new materials, you should also provide mass spectral data to support molecular weight identity. High-resolution mass spectral (HRMS) data is preferred. You may report UV or IR spectral data for the identification of characteristic functional groups, when appropriate. You should provide melting-point ranges for crystalline materials. You may report specific rotations for chiral compounds. You should provide references, rather than detailed procedures, for known compounds, unless their protocols represent a departure from or improvement on published methods.
2. Combinational compound libraries
When describing the preparation of combinatorial libraries, you should include standard characterisation data for a diverse panel of library components.
3. Biomolecular identity
For new biopolymeric materials (oligosaccharides, peptides, nucleic acids, etc.), direct structural analysis by NMR spectroscopic methods may not be possible. In these cases, you must provide evidence of identity based on sequence (when appropriate) and mass spectral characterisation.
4. Biological constructs
You should provide sequencing or functional data that validates the identity of their biological constructs (plasmids, fusion proteins, site-directed mutants, etc.) either in the manuscript text or the Methods section, as appropriate.
5. Sample purity
We request evidence of sample purity for each new compound. Methods for purity analysis depend on the compound class. For most organic and organometallic compounds, purity may be demonstrated by high-field 1H NMR or 13C NMR data, although elemental analysis (±0.4%) is encouraged for small molecules. You may use quantitative analytical methods including chromatographic (GC, HPLC, etc.) or electrophoretic analyses to demonstrate purity for small molecules and polymeric materials.
6. Spectral data
Please provide detailed spectral data for new compounds in list form (see below) in the Methods section. Figures containing spectra generally will not be published as a manuscript figure unless the data are directly relevant to the central conclusions of the paper. You are encouraged to include high-quality images of spectral data for key compounds in the Supplementary Information. You should list specific NMR assignments after integration values only if they were unambiguously determined by multidimensional NMR or decoupling experiments. You should provide information about how assignments were made in a general Methods section.
Example format for compound characterisation data. mp: 100-102 °C (lit. ref 99-101 °C); TLC (CHCl 3 :MeOH, 98:2 v/v): R f = 0.23; [α] D = -21.5 (0.1 M in n-hexane); 1 H NMR (400 MHz, CDCl 3 ): δ 9.30 (s, 1H), 7.55-7.41 (m, 6H), 5.61 (d, J = 5.5 Hz, 1H), 5.40 (d, J = 5.5 Hz, 1H), 4.93 (m, 1H), 4.20 (q, J = 8.5 Hz, 2H), 2.11 (s, 3H), 1.25 (t, J = 8.5 Hz, 3H); 13 C NMR (125 MHz, CDCl 3 ): δ 165.4, 165.0, 140.5, 138.7, 131.5, 129.2, 118.6, 84.2, 75.8, 66.7, 37.9, 20.1; IR (Nujol): 1765 cm- 1 ; UV/Vis: λ max 267 nm; HRMS (m/z): [M] + calcd. for C 20 H 15 C l2 NO 5 , 420.0406; found, 420.0412; analysis (calcd., found for C 20 H 15 C l2 NO 5 ): C (57.16, 57.22), H (3.60, 3.61), Cl (16.87, 16.88), N (3.33, 3.33), O (19.04, 19.09).
7. Crystallographic data for small molecules
If your manuscript is reporting new three-dimensional structures of small molecules from crystallographic analysis, you should include a .cif file and a structural figure with probability ellipsoids for publication as Supplementary Information. These must have been checked using the IUCR's CheckCIF routine, and you must include a PDF copy of the output with the submission, together with a justification for any alerts reported. You should submit crystallographic data for small molecules to the Cambridge Structural Database and the deposition number referenced appropriately in the manuscript. Full access must be provided on publication.
8. Macromolecular structural data
If your manuscript is reporting new structures, it should contain a table summarising structural and refinement statistics. Templates are available for such tables describing NMR and X-ray crystallography data. To facilitate assessment of the quality of the structural data, you should submit with the manuscript a stereo image of a portion of the electron density map (for crystallography papers) or of the superimposed lowest energy structures (≳10; for NMR papers). If the reported structure represents a novel overall fold, you should also provide a stereo image of the entire structure (as a backbone trace).
Registered Reports are original research articles which undergo peer-review prior to data collection and analyses. This format is designed to minimize publication bias and research bias in hypothesis-driven research, while also allowing the flexibility to conduct exploratory (unregistered) analyses and report serendipitous findings. If you intend to submit a Registered Report to Scientific Reports , please refer to detailed guidelines here .
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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 .
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