How to write an impressive cover letter to a journal’s editor

While submitting a manuscript to a journal, it is very important to include an impressive cover letter to the editor-in-chief. The cover letter provides a glimpse of the results and data presented in the manuscript, including the experimental study design. Based on the content of the cover letter, the journal editor would make an important decision of accepting the article with revisions or directly publishing it. In most cases, the paper is forwarded to reviewers based on the content of the cover letter and manuscript. A cover letter should be typically of 1-2 pages. In this article, we guide you on how to write a professional yet persuasive cover letter that attracts the attention of the journal editor.

Salient features of a cover letter to a journal editor:

  • A cover letter must include the name of all authors, including the names of corresponding authors. Contact details of authors, such as email addresses and the actual address must be provided at the start of the cover letter. In most cases, authors prefer to use the institute’s letterhead. In general, letterhead is standardized and contact details have to be provided at the end of the cover letter. Always write your signature at the end of the cover letter. Contact details are necessary as the editor would contact you based on their decision, regardless of whether it is positive or negative.
  • In some journals, the editors of different regions are different. For example, the European version of the journal would have an editor that is different from the American version of the journal. In this case, please ensure that the correct editor is addressed in the cover letter. The title and the name of the editor should be written correctly and in full form. A journal’s webpage usually enlists the names of editors. Never write “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam” as a salutation. In case the name is not provided on the journal’s webpage, then the salutation would be “Dear Editor” or “Dear Editor-in-chief.”
  • The cover letter has to be written in a unique style. As an author of a manuscript, you cannot simply include important results as copied paragraphs. The important findings and results should be reworded in simple and short sentences. The journal editor should be convinced that you spent time drafting the cover letter.
  • Before drafting a cover letter, please double-check whether the topic of your research study is compliant with the journal’s theme, scope, and subject. A cover letter should be written in a constructive tone and style. The title of the manuscript should be presented as it is in the cover letter. The title should be the one that’s presented in the final draft of the manuscript. Then, declare the type of work that is presented in the manuscript. It could be any one of the following: an article, a meta-analysis, short communication, or a perspective.
  • There may be instances where the authors have submitted the article to another journal earlier. In that case, authors must take into account the current journal’s submission criteria, theme, and interests. Thus, they should address the current journal’s editor by his or her proper name, and change the wordings of the cover letter. In case the article has been rejected by a previous journal, then the authors must mention the reason for rejection in the cover letter. The authors should never submit a manuscript to two or more journals simultaneously. Most journal editors do not review a manuscript that has been already submitted elsewhere for publication.
  • The important content of the cover letter is just one or two paragraphs that summarize the novelty of the scientific research. All important points of the research findings must be included in this cover letter. These two paragraphs should neither be too long nor very short. The experimental study design and the special techniques used in the research study should be presented concisely. All innovative results of the study should also be included.
  • The cover letter must include the significance of the study and the rationale behind experimentation. It must explain why the paper is suitable for publication in a specific journal. The explanation must include why the paper is relevant to the scope of the journal. Moreover, the authors must also explain the importance of the research study and how it will entice the readers of the journal. The editor must be convinced that the paper will have a high impact in the particular field of study.
  • In the cover letter, authors must also include the list of documents that they are submitting. For example, the final draft of the manuscript, supporting information, author information forms, answers to the comments provided by reviewers (This is done when a revised form of the manuscript is submitted to the editor). Please note that the cover letter is like a sales pitch that needs to be persuasive yet concise.
  • In a cover letter, refrain from mentioning and defining abbreviations. Ensure that the content is correct in terms of grammar and punctuation. Avoid having spelling mistakes in the document. Carefully read the cover letter to ascertain its worthiness. After all, it is meant to be submitted to an editor of an international journal. The esteemed editor would be glad to know that the authors are eager to answer any queries related to the manuscript. Finally, place a note stating that the decision of the editor would be held in high esteem.

Harrisco is a reputed Korean company that offers cover letter development services to all researchers in Korea, China, Japan, and Taiwan. Established in 1997, it has become a brand to reckon with. It has a team of more than 200 native English editors from reputed universities of the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. They can professionally draft effective cover letters that provide a correct glimpse of the experimental study to the journal’s editor, regardless of whether the journal is SCI or Open Access.


