When you submit your article to a journal, you often need to include a cover letter. This is a great opportunity to highlight to the journal editor what makes your research new and important. The cover letter should explain why your work is perfect for their journal and why it will be of interest to the journal’s readers.
When submitting a manuscript, a well-written cover letter can help your paper reach the next stage of the process – being sent out for peer review. So it’s worth spending time thinking about how to write a cover letter to the journal editor, to make sure it’s going to be effective.
To help you, we’ve put together a guide to explain how to write a cover letter for journal article submission, giving examples of what you should include and what you shouldn’t, and a sample cover letter template.
What should my cover letter include?
Before you start to write your cover letter, please check the instructions for authors (IFAs) of your chosen journal, as not all journals require a cover letter. You should also check the IFAs for any journal specific information to include in your cover letter. This may include a list of relevant articles written by you or your co-authors that have been or are currently being considered for publication in other journals.
Key points to include:
- Editor’s name (you can usually find this on the journal page on Taylor & Francis Online)
- Your manuscript’s title
- Name of the journal you are submitting to
- Statement that your paper has not been previously published and is not currently under consideration by another journal
- Brief description of the research you are reporting in your paper, why it is important, and why you think the readers of the journal would be interested in it
- Contact information for you and any co-authors
- Confirmation that you have no competing interests to disclose
Things to avoid:
- Don’t copy your abstract into your cover letter, instead explain in your own words the significance of the work, the problem that is being addressed, and why the manuscript belongs in the journal
- Don’t use too much jargon or too many acronyms, keep language straightforward and easy to read
- Avoid too much detail – keep your cover letter to a maximum of one page, as an introduction and brief overview
- Avoid any spelling and grammar errors and ensure your letter is thoroughly proofed before submitting.
Cover letter template
If you need further help to write a cover letter for a journal, you can download and use our sample standard cover letter template as a guide. You might find that the submission system for your chosen journal requires your cover letter to be submitted into a text box rather than as a separate document, but it is still a good idea to draft your cover letter first to make sure you have included everything. Always make sure to check the journal IFAs for any specific additional information to include in your cover letter.
*(this will download a Word document)
Ready to submit?
Download our submission checklist to make sure you’ve included everything you need to.
If you need more guidance, take a look at our other information and resources to help you make your submission.