7. Before You Submit
Even if it is not required, a cover letter is an opportunity to highlight to the journal editor why your submitted work is appropriate for the journal, which aspects of the work are novel, and how the work is important to the field. A well-written cover letter can help to move your manuscript beyond the editor's initial triage by explaining why it is a good candidate for peer review.
Be sure to check the journal guidelines prior to submitting to determine whether there is a cover letter word limit, a specific format or file type for your letter, or if there is specific information required to be included. In general, a good cover letter should include the following information:
- Name of the journal
- Editor’s name
- Brief description of your study including why it is important and why you think the journal’s readership would be interested in it.
- Name and contact information for the corresponding author
You might also consider including:
- A statement indicating that your manuscript has not been previously published and is not currently under consideration elsewhere
- A conflict of interest disclosure statement
- Suggested or undesirable reviewers along with your justification for those requests
- Information about any closely related papers you have recently published or that are under consideration for publication
- Information about any prior review and revisions that have been made if your manuscript was previously considered for publication, either at this journal or elsewhere
Your cover letter should NOT include the following:
- Your abstract. Rather, explain in your own words why you are submitting to this specific journal. For example, describe the problem addressed in your research question and the significance of the work for this journal’s audience.
- Jargon or acronyms
- Too much detail. A cover letter should be no more than one page in length and should serve only as an introduction and brief overview of the work.
- Spelling or grammar errors. Be sure to proofread (or ask one of your co-authors to proofread) your letter prior to submission