11 Tips for Impressing the Journal Editor with Your Cover LetterAbdul Rouf, Ph.D. | Nov. 1, 2016
The publication and dissemination of data and results to readers via a relevant and high-impact journal is an important part of research. When submitting a manuscript to a particular journal, one of the main components that you need to include is a cover letter, which should be addressed to the specific editor of the journal (typically, the Editor-in-Chief).
A cover letter provides the first impression to the editor about the manuscript, and although the main manuscript plays a major role, the cover letter provides a very useful introduction to the article that will help an editor decide whether to forward the submitted manuscript to reviewers, directly reject it, or even directly accept it (wouldn’t that be great!) Therefore, the cover letter should be expressed in concise, persuasive, and professional language. It should not be too long or too short (typically, 1-2 pages in length).
Your goal with your cover letter should be to sell your research to the editor! Below are 11 tips for writing a stellar cover letter:
Important cover letter fundamentals:
Include your name (or the corresponding author’s name), email address, and physical address at the top of the cover letter, or better yet, use the letterhead from your institution. If the letterhead from your institution is standardized, include your specific contact information at the bottom of the letter after your signature so the editor can easily contact you. Also, make sure you include your actual signature (not just your typed name) to increase the credibility of the letter.
Some journals have different editors assigned for different regions, such as for American, European, or Asian regions. Therefore, be sure that you address the right editor. Write the full name of the editor and include his/her title (Prof.) before the name. You can typically find the list of editors on the journal’s webpage. If the name is not available, write “Dear Editor” or “Dear Editor-in-Chief”, but do not write “Dear sir” or “Dear madam”.
Try not to just copy entire paragraphs from your manuscript. Reword the important results and applications of your study in your cover letter. This will show the editor that you spent time to write a unique letter.
- When thinking about what to say in your cover letter, this is a good time to double check that your research is directly related to the journal’s theme, subject, and scope.
You may also like our related post: Choosing the Best Journal for Your Paper: Top 5 Recommendations
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- Start your letter professionally and on a positive and constructive note. Write the correct title as presented in the main manuscript. Be sure to update the title in your letter before you submit your manuscript, if you have changed the title in the final draft of the manuscript. Then, clearly indicate what type of work you are submitting, such as a short communication, full article, review (mini or full review), or perspective.
If you have submitted this particular article to another journal before, remember to change the name of the journal, editor, and the wording per the journal’s theme, requirements, and interests. Also be aware that if you are submitting an article that was previously submitted elsewhere, you should mention this and why it was previously rejected when uploading your manuscript or in the cover letter (if there is nowhere else to mention it). You should never submit an article at the same time to more than one journal, and some journals want you to explicitly state that it is not under consideration elsewhere.
The main paragraphs of the cover letter should concisely present the novelty of your scientific work in one or two paragraphs as required to state your important points . This section should not be too long or too short. Highlight the best experiments and your most promising results and include any new special techniques that were used, if any. If space, you can mention your expertise in this field and your prior results, if they are significant and related. However, the focus should primarily be on the current study. When describing your results, be sure that what you include is consistent with what is reported in the main manuscript and in the supporting information.
Clearly and concisely explain the significance and rationale for why you are submitting your work to this particular journal. This is perhaps the most important tip! Convince the editor how and why your work is relevant to the journal’s scope. You should also explain why the particular problem addressed in your study is important and will be valuable to the journal’s readers. You want to convince the editor that your study will have a high impact on the field!
How to end your cover letter:
You could mention the other documents that you are including, such as the manuscript itself, author’s forms, supporting information, answers to reviewers’ comments (if submitting a revision), etc. However, this is generally not necessary and just takes up space that could be used for selling your article to the editor. After all, the cover letter is essentially a sales pitch!
- Finally, indicate to the editor that you are eager and glad to answer any questions about your manuscript and you look forward to the decision or next steps.
- Avoid using abbreviations (or define them) and be sure that the grammar and spelling are correct. Read and reread it carefully to make sure it is worthy of presentation to an esteemed editor in an international forum.
With these tips, we know you can develop a cover letter that is sure to impress the journal editor!
And, if you require professional editing of your manuscript or cover letter, contact Falcon Scientific Editing today for a quick quote . We also provide sample editing (up to 300 words) of abstracts and cover letters so that you can determine the quality of our work before ordering. With full editing orders, we can also write your cover letter for you (based upon your manuscript) for an additional fee. You are welcome to email us for a quote today!
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About the Author:
Abdul Rouf is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Florida in the U.S. Previously, he also worked in Brazil and Turkey as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. In 2013, he completed his Ph.D. from the CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine in Jammu, India. His expertise is organic chemistry, and his current interests include the chemical synthesis of pheromones and hormones. Additionally, he is actively involved in writing, editing, and reviewing research articles for different journals, such as the International Journal of Chemistry. His publication list is available on Google Scholar .
Topics : Scientific Writing Cover Letter