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Formatting your manuscript

It is important to format your manuscript according to your target journal’s requirements, which can be found in the Instructions for Authors. This will speed up the submission process because the journal’s editorial team will not have to send your manuscript back to you for formatting. It can also increase your chances of success because you will not omit materials that the journal might require.

TIP: Before writing a complete draft of your manuscript, it is a good idea to select an initial target journal. Read the formatting requirements for the journal on its website, then write your draft. This could save you a lot of time, as you won’t have to reformat an already-written manuscript after selecting the journal!

Review all guidelines and ensure that your manuscript meets them. Have you:

  • Obeyed all word and character limits (title, running title, abstract, manuscript text)?
  • Included all required sections?
  • Met language requirements (US or UK English)?
  • Supplied all requested contact information?
  • Inserted figures in the correct location (in text, end of manuscript, separate files)?
  • Correctly formatted references?
  • Used the correct file format for your images (.jpg, .png, .pdf, .ppt)?
  • Stated ANY conflicts of interest?
  • Included details of any required ethics and regulatory permissions?
  • Obtained consent from ALL authors?

TIP: Some journals provide templates to assist authors. Also look for template style files for use with your reference manager.

Click to download the free 'Writing a Journal Article: Cheat Sheet'