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How to Write a Cover Letter When Submitting Your Research Paper

Albert Chan on July 3, 2018 at 12:00 am
      

When it comes to submitting research papers, writing a cover letter can be rather daunting for young researchers. On the other hand, senior researchers might not pay as much attention to writing a cover letter. However, writing a good cover letter is important because it will tell the journal editors why they should consider your article. When the editors screen your paper at the preliminary review stage, they need to have enough information to assess the scope of the study and potential impact of the results. It will also help them decide whether the manuscript will require any specific experts during the peer review process. Thus, journals would usually welcome the addition of a brief summary of your research. Here's a list of "Do's" and "Don'ts" when writing a cover letter:

Do

  • Write the cover letter with your institution’s letterhead to demonstrate professionalism and reliability.
  • Personalise the cover letter by addressing the journal’s editor by their name.
  • State the article type of your manuscript at the beginning of your cover letter (original research article, methodology, case report, etc.)
  • Provide the full details of all the authors, including email address and phone number, in your cover letter.
  • Explain briefly the research goals and results in one or two sentences.
  • Explain the importance of your study: what will the paper’s contribution to the literature be? What impact will the paper have in the research field?
  • Tell the editor why you think the study is best suited for the journal, and why the journal’s readers will be interested in the study.
  • Declare that the manuscript (in whole or in part) has not been submitted or published in other journals, all authors have read and agreed to the content of the manuscript, you have complied with all ethical and reporting guidelines and have received ethical approval from the relevant committee(s).
  • Disclose all potential conflicts of interest (if any).
  • Thank the editor for taking the time to read your cover letter and consider your paper for submission.
  • Keep the content of the cover letter brief, concise and courteous.

Don’t

  • Mention any published literature without citation.
  • Provide any personal information which is unrelated to the submission.
  • Mention any previous publication records unless it is related to this research.
  • Mention any potential professional benefits you may gain from the publication of this work.
  • Provide research information that can be found in the paper.
  • Copy and paste the abstract and paper content in the cover letter.
  • Use complex sentence structures.
  • Glorify your past research papers or any of your academic prestige in the cover letter.

 

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