Check your writing

Having followed the previous chapters in this guide, and applied the suggestions to your writing, you may be ready to submit a manuscript to your chosen peer-reviewed journal. Before doing so, however, it is wise to do a final check. When you have been working hard and close on a writing project, it is easy to lose sight of simple details (such as whether you have included the correct versions of figures and tables).

Here is a pre-submission checklist:

  • Have you checked the Guidelines for Authors of your chosen journal, and does the format and style of your manuscript fulfill the requirements exactly?

  • Does the journal have a Code of Conduct or an ethics guide, and does your research comply with it?

  • Have you set the manuscript aside for a couple of days, to cool down, and then made a final check?

  • Do all citations have matching references, and vice versa?

  • Are all citations and references in the journal’s preferred format?

  • Have you included all of the relevant figures and tables?

  • Are the figure and table captions self-expanatory?

  • Are the figures clear and legible, and in the graphic format required by the journal?

  • Are figures, tables and supplementary material cited in the text?

  • Are you submitting your manuscript to only one journal?

  • Have all of your co-authors read the final version of the manuscript and agreed that it can be submitted to your chosen journal?

  • Are you submitting your research to a trusted journal, and is it the right journal for your work (there are many rogue and less-than-reputable journals, some with seemingly plausible names)? Use the checklists provided by the Think. Check. Submit. initiative, which ‘helps researchers identify trusted journals for their research’ and ‘aims to educate researchers, promote integrity, and build trust in credible research and publications’. See also Considerations of quality.

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