How to do journal selection for your manuscript?

Many factors have to be considered while doing right journal selection for your manuscript. Most novice researchers do not know the factors to be considered before submitting the manuscript to a journal. If the journal is not related to the topic of your research, the article would be rejected even without being subjected to peer review process. Now, let us understand which factors need to be considered for journal selection.

  • Topic of research: Each journal has aims and scopes, which should be explored and matched with the topic of research. Suppose a researcher has written an article on novel therapies for lung cancer, then the researcher should submit the paper to a journal whose name and scope is aligned with lung cancer therapy.
  • Types of articles: Many journals publish a certain type of article. Full length paper will not be published in a journal that publishes only case study. Moreover, a systematic review would not be appropriate for publication in a journal of manuscripts.
  • Journal’s impact factor: Before submitting a paper to a journal, always consider the impact factor of the journal. Greater the impact factor of the journal, higher is the visibility of the article. Papers published in high impact journals usually receive greater citations and credibility.
  • Journal’s target audience: The content of the article should be compliant with the target audience of the journal. If an article is about latest medications and therapies, then the article would be read by a clinical journal and not by a chemical journal. There are many interdisciplinary fields of study, such as robotic surgery in bioinformatics. These papers are read by both surgeons and biomedical engineers.
  • Length of the article: Most journals have laid down strict wordcount restrictions. In general, most biomedical journals do not want abstracts that are more than 250 words. Similarly, most academic journals accept papers that have a wordcount of 3000-5000 words. A pre-press service author education company should be hired to concise the article and abstract and adhere to wordcount restrictions. These wordcount limits are usually displayed in the “Instructions to Authors” Tab of the journal’s website.
  • The type of journal: Science Citation Index (SCI), Open Access (OA), and Hybrid are the three types of journals in academic publishing. The leading publishers are Elsevier, Springer, Nature, Wiley, etc. In general, most Asian researchers publish in SCI journals, while most European researchers prefer to publish in OA journals. Today, hybrid mode of publishing includes the benefits of both SCI and OA journals, so it is now used by researchers all across the world.

Based on these factors, researchers should select three closely related journals for publication of their manuscript.






How to Select the Best Journal for Manuscript Publication


In academia, it is absolutely essential for a researcher to publish papers in different peer-reviewed journals of a particular field of study. In this way, researchers present their work to the scientific community. “Publish or Perish” is the mantra of scientific publishing.

In fact, a researcher is considered to be productive only when he or she publishes a decent number of papers in high quality journals.The scientific publishing process is exhaustive for any researcher. A researcher has to select an appropriate journal for publishing his or her paper. The researcher has to then go through the comprehensive review process of the journal.

Finally, the paper is published in the journal after undergoing minor or major revisions. Nevertheless, papers published in peer-reviewed journals are seen as stepping stones towards a successful career in academia. These papers are considered by authorities approving research grants and funding.

Most international researchers find it difficult to select a suitable journal for manuscript publication. Remember, even if the paper includes some path-breaking results, it may not get adequate recognition in the scientific community if it is published in an unsuitable journal.

Moreover, a paper that does not fit within the scope and objectives of a journal is often rejected by editors. Due to these reasons, journal selection is the most important step after manuscript preparation. In this article, we recommend five points for selecting an appropriate journal for manuscript publication.

1.  Take a look at the reference list to know the journals recommended by experts      

In an academic paper, authors usually cite a large number of references. The authors must take a look at the journals in which the cited articles are published. There may be instances wherein many papers have been published in the same journal. In such cases, authors must find out if the published papers have content that is related to their manuscript. If the answer is yes, then they may consider the journal suitable for publishing their manuscript.

2. Compare the scope and objective of the journal with the aim of the study

Authors must determine whether the aim of their study matches with the scope of a journal in their field. In general, a journal’s website will always provide the scope of the journal. The journal’s website also provides a significant list of criteria that must be satisfied by an article submitted to the journal.

