Friday, 2 March 2018

Steps in submitting a journal article

I recently submitted my very first journal article for peer review. It had taken me something like 300 hours to write the blasted thing in the first place, with 12 full rewrites. Once I finally got the go-ahead to give it a crack with the journal itself, I thought I was home and hosed. That my work was over. But no.

I then had to spend two days doing other administration things to get my article ready for the particular Sage Publications journal I was aiming at. This took two full work days, and, because it was so long and complicated, I decided to make a list of all the tasks for my future reference:
  • Set up an ORCID ID for myself. 
  • Get express permission in writing to use the models from all the people whose models I wanted to include using the form at Sage Publications Inc. (2015a). This was despite the use of these models falling under the Fair Use definition (see Ballard, 2011).
  • I wrote up a Conflict of Interest statement using the Sage Publications Ltd (2017c) form.
  • Checked that all items in my bibliographical references were actually referred to in the text. Ensured all in-text citations were included in the bibliography. Proof-read my bibliography.
  • Change the document formatting to:
    • Saved the front page containing my personal information separately using the Sage template (sage_journals_template_0.docx) as “Young - Work Ready Title Page”, and allocated as Title Page.
    • Saved the body of the document using the Sage template (sage_journals_template_0.docx) as “”, and allocated as Anonymous Main Document. Inserted Figure text [Figure 1 here] and [Figure 2 here].
    • Set up the diagrams as 300dpi jpgs. Saved both as Figure 1 Work Ready - Computer training for injury claimants, 2017.jpg and Figure 2 Work Ready - Computer training for injury claimants, 2017.jpg.
  • As I was doing all of the above, I found a few more article edits which needed doing, so took those in as well. 
  • Setting up a ScholarOne user ID which I then linked to my ORCID ID so I could submit my article to the journal online
  • Entering my data through ScholarOne. Downloaded the proof, which I reviewed four times and made more edits to, reuploading and re-reviewing once the uploads were complete.
  • Writing a cover letter, as follows:
    • Addressing the editor formally by name, and including my contact details. The editor's name is most likely available through the online submission process, should also be included in the cover letter.
    • Leading the cover letter with a paragraph detailing the manuscript and author names. Describe the manuscript type the submission is (research article, review, case report, etc.). 
    • In this first and second paragraphs, describing the study rationale/background, and the major findings (NB: if directly related, I needed to refer to any of my previously published work).
    • In the third paragraph, explaining why my manuscript would be a good fit with the journal, using the journal’s Aims & Scope statement, and explain why it would interest the journal’s readership. If it wasn't that close a fit, I needed to have done my best to show the links. We mustn't go generic and spout that our work is “novel” or “of interest to the field”.
    • Closing off with a paragraph detailing that:
      • My manuscript was original (ie, it was entirely my work)
      • No part of the manuscript had been published before, nor was any part of it under consideration for publication at another journal
      • There were no conflicts of interest to disclose (other than those in the disclosure form I had attached)
      •  And if I had been required to by the journal, I needed to provide list of potential reviewers (but this wasn't requested)
      • And if I had been required to by the journal, I needed to provide list of ny researchers who should NOT review my manuscript (but this wasn't requested either).
    • I read Mudrak's article as a double-check for my cover letter (2015).
  • Supplying a data access statement: “[X] test data was provided via a trusted business relationship and is not publicly available. Interested parties may contact the author who will request access from the New Zealand license holder.”
  • Got advice on data access from articles by Fellous-Sigrist (2015) and the University of Bath (n.d.).Submitted. Crikey!
Now, I don't know whether all the things I have done have actually been done correctly. It may well be that I still get a desk reject even after having worked through all this admin. If so, then I will write an update, to ensure that this process is as sound as I can make it.

And do you know, I STILL found a mistake after I submitted the flaming article :-(


  • Ballard, S. (2011). Give Credit Where Credit is Due: Avoiding Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement. Retrieved 20 December 2017 from
  • Fellous-Sigrist, M. (2015). What is a Data Access Statement and do I need one in my publication? Retrieved 20 December 2017 from
  • Mudrak, B. (2015). Writing a Journal Cover Letter [Free Template]. Retrieved 20 December 2017 from
  • Sage Publications Ltd (2017a). Manuscript Submission Guidelines. Retrieved 25 September 2017 from
  • Sage Publications Ltd (2017b). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved 25 September 2017 from
  • Sage Publications Ltd (2017c). Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form. Retrieved 20 December 2017 from
  • Sage Publications Inc. (2015a). SAGE Permission Request online-fillable form. Retrieved 20 December 2017 from Publications Inc. (2015b). SAGE Journals template. Retrieved 20 December 2017 from
  • Sage Publications (2015c). Copyright and Permissions. Retrieved 27 September 2017 from
  • Sage Publications (2010). Appendix 3: APA reference style. Retrieved 25 September 2017 from
  • University of Bath (n.d.). Writing a data access statement. Retrieved 20 December 2017 from


  1. Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful article.

    Many thanks for providing this info.


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