How to write a cover letter for a journal submission

You have in mind all of the submission criteria for journal where you are submitting your manuscript. You find that part of the criteria is to include a covering letter. Just like your cover letter which accompanies your CV, it is important to get this right. It can be a deciding factor as to whether or not your manuscript is sent for review and ultimately publication.

It is good practice to include a cover letter even for journals that do not require one. This is because tailoring your cover letter to the interests of the individual editor who will read your article helps to make a good first impression. This is particularly relevant if you have not yet had the opportunity to meet the editor at a conference or some other venue.

Journals that require you to include a cover letter with your manuscript usually have guidance notes. Naturally, if you are submitting to these journals you should read through their suggestions. The purpose of this post is to give you an outline which you can then fine tune according to your research field, and the journal to which you are submitting your manuscript for publication.

Cover letters should be succinct and should ideally be on one page or a maximum of a page and a half.

Include all of your contact details in the top right hand corner, such as email address and direct phone number.

Focus on the importance and novelty of your findings, as well as how they relate to the scope of your target journal.

Opening paragraph: introduction
Open your cover letter with a sentence or two explaining why you are writing, the title of your manuscript, and the title of the journal to which you are submitting.

Second paragraph: your work and the journal’s readership
Outline the reason/s why your study is important and relevant to the journal’s readership or field. State the question your research answers and what the major experimental results are. You should also highlight the overall findings, and assert the most important conclusions that can be drawn from your research.

Closing paragraph
You should close with a statement that the manuscript has not been published and is not under consideration for publication in any other journal. Here you can include a statement that all authors approved the manuscript and its submission to the journal. It is incredibly helpful to the editor if you are transparent and state any potential conflicts of interest in your closing paragraph.

Sign off with ‘Yours Sincerely’ and include a typed full name and title beneath your signature,

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