Thus, authors can get a clear picture of whether their manuscript is suitable for publication in a specific journal. Let’s understand better with an example: the Journal of Molecular Biology only publishes articles that describe various topics of molecular biology, which includes gene expression, cell signaling, and DNA replication.

3. Cautiously consider SCImago Journal Rank and Journal Impact Factor

The journal impact factor is a metric that reflects the quality of a journal. This metric indicates the average number of citations received by published articles of a journal over a period of one year. The SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) is based on a specific algorithm that measures the ranking of a journal. Thus, the metric SJR can be considered to be a good alternative to the journal impact factor.

In general, the impact factor and SJR of a journal are published on the journal’s website. The quality of a journal can be assessed from these metrics. It is prestigious to publish in journals with high impact factor. Researchers find it easy to get recognition and funding when they have a list of publications in journals with high impact factor. Nevertheless, the rejection rate of these journals is very high, and the quality of a journal is not solely determined by its impact factor.

Some scientific publishers display on their website a list of journals and their impact factor. The most widely-known list is the Journal Citation Reports (JCR), which is published by Thomson Reuters. In general, a researcher has to be affiliated to an institution or university to access this report. The publisher Elsevier has come up with Scopus database, which freely provides the list of international journals with SCImago Journal Rank (SJR).

4. Consider the turnaround time of the academic journal

In general, the process of peer review governs the turnaround time of an academic journal. The peer review process directly determines the quality of published articles. The journal’s website will usually display the date of submission and the date of publication of an article. Based on this information, authors can fairly estimate the journal’s turnaround time.

Alternatively, researchers can determine the journal’s turnaround time by counting the number of articles published by the journal in a particular year. Academic journals may be published monthly, quarterly, or annually. However, the peer review process is accelerated by journals that use an online submission system for accepting manuscripts.

5. Consider the journal’s constraints

Before submitting their manuscript to a journal, authors must thoroughly read through the “instructions to authors” webpage. They can thus avoid situations where they have not complied with manuscript preparation guidelines of a journal. For example, most journals have set a wordcount limit for their articles. In case an article does not fulfill the wordcount limit, it is rejected outright by the journal’s editors.

Another cause of concern is the cost of publication. Researchers from developing countries do not really have the budget to fulfill the high cost of publishing in high impact journals. They should consider publishing in less-known journals that do not charge publication fees from authors.There are thousands of academic journals, so selecting the right journal for manuscript publication can be an intimidating task.

Harrisco is an academic editing company that offers “journal selection help” to authors. Remember that submission to a wrong journal not only attracts rejection but also wastes precious time and resources. It is not easy to publish in peer-reviewed academic journals, but Harrisco guides the authors through the complete publication process and ensures that their work gets published in high-quality journals.

Besides, Harrisco also offers academic editing, peer review, and translation services. Moreover, it regularly holds academic writing workshops for international researchers, thereby bridging the barrier between academia and publishing.











Tips for being a good peer reviewer

Peer review is an integral part of scholarly communications. It is a matter of pride for a researcher to receive an invitation of peer review. This process of peer review is carried out for every manuscript intended to be published in a journal or a book.

To perform the peer review of an article, journal editors only invite researchers who have done valuable and commendable work in their field of expertise. These distinguished academics are entrusted with the job of evaluating the manuscript of another researcher in the same field.

What is peer review in scholarly publishing?

Although it is honorable to be a peer reviewer, there are a lot of responsibilities associated with this position. The main goal of peer review is to determine whether the work of another researcher is good enough to be published in a scientific journal.

According to the editor of the journal Biochemia Medica, a peer reviewer is expected to objectively analyze the manuscript of another researcher.After thoroughly examining the manuscript, the peer reviewer has to provide constructive feedback to the author in the form of comments.

Depending upon the quality of research work, peer reviewers may consider it to be commendable enough for publication or they may reject a manuscript for poor presentation of scientific facts.

Tips for being a good peer reviewer of journal articles

1. Acceptance or rejection of invitation: A peer reviewer has to consider many factors while deciding whether to accept or reject the invitation sent by a journal editor. Among these factors, subject matter expertise is of prime importance.

