How To Write A Cover Letter For An Academic Journal Submission

Three Cover Letter Templates to Journal Editors
Each cover letter is unique, and those addressed to journal editors by scientists and academics when they submit their writing for publication are no exception. As an opportunity to present original research in the best possible light, a cover letter is indispensible for persuading a busy editor that a manuscript is worthy of peer review. A letter can only achieve this goal, however, if it is well written, contains everything the particular journal’s author instructions request for cover letters and offers specific and detailed information about why the research reported and the paper itself are perfect for the journal and of special interest to its readers. The originality that should characterise an excellent cover letter therefore prevents the wholesale use of a universal template without significant alterations, but the three sample letters that appear below may prove helpful for scholars who are planning, formatting and drafting a professional cover letter to a journal editor.

The content of the three sample letters is entirely fictional, with the dates, names, titles and situations invented. The specifics pertinent to your own research, your manuscript and the journal you are targeting will give you the raw material to emulate these templates. The format of a traditional business letter has been observed, so contact information for the authors and editors has been provided as complete mailing addresses. This formality may not be strictly necessary when communicating with a journal editor via email, where such details are often truncated, but the complete forms are always acceptable, and proper names and titles are a necessity. If possible, the official letterhead of the university, department or other research body with which you are affiliated should be used along with your name, phone number and professional email address.

Descriptions of the research and manuscript in each of the three examples have been kept simple so that the meaning will be clear to readers of all specialisations, but there are certainly successful cover letters that delve into a good deal more detail. Letter 2 below, for instance, might productively say more about the specific lights used and tomato plants grown and provide numbers and percentages as well. Do keep in mind, however, that the clarity and accessibility offered by a short and simple approach is also valuable, particularly when writing to an editor who may not share your precise specialisation.

Letter 1 adopts the perspective of a doctoral candidate who has rewritten the literature review chapter of his thesis as a bibliographical study and is seeking publication for the first time. Letter 2 introduces a research paper written by several authors and demonstrates how to act as the corresponding author when submitting a multi-author manuscript. Letter 3 posits that the author met the journal editor at a recent conference where an earlier version of the paper now being submitted for a theme issue of the journal was presented.

Letter 1: A Doctoral Candidate Seeking His First Publication

Joe Student
Department of English
University of the Western Shore
San Francisco, CA, USA 98765
777-999-8888
joestudent@westernshore.edu

Dr. Brian Editing
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Analytical Middle English Bibliography
New York, NY, USA 12345
editorinchief@jamebiblio.com

November 8, 2017

Dear Dr. Editing,

I am writing to submit my article entitled ‘A Bibliography of Hoccleve Studies from the Fifteenth Century to 2017: Patterns of Readership and Response’ for publication in the Journal of Analytical Middle English Bibliography. This manuscript is based on a chapter of my doctoral thesis, supervised by Dr Hoccleve Specialist, and has not been published or submitted elsewhere for consideration.

I believe this manuscript is appropriate for the Journal of Analytical Middle English Bibliography because it combines a complete list and critical summary of previous studies with an in-depth analysis of not only individual contributions, but also the larger patterns of scholarship and their possible significance through the centuries. As I argue in the paper, the autobiographical nature of Hoccleve’s writing and the bouts of madness he claims to have experienced are topics upon which perspectives and approaches swing on a particularly long pendulum. Shifts in opinion regarding the literary quality of Hoccleve’s poetry are similarly striking. Current trends and the annotated Hoccleve bibliography will likely prove of special interest to many of your readers, enabling future research and encouraging scholarly self-awareness.

