What Editors Look For In a Good Manuscript?
We all know that research is nothing without publishing, and writing an article is the inevitable grand finale to any good research project. Yet, publishing is competitive and challenging and getting that acceptance letter is not always as easy as we might like.
The good news is that one rejection is not the be-all and end-all of publishing, and by simply tweaking how you write, you can convince even the most critical editor to consider your manuscript. So, here is a list of the most important things that editors look for in a good manuscript (Source).
First of all, editors check a couple of vital technical aspects relating to your manuscript. If these are not correct, you will have a hard time convincing an editor to publish your article. A good tip to remember is that the purpose of a research article is to report new information to the scientific community.
Choosing the right journal for the scope of your research is critical. Journals can be so specific that some of your work will be accepted to one journal, while another part of the same project will be more suited to another journal. This is why journals have a very clear description of their scope, and why you should study these intensely before you go through the effort of submitting your work.
Another useful tip is to, in addition to reading the journal focus, browse through the previous year or two’s publications to get an idea of what the editors like to publish.
This should go without saying, but unfortunately, it is something a lot of writers get wrong. No matter how many articles you have published, spending some extra time on formatting your writing to fit the journal specs is something that makes a huge difference. An article that is not formatted correctly has a great chance of being rejected.
Once an editor has checked for relevance and format, the next thing they will make sure of is that the research that has been submitted is novel. This is not only to prevent plagiarism but also to make sure that there is no unnecessary duplication.
Novel research is what attracts readers, and readers can influence impact factors, which in turn influences submissions and income for the journal.
Once the basics have been covered and an editor has made sure that the work is valid, unique and suited to the journal, the next big step is to check the more “aesthetic” qualities of the article.
- Language use
Any well-written article will have a professional tone, with short sentences that are direct to the point. The use of words should suit the journal style and field of research, without the use of too many acronyms or too much jargon.
- Spelling & Grammar
Even though spelling checkers and proofreaders play a very active role in publications these days, editors also have to pay attention to these when reviewing a manuscript. Although a few typos may be a little bit frustrating to an editor, many of them that are repeated throughout the manuscript may send a message about the person doing the writing.
If a researcher does not have the pride in his or her work to make sure the spelling and grammar are correct, the chances are that the quality of their work may also have suffered, and it may leave an editor wondering if publishing the work is worthwhile. At best, the work will be sent back with loads of revisions, which is never a fun thing to do.
- Brevity & Clarity
Most journals have word limits for research articles, thereby limiting the writer to only the necessary information. The reason for this is to make sure the message gets across without having to publish a complete review article every time. In this way, journals can optimize the amount of research they publish, without compromising too much on content.
Even though research articles should be brief, they should not fall short on clarity. This is where proper word use comes in as discussed earlier, and it may be necessary to wordsmith your work to optimize the content and information ratio. In layman’s terms – better make it short and sweet.
If you are struggling with making your article aesthetic, we can help you. We are an experienced team who know what editors might be looking for in your manuscript. For further support email us on firstname.lastname@example.org