Before you start writing up your research, it’s important to have a good idea of which journal you want your paper to be published in.
When writing your paper you should keep the journal you are targeting in mind, to make sure the style, structure and audience are all a good fit. This helps the editor to see how your work matches with the aims and scope of the journal, and make it more likely to be accepted for publication. (Make sure you’ve read the aims and scope for your target journal before you start writing, it will tell you what types of article are accepted.)
You’ll find lots more advice on finding the right journal for your research in our section on choosing a journal.
You need to understand what the editor of your target journal will be looking for. By understanding the expectations of both the journal and the publisher, you can write your paper to meet those standards from the start.
Familiarizing yourself with your chosen journal’s instructions for authors (IFAs) is a key part of writing your paper and preparing to submit. The IFAs tell you exactly what the journal’s editorial board expects to see, including details of specific processes to follow to make sure there are no problems should your article be accepted.
The best way to determine how to structure your article is to study your target journal. The right manuscript structure can boost your chances of publishing success.
Look through the journal’s instructions for authors, but also take the time to read a selection of articles already published there to see how they are structured. This will help you to understand what the editor may be looking for.
You could also make use of an article template. Check the instructions for authors for your chosen journal to see if they accept templated articles, then download the article template and instructions.
Every article is unique, and the structure and the sections you need to include depends on the type of article you’re writing and the subject of study.
Here’s a helpful step by step guide to take you through the standard sections that many researchers need to include when writing a manuscript, in the order in which you would normally write them.
What else should I include when writing my paper?
For more tips and useful advice, we’ve put together a handy guide and video on what to consider when writing your journal article.
Writing a review article? A review article, also called a literature review, should give an overview of current thinking on the theme rather than presenting new results. Read our specific advice on writing a review article for more guidance.
Writing a manuscript in a more unusual format? There may be specific resources available to help you structure and write the article – for example, F1000Research offer detailed instructions for authors for some of their article types, like Data Notes and Registered Report Stage 1 Study Protocols. It’s always worth exploring the journal or platform homepage to see if there are dedicated guides and resources to help you prepare your manuscript.
Our manuscript layout guide will help you to format your manuscript to get it ready to submit to a Taylor & Francis journal.
Many journals also allow the use of templates to help you format your article. You can find out if this applies to your chosen journal by checking the instructions for authors, then visit our formatting and templates page to find the downloadable template files and their instructions.
Once you have the first complete draft of your paper, make sure it is in the best possible shape before submitting, by editing your manuscript properly. You need to know how to improve your research paper by taking a critical look at your manuscript.
When you’re confident in the final draft of your manuscript, it’s important to check it back against the Taylor & Francis Editorial Policies, and the individual processes and policies of your target journal found in the IFAs.
Guidance may vary by journal, so we’ve listed below a few key areas that you need to pay attention to:
Have you considered any optional enhancements for your paper?
Plain Language Summaries communicate the significance of scientific research evidence to a broad audience in jargon-free and clear language. Improve public engagement with a Plain Language Summary.
A graphical abstract is a useful tool that provides a concise, visual summary of the main conclusions of your article. It can be a great additional way to communicate your findings.
A video abstract lets you introduce readers to your article in your own words, telling others why they should read your research. They are an increasingly popular way of getting others to engage with published research.