If you decide to consider the manuscript for publication, I suggest the following two experts as qualified reviewers:

Dr. Medieval Scholarship
Professor of English, Southern University
medscholar@southern.edu

Dr. Manuscript Expert
Director of Medieval Studies, Northern University
msexpert@northern.edu

Many thanks for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Joe Student

Joe Student
Ph.D. Candidate and Teaching Assistant
Department of English
University of the Western Shore

Letter 2: A Corresponding Author Submitting an Article Written by Several Researchers

Jane Researcher
Private Plant Research Institute
9201 Pink Greenhouse Place
Coquitlam, BC, Canada, V0V 1A1
604-604-6044
janeresearcher@plantinstitute.ca

Dr Samuel Botanist
Managing Editor
Growing Our Greenhouse: A Journal of Current Research
2020 Glass Hill
Colorado Springs, CO, USA, 59678
samtheorchidman@gogjournal.com

November 22, 2017

Dear Dr Botanist,

I am delighted to submit an original research article entitled ‘LED Lights Increase Vitamin C Content in Greenhouse Cherry Tomatoes’ for publication in Growing Our Greenhouse: A Journal of Current Research. My colleagues and I at the Private Plant Research Institute in Coquitlam conducted the research and coauthored the manuscript; a full list of the names and affiliations of all ten coauthors is attached. We have all approved the manuscript for submission to Growing Our Greenhouse, and I have been chosen as the corresponding author.

The article is particularly appropriate for the journal’s section dedicated to the cultivation of fruits and vegetables. It is, in fact, a continuation of the research presented in our article ‘Can LED Lights Really Replace the Sun for Tomatoes?’ which was published in that section of Growing Our Greenhouse two years ago. Then we were analysing the results of our first two seasons of growing tomatoes under LED lights. One of the unexpected discoveries we made as we determined which plants and lights produced the best results was that vitamin C content appeared to increase when the ripening fruit was exposed to LED light.

The research reported in the manuscript I am submitting today was designed to investigate further the apparent increases in vitamin C. Its methodology is similar to that of our earlier study, but we used only those cherry tomato plants that we had already shown could thrive under LED lights. We also established a larger number of experimental groups to explore the effects of variables such as light colour, light intensity, hours of exposure, ambient temperature and presence or absence of sunlight. Our findings were convincing to say the least, with vitamin C content doubling and sometimes trebling in fruit exposed to additional LED light. Even fruit given only LED lighting and deprived of all natural sunlight far exceeded the vitamin C content of those tomatoes exposed to natural sunlight alone.

We trust that your readers will find our hands-on empirical method as effective as they have in the past and benefit from our practices and discoveries as they grow and experiment in their own greenhouses.

Thank you for your continuing interest and consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Jane Researcher

Jane Researcher
Research Director, Private Plant Research Institute

Letter 3: A Conference Participant Submitting a Paper to the Journal Editor She Met

Sheila Presenter
Chair, School of Business Management
Yorkshire University
2121 University Road
York, North Yorkshire, UK, YO33 7EE
01904 323232
spresenter@yorkschbusman.ac.uk

Dr Margaret Publisher
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Innovative Business Studies
178B West Central Avenue
London, UK, EC9M 6BB
margareteditor@IBSjournal.co.uk

25 November 2017

Dear Dr Publisher,

It was a pleasure meeting you and discussing our similar interests at the Business Management conference in London a couple of weeks ago. As promised, I have revised my presentation and am submitting it for your consideration for the upcoming issue of the Journal of Innovative Business Studies dedicated to management innovations. The new title of the manuscript is ‘Empathy as a Management Strategy Yields Significant Increases in Efficiency and Productivity.’

You might recall that we discussed the challenges of reshaping my presentation, which was designed to generate in conference attendees the emotional responses it discusses, to conform to the structural requirements of the Journal of Innovative Business Studies. The journal’s author instructions were actually very helpful, and I believe the overall argument of the paper is now clearer as a result of the rearrangement. I also took a look at the recent Journal of Innovative Business Studies articles by Sally Scholar and John Researcher that you recommended. The former was particularly helpful and I have cited it more than once in my closing discussion. That discussion has benefited significantly from our long talk at the conference and I hope you do not object to my acknowledgement of your insight.

