Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Moffitt Library is opening Aug. 22. Other libraries will have updated services and hours. Learn more.

How to publish a scientific paper: Submitting the manuscript

Choosing a journal

Identifying appropriate journals in your area:

  • consider whether your paper is specialized (and if so to what degree) or interdisciplinary
  • think of journals you read regularly and whether your paper would be a good fit
  • consider recommendations from colleagues and advisors
  • look at the journals in your reference list
  • think about whether you want to publish Open Access (see Maximizing Impact)
  • on journal websites read the Aims and Scope and the Author Guidelines, and note each journal's article types and data policies
  • consider the audience for each journal, and whether it matches your intended audience
  • search Web of Science, Scopus or Embase on your topic or on key researchers in your field and look at the source titles or journal titles in the left-hand menu:

Resources for evaluating journals

Submitting the manuscript

Manuscript Submission Guidelines for any journal which you are considering should be read carefully. These will specify:

  • File formats for the manuscript, figures, and supplementary data
  • Whether you are required to use a template to format the article.
  • Whether the figures should be included in the manuscript file or submitted in separate files, and when.

Eight simple mistakes that can delay peer review (and how to avoid them) (PLOS ONE/Maria Gould)

Cover letter: A cover letter is your opportunity to explain to an editorial team why they should consider publishing your paper. A cover letter should:

  • include the title of the paper, a brief summary of the research question investigated and the significance of the results
  • use standard, searchable terms (keywords) to call attention to your work
  • state why the paper has been submitted to this particular journal
  • avoid simply restating the abstract

Many journals require a statement that the paper is not under consideration elsewhere, has not been published before, and is approved by all co-authors. Some journal publishers provide cover letter samples or templates in their guidelines.





Retaining author rights

Managing Copyrights & Negotiating Agreements (UC Berkeley Scholarly Communication Services)

Understanding Licenses (UC Berkeley Scholarly Communication Services)