A peer reviewer must first go through the abstract of the article to surmise his or her expertise in the given subject. Although journal editors extend their invitation to distinguished academics, there are chances of a researcher not being an expert in that particular topic. In such instances, a peer reviewer may reject the invitation of the journal.

Another important factor is time constraints. Researchers are normally busy people working for about 50 hours in a week. They have to carry out experiments, collaborate with other laboratories, and work on their own manuscripts.

However, they may spend some hours on weekends exploring the work of other researchers. In general, journal editors provide them about three weeks to complete a peer review. If a researcher is pressed for time, they should politely decline the invitation.

2. Academic misconduct: In a manuscript, researchers have to often cite the work of other related studies. In such cases, ESL authors find it hard to paraphrase the findings of previous research studies. They are often accused of plagiarism by journal editors.

Although the academic community may trust their peers, that is, colleagues, peer reviewers should always check the manuscript for plagiarism issues. They can thus detect academic misconduct of authors. Peer reviewers have the authority to reject a paper on issues of plagiarism.

Sometimes, authors may present exemplary results in their manuscript. However, a peer reviewer should double check such results by repeating the experiment in his or her laboratory and with the same equipment. In this way, peer reviewers can catch hold of authors presenting false data.

3. Scope and objective of the journal: A peer reviewer should always look for the scope and objective of the journal. The target audience of the journal should also be considered. If a researcher has received a journal editor’s invitation for the first time, the researcher should make it a point to read few of the published papers from that journal. Moreover, the author information presented on the journal’s website should also be considered.

4.Title of the article: A peer reviewer should thoroughly judge the suitability of the article’s title. The title should be presented in a lucid language and should not contain unnecessary jargon. It should clearly reflect the content of the article. Although a peer reviewer may suggest improvements in the title, the author should not be compelled to have a style that super-imposes the style of the reviewer.

5. Review the article’s content: The main objective of the peer review process is to determine the novelty factor of the results presented in the manuscript. A reviewer has to peruse through the document to understand whether the content adds something new to their area of expertise.

The view-points of the peer reviewers may be subjective, but they can certainly make the process more transparent. For this purpose, they must check whether the manuscript is concisely summarized in the abstract. Moreover, the references presented in the bibliography must be precise, reliable, and sufficient to support the claims made in the literature.

A peer reviewer should thoroughly check whether there are any omissions of citations in the reference list. They should then point out this error in their feedback to the author. A peer reviewer should also check whether the author has justified all the claims with adequate data and results. If not, the peer reviewer must suggest ways to justify all the arguments and claims.

The author has to provide sufficient data for the reproducibility of results. A peer reviewer is not required to point out English language errors or inconsistencies in citation styles. However, a peer reviewer must mention the need for copy-editing in their comments to the author.

6.Accept or Reject Decision: A peer reviewer will rarely come across a paper that does not need any suggestions for improvement. If there are some issues that need to be corrected in a paper, the peer reviewer has to give the following decision: “Accept with minor revisions”. This is a favorable outcome for most authors, and the job of the peer reviewer is completed.

If the author has presented novel results but has not provided sufficient evidence, a peer reviewer may suggest major rewriting of the paper. The decision of the peer reviewer would thus be “Accept with major revision.” Some journals may prefer calling the decision as “Revise and resubmit.” In such cases, the paper may be again submitted for a second round of peer review.

If the paper is poorly written and offers no novelty factor, the reviewer would not recommend it for publication. In such cases, the decision of the reviewer would be outright “Reject.” There are instances where the content of the paper does not match with the scope and objectives of the journal.

In such cases, the authors must carefully consider another journal to avoid instances of mismatch. To tackle cases of journal mismatch, peer reviewers must not “reject” the paper outright but suggest the names of appropriate peer reviewed journals



  • .








How ESL researchers can overcome the obstacles of English journal publishing

Today, most scientific research papers are authored by scientists who are not native speakers of English. For example, China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, France, and Germany are aggressively promoting scientific research in their countries. These researchers have to publish their work in international peer-reviewed English journals, because English is the lingua franca of scientific publishing. However, these researchers face a lot of difficulties while writing their manuscripts in English as they are not native speakers of English. Besides, they also face tremendous obstacles in publication process.

