In preparing the manuscript for
presentation to the journal editor there is one golden rule:
READ THE INSTRUCTIONS
It doesn't matter how you might
think your paper would look best, you have to abide by the rules of the
journal. If you don't then you can expect your paper to be sent
straight back to you.
Key points to note are:
- How does the journal want the paper
Journals are increasingly asking for
papers to be sent in electronic form. This assists manuscript
management but, more importantly, it enables speedy delivery of the
manuscript to referees around the world. Don't worry about the view
that referees want to see paper copies because they are easier to read.
This many be true for some referees but an increasing number are happy to
edit directly on the screen. And for those who don't want to, they
can always print out their own hard copy.
- Have you formatted the paper according
to the guidelines for authors published by the journal?
There is nothing that infuriates editors
more than authors who can't be bothered to send their figures or tables in
the correct format, or who have simply pasted the references from another
source without noting the format in which they should be sent. So,
make sure you aren't one of that group!
Make sure the editor acknowledges receipt
of your manuscript and gives you a rough idea of how long the refereeing
process will take. Then, if you haven't heard back from the journal
in that time contact them to find out the status of the paper.