A guide: how to get published in academic journals

A step by step guide to getting published in academic journals. Summary: Choosing your target journal, following guidelines and writing perfect English.

Follow these steps to getting published in academic journals

What makes a good academic manuscript?

A good manuscript is relevant to your target journal so do your research. Visit the website of the journal and find:

  • the scope and editorial aims
  • the types of article they usually accept and publish
  • their readership and target audience
  • their calls for papers and recent abstracts

When you are researching a journal, it is a good idea to check it adheres to the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing and also to check its access and copyright policies at SHERPA/RoMEO.

Always follow these rules:

  • Never plagiarise
  • Acknowledge only co-authors who made significant contributions
  • Never submit your manuscript to more than one journal at a time (this can result in duplication of the work)
  • Use proper citation and acknowledgements

Journal-specific guides for authors

All reputable journal websites have documentation guiding authors in manuscript style and structure. Follow your journal’s guidelines rigorously. Many publishers require the use of APA Style. You can download a free Microsoft Word template for the APA structure.

Free abstract editing and proofreading - no registration required

Illustrations in your manuscript

Research is all about results, and results are best shown in tables and figures.

Follow these rules for illustrations:

  • Tables and figures should always be self-explanatory
  • Be consistent with language and labelling
  • Ensure good referencing to tables and figures within your text
  • Ensure correct numbering
  • Do not duplicate texts in other illustrations or in the text

Use correct, appropriate and flawless academic English

The use of correct language is entirely your responsibility. Poor English often leads to rejection of manuscripts because the review board cannot understand the research or they do not feel comfortable publishing sub-standard research reporting.

The best way to guarantee perfect and appropriate English is to use an English language editing service with editors who know your subject. You can use these handy tips to thoroughly proofread your manuscript before submission. Stick to these guidelines and you have a far greater chance of having a manuscript accepted and your research reaching the widest possible audience.

A good editor and proofreader will correct and improve:

  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Syntax
  • Sentence structure
  • Paragraph structure
  • Readability and flow
  • The use of tenses

Write a great letter to the editor

First impressions are essential. Download our guide to writing an effective cover letter to the editor of your chosen academic journal.

Discover how to get perfectly written English for your journal article


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