Obstacles that ESL researchers face in English journal publishing

Linguistic issues: Most scholars of ESL (English as second language) countries face problems related to English language. For example, the researchers who are non-native speakers of English tend to translate their manuscript from their native language into English. In this case, they always need the help of an English researcher to polish their manuscript. Thus, the process of writing a manuscript becomes more tedious, lengthy, and costly. All these efforts are done to tackle the rigorous demands of the peer-review process.

Plagiarism issue: In a manuscript, researchers have to often cite the work of previous studies. These citations involve summarizing the work of related studies. However, ESL researchers are often caught in plagiarism issues as they find it difficult to express these statements in their own words. Moreover, ESL researchers are not really familiar with the style guides of English journals.

Publication bias, scarcity of funding, and lack of international collaborations: Most ESL researchers do not have any connections with the key members of a journal. Most journal editors are biased while reviewing the work of ESL researchers. Moreover, researchers from developing countries do not have sufficient research funding; therefore, their work is often limited to research in their own countries. Sometimes, they may collaborate with neighboring countries. However, we rarely come across international collaborations in such studies.

Non-conducive environment in the sub-Saharan region of the African continent: most scholarly communications have to face tremendous challenges in the sub-Saharan region of the African continent: the environment is just not conducive to scholarly publications. Besides facing an economic crunch, they also have to overcome socio-political barriers and technological issues. Academic conferences are hardly held in this region. The problem of “brain-drain” is also acute in these countries.

Lack of internet access: Internet access is not possible in some African countries; therefore, it is difficult for researchers to access the work of related studies electronically. Moreover, this causes hassles in electronic submission of manuscripts. They also cannot access the electronic systems that provide a list of peer-reviewers. Owing to these difficulties, the articles published by African authors are very few in number.

Solutions to the obstacles faced by ESL researchers

Although ESL researchers face many obstacles in publishing their work, there is always a silver lining in dark clouds. In this section, we discuss all the efforts undertaken to overcome the linguistic barriers of ESL authors. Some of the steps used for improving their publication success are as follows:

1) Be persistent and calm: ESL researchers should not feel hopeless and dejected when their paper is rejected by a peer-reviewed English journal. The editors and reviewers certainly point out the flaws in their manuscript, and these flaws can be surely corrected. Thus, the quality of the rejected paper can be definitely improved.

2) Collaborate with senior researchers: Young researchers should always explore possibilities of a collaboration with researchers who are more experienced in their field of study. By developing contacts with senior researchers, they can certainly improve the quality of their manuscripts.

3) Familiarize with English journal styles: researchers must often read published papers of internationally acclaimed English journals. In this way, they would be able to emulate the rhetorical style of the journal. They should strive to paraphrase the work of previous studies in their own words. They would thus overcome the issue of plagiarism, an obstacle that is faced by most ESL researchers.

4) Comply with journal guidelines: before submitting their work to journals, researchers must read the guidelines of journal submission very carefully. They can thus prepare their manuscript in strict adherence to journal guidelines.

(5) English editing: The linguistic nuances of English language are seldom understood by ESL researchers. It is very important for them to get their work checked by a native English speaker before submitting it to an internationally acclaimed English journal. Although English editing services are offered by many companies all across the world, they are usually expensive and do not fit into the budget of ESL authors from poor countries. In such situations, they should seek the help of a colleague who is a native speaker of English.

(6) Identify the right journal: Some journals do not have any bias against authors who are not native speakers of English. Check out the websites of many English journals and identify the journal that is appropriate for your work. In this case, ESL researchers are advised to peruse through articles that are already published in these journals. With this strategy, ESL researchers can certainly improve their chances of getting published in English journals.

(7) Make your work more visible: Open Access journals are generally more visible as their articles can be freely read by everyone. Before submitting a paper to an open access journal, ESL researchers must try to make their research findings more visible to the masses. They can develop a website for their research team and use social media to propagate their work. They can also publish their research findings on authoritative blogs.