In general, you will need to submit several things to the journal when you submit your manuscript: a cover letter, the manuscript, and a signed copyright transfer form. Today electronic submission of manuscripts is increasingly common. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the process and the information that will be requested of you before going on-line to submit your article. Specific information on the cover letter and copyright transfer form follow.
The cover letter should be prepared following the standard format for a business letter. This means you should put your address in the upper corner, followed by the date, the full mailing address for the Editor to whom the letter is addressed should appear below this aligned with the left margin. The letter should open with a formal salutation: "Dear Dr. Editor:" The body of the cover letter should contain the following information:
It will also facilitate the review and publication of your manuscript if you provide the following information in your cover letter:
Click here to see a sample coverletter.
Ideally, you should identify individuals who share similar research interests and who have the technical expertise to provide a critical evaluation of your paper. If there are individuals whom you do not wish the journal to use in reviewing your paper, it is important to state this up front in the cover letter as well. At the beginning, you may find it challenging to identify suitable reviewers for your papers. A good place to begin is by listing those individuals who have published work on the same or similar problems using the same or similar systems and/or approaches and who have published their work in the journal to which you are submitting your manuscript for consideration of publication. Note that most journals publish a list of their reviewers once each year. Reviewers are often culled from the authors of papers published in that journal so this is also a good starting point for identifying possible reviewers. If you are completely stumped, don't feel that you must supply names. You can always leave the task of reviewer selection up to the editor who will handle your paper. However, remember that if you don't suggest reviewers and you are unhappy with the outcome, it will be harder to contest negative reviews after the fact.
As an original work "fixed" in a tangible medium of expression, your paper is a form of intellectual property for which your rights as an author automatically are protected by the U.S. Copyright Act. Normally when you submit a manuscript for consideration of publication, you must transfer ownership of the copyright to the journal's publisher. Most journals require authors to sign a copyright transfer form, usually available on the journal's website, at the time they submit their manuscript to the journal for review. As an author it is important that you understand your rights you are retaining and those that you are transferring to the journal. This is an important point because once you sign this form even though you are the paper's author, you may no longer be able to make and freely distribute copies of your article or portions of it without first obtaining permission from the publisher of the journal. In general, authors retain the right to reproduce their data, figures, etc. For example, the American Chemical Society's copyright form states:
Note: See "Intellectual Property" for more information and references to web resources on copyright.
Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics
City, State zipcode
Weekday, Month day, Year
Dr. Ed Etor, Editor
Name of Journal
City, State zipcode
Dear Dr. Etor:
Please find enclosed a manuscript entitled: "Title" which I am submitting for exclusive consideration of publication as an article in Name of Journal.
The paper demonstrates [significant finding and its significance]. As such this paper should be of interest to a broad readership including those interested in [what kinds of research, topics, techniques - should be those targeted by the journal].
Knowledgeable referees for this paper might include:
Thank you for your consideration of my work! Please address all correspondence concerning this manuscript to me at My University and feel free to correspond with me by e-mail (myemailaddress).
[list of all files attached such as manuscript, copyright form, etc.]