Publishing Your Paper in Today’s Market

Having recently endured the experience of selling a house, I realized just how much editors/reviewers/readers are like buyers….and it’s a buyer’s market.

  • Know your worth. Read the journals you want to publish in. Do your findings provide a similar level of advance?
  • Curb Appeal. The title is the first thing people read – make it compelling, active, interesting.
  • A Good Ad. Make sure the abstract is strong and engaging. Each sentence serves a purpose: background, question, approach, findings, conclusions, implications. Don’t oversell.
  • A Welcome Mat. Keep the Introduction short and relevant. Explicitly state the question or objective.
  • Tidy Up. Clear writing, intuitive logic, short paragraphs, subheadings, correct spelling and grammar – all of these things improve the readability of your paper, and put reviewers in a good mood.
  • Depersonalize. Don’t overuse ‘interestingly’, ‘remarkably’, ‘strikingly’ – these are completely subjective terms. Leave it up to the reader.
  • Highlight focal points. Do emphasize new knowledge gleaned from the data. End paragraphs with strong conclusions. Use the discussion to place your work in the context of the literature.
  • Organize “drawers”. Make sure the methods and figure legends are clear and easy-to-follow. Reviewers look everywhere, not just at the surface!
  • Declutter. Keep schematics simple, make sure figures/data are clean and unambiguous.
  • No unnecessary, expensive renovations. Only do experiments that strengthen or improve the take-home message – know when to draw the line.
  • Get feedback. Ensure your message appeals to someone other than you and your co-authors. Try to get the reader’s perspective.
  • Dissociate Yourself. Try to see your manuscript not as yours, but as a community effort. Be willing to accept suggestions, criticisms, concerns that improve the presentation and/or the science itself.
  • Hire a Professional. Distinguish yourself from the competition! Life Science Editors is an organization of former journal editors. We’ve each overseen the review process for hundreds of papers. At Life Science Editors, we’ve each worked with hundreds of scientists. We can transform your submissions – from manuscripts to grants to cover letters to point-by-point responses. We can work within your budget, and focus on advice rather than provide a full edit. Contact us for more information.