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Knowing how to publish a journal article, and knowing where proofreading and editing fit into the process, is a key skill for a professional researcher. Proofreading and editing services can save you substantial amounts of time throughout the process of manuscript drafting, formatting, peer-review, and eventual publication. 

How do you get a journal article published? At the very beginning, selecting a specific journal is essential. This is because each journal, whether it is an open-access or traditional journal, will have its own requirements, as well as unique author guidelines relating to document formatting and referencing. When you are choosing your target journal, focusing on one with a narrow scope is often worthwhile. For example, Elsevier’s journal Marine Policy is ideally suited for researchers and analysts addressing topics in ocean policy studies.

Image: Open-access or traditional journal publishing is an important decision to make

Having an experienced professional to hand who can provide proofreading services throughout the publication process is often a definitive advantage. One of the reasons for this is because the proofreader or editor, as a specialist in seeing journal articles through to publication, can guide you and improve your manuscript, consistent with journal guidelines. Although most articles need to receive further edits after peer-review (typically due to technical or content-related issues), ensuring your document is in the optimal shape before you submit it the first time round is pivotal.

When you submit your journal article for publication, proofreading and editing your cover letter can also play a key role in making a positive first impression. In your cover letter, you should include a brief, memorable, and descriptive title for your research article; an outline of your research and its contribution (a description even shorter than your article’s abstract); and some context for your upcoming publication (e.g., how your research will align with the journal, its academic history, and its trajectory). There is a lot of information to include, but doing so concisely – that is, without being too verbose – is something a proofreader or editor can assist you with.

Image: It is worth writing a strong cover letter for a journal article submission

One of the most important roles the proofreader or editor can play in publishing your journal article is in helping you to revise and resubmit your work. It is important to recognise that it is rare for a journal article to be published with no changes after peer-review. This is why the journal you submit your work with will always respond with a list of required edits and changes before publication.If you share the technical feedback you received with a proofreader or editor, they can help you to address the list of suggested revisions and criticisms. Although this may pain you slightly if you have already dedicated lots of effort to your initial paper, getting back to work with an experienced editor can pave a clear road to publication. 

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