As you know, the research presented in the manuscript is original and has not been published or submitted elsewhere. My methods comply with the journal’s ethical standards, I have no conflicts of interest to disclose and I have removed all traces of my identity in preparation for blind review. I would respectfully request that Stephen Harsh not review the manuscript, however. His knowledge in this area is extensive, but you may remember from his comments at the conference that he does not share my approach to management or view my recent research with a positive eye. I believe the following two experts would serve as more appropriate reviewers of my paper:

Frederick Newapproach
CEO, Management Innovations UK Inc.
fnewapproach_ceo@managementinnovations.co.uk
Samantha Kindheart
Chair, Department of Business Management
University of the Wolds
skindheart@univofwolds.co.uk

I look forward to seeing you at the upcoming conference in Leeds. In the meantime, let me take this opportunity to thank you for your interest and consideration.

Best regards,

Sheila Presenter

Sheila Presenter
Chair, School of Business Management
Yorkshire University

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One of the most neglected aspects of journal submission is the cover letter. Although it may seem like a formality, the cover letter is actually an important part of the submission process. The cover letter is your chance to tell the editor about your manuscript, why it is important, and how it fits into the scope of their journal. Overall, the letter should grab the editor’s attention. This letter should not be written hurriedly, because the quality of the cover letter can make or break your chances of publication. The cover letter should follow a fairly standard format.

Format of a Cover Letter

The first thing you need to do is check your target journal’s author instructions for the cover letter requirements. Sometimes, the journals will request that certain phrases or statements be included in the cover letter. If this is the case, then make sure that your letter contains all of the required information and statements mentioned in the instructions. Before writing the letter, here are a few key things to remember with regard to the format of the letter.

  • The letter should be written on a letterhead, and it should be limited to about one or one and a half pages long. All the proper letter heading materials should be included (the date and the address of the recipient should be at the top left, under the letterhead).
  • It should address the editor by name, if this is known.
  • The body of the letter should include four short paragraphs.
  • The first paragraph should introduce the author while stating that the author is submitting a manuscript for review. This section should include the title of the manuscript and the journal name.
  • The second paragraph should cover the focus of the manuscript. This should include about 4-5 sentences that describe the focus of the study, the hypothesis, the approach, and the methodology.
  • The third paragraph should be about 2-3 sentences and should describe the key findings and how these contribute to the field. It should also describe the scope of the manuscript to the journal based on the details of the manuscript. If you have any other important details that might make your manuscript stand out and encourage the editor to send it for review then do not forget to mention those details in this paragraph.
  • The final paragraph should always thank the editor for considering the manuscript for publication.

Points to Remember

In addition, there are certain key phrases that need to be included, and some of these are even required by most journals. It should be mentioned that the written manuscript is original and no part of it has been published before, nor is any part of it under consideration for publication at any another journal. The authors might also need to declare any conflicts of interest.

Related: Drafting your cover letter for manuscript submission? Check out this post now for additional points to consider submitting your manuscript!

Finally, some journals require that you submit a list of potential reviewers in the cover letter and also allow you to mention any researchers who should not review your manuscript. All of these added statements are a very important part of the cover letter, especially if they are required by the journal, and contribute to the editors overall view of your manuscript submission. Do not forget to proofread your cover letter several times. The text should be revised for clarity and succinctness. Points or sentences that stray from the focus should be removed and all the sentences should be directly related to the purpose, the main results, and the most important findings and conclusions.

In addition, all basic grammar and construction issues should be corrected during the revision. If you need help with the revision, you can include your cover letter with your manuscript when seeking for a professional proofreading service. If you are still unsure of where to start with your cover letter, there several templates available that can help. We have listed some of these below:

https://spie.org/Documents/Publications/Journals/sample_cover_letter.doc

www.springer.com/cda/content/document/…/JGIM+Cover+letter+templates.doc



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