APA Style Guidelines

APA Style is American Psychological Association and is one of the most widely used Styles in the Academic World. The author’s last name and the year of publication are used in the APA in-text citation form, for example: (Canon, 2007).

What are the Mistakes made in APA Style?

The following are some of the most common mistakes people make when submitting a manuscript for publication.

Page Numbers – The page numbers and the brief title, commonly known as the running head, are either missing or incorrectly formatted in most research papers.

Abstract – Some Manuscripts fail to properly style the ‘Abstract’ part, while others fail to even mention this area in their study. The title of the abstract is bold or italicized.

Keywords– The abstract part does not include a list of keywords.

Headings – The majority of the papers contained inaccurate or improper headings that were either at the incorrect level or poorly formatted.

In-text Citation formatting – Spelling abnormalities, incorrect use of ‘et al.,’ erroneous use of commas and ampersands, and jumbled placement of several citations in a single parenthesis are the most typical problems detected in in-text citations. There are references in the document that aren’t on the reference list, or references on the reference list that are never referenced in the paper.

Quotations – Direct quotations without page numbers are provided.

References – Not giving References will lead to Plagiarism.

Single Spacing is incorrect. Not Indenting after the 1st line.  Indenting the 1st line.  Not including the right number of Authors.

How to avoid mistakes in APA Style?

The running head, or abbreviated title, appears in the header of all numbered pages.

The first impression of your paper is the ‘abstract.’ It is strongly recommended that you include an abstract as much as feasible. The abstract is placed on a separate page, with the heading centered and formatted in the same manner as the remainder of the material.

Search engines use keywords to find the information that the reader is looking for. The abstract is followed by a list of keywords formatted according to the APA style guide.

In APA style, headings can be difficult to format. The title of a research article is much easier to format than the heading of a literature review piece, which is a little more difficult.

In-text citations must be correct and reliable. Citations should have the same name and year of publication throughout the work. Multiple citations within a single parenthesis should be organized alphabetically.

It is recommended that page numbers be provided for direct quotation since this will save time and energy spent searching for the page from which the quotation was obtained.

All APA citations should be Double Spaced. All lines after the 1st should be indented. The first line should not be indented.

Conclusion

Even though the fact that the APA essay format is demanding and requires intense attention to detail, it becomes much simpler once you learn each feature separately and follow all of the Submission Guidelines steps.

Roles & Responsibilities of Peer-Reviewers

Peer-Review Process

Peer Review is an influential process of academic journal publication. All Manuscripts are Peer Reviewed by the subject experts.

Before a scholarly work is published or approved, it is reviewed by a group of experts in the same field to ensure that it meets the appropriate criteria.

Stages of Peer-Review

Did you know the Process of Peer-Review?

Initial Check

It is done by the Editor who reads & approves the manuscript for Peer Review Process. The manuscript may be rejected at this level.

Editor-in-chief Review

Experts evaluate the manuscript and see if the scope of the journal is well defined and interesting.

Assigned to Editor With Subject Expertise

Experts who have subject knowledge related to the manuscript evaluate the manuscript.

Peers / Referees

The experts who check the manuscripts are known as Peers or Referees. They check the following things:

  • Quality & Significance of the Manuscript
  • About the Research topic – if it is Interesting and Important
  • Sound Methodology
  • Arriving at Logical Conclusions
  • Checking the Findings are original

Review Return

The Peers give a high-quality review after evaluation of the manuscript.

Editor’s Final Decision

Editors decide if the manuscript is worthy of publishing or not. If approved, they may recommend revisions to the Authors.

Responsibilities of Journal Editors 

Have you ever wondered what Journal Editors do in Peer-Review?

Roles towards Authors 

  • Providing constructive feedback promptly on the scholarly merits and the scientific value of the work.
  • Providing specific suggestions for improvement and stating the details of the journal in a Cover Letter.
  • Maintaining the confidentiality of the review process.

Roles towards Editors

  • Informing the editor immediately if unable to review.
  • Following the editor’s comments and creating an abstract if required.
  • Determining scientific merit, originality, importance & clarity of the hypothesis and scope of the work and indicating ways to improve it.
  • Providing Critical Assessment – Strength & Weakness of Introduction, Methodology, Data Analysis, Results, Discussion & Conclusion.
  • Checking the formatting of the Manuscript and instructing if it is not in proper order.
  • Looking into Internal Consistency of the Manuscript, Writing Style & Figure/ Table Presentation.
  • Checking the Appropriateness of References, Title, Abstracts, and Conclusions.
  • Ensuring that the manuscript adheres to the journal’s guidelines.

Roles towards Readers

  • Assuring that the methodology and results of the review are easily accessible to the readers.
  • Citing sources to assist readers in gathering knowledge about the journal.

Conclusion

The Editor’s decision is crucial in the publication of a journal. The Author, Editor, and Readers are all subjected to peer review. Academic journals rely heavily on peer review for publication.

To conclude, the purpose of Peer Reviewers is to

  • Select the manuscript for the journal
  • Determine the Originality of the manuscript
  • Improve the quality of the published paper
  • Ensures previous work is acknowledged
  • Determine the importance of findings

The best Peer Reviewers tend to view themselves as Mentors rather than Critics.

Professional help for a Rejected Manuscript

Getting a journal rejection is never easy. Even though rejections from editors or requests for revision from peer review is a very common happening in the publishing world, it is always a challenge for an author to rework their manuscript for re-submission.

This is where a professional editor and proofreader can help immensely. In today’s world of hectic professional schedules, it is often not feasible for academicians to keep reworking on their manuscripts and more and more authors are now engaging professional services for the same. Even though engaging such professionals obviously involves monetary expenses, there are some key factors why they offer real value for money.

Streamlining of revisions: A rejected manuscript with revisions suggested by peer-review can often be a complex document to work on. It requires proper mapping of the changes required and tracking of the progress of revision. This is where a professional editor can be invaluable. Editors are experts in keeping track of changes/edits and streamlining revision processes. A professional editor can list all the issues, demarcate which areas will require your intervention and which all can be handled by the editor or a proofreader, and help streamline the entire revision process.

Language correction: more often than not, journals reject manuscripts for language-related problems. In most cases, the problems are basic grammatical errors or mistakes in spelling and punctuation or something more advanced like awkward or confusing phrases, failure to observe consistency, improper referencing leading to confusion over terminologies used, etc. A more overarching challenge is the inability of the author to clearly communicate their message within the strict limitations of word count, formatting structure, etc. A professional proofreader can help ease much of these pains. They also bring a critical third person’s perspective of a reader and are better able to identify the problem areas than the author, who is often too deeply engrained to notice such issues.

Technicalities: many a time an author gets lost in the complexities of formatting requirements. Journals have very specific instructions about formatting. This ranges from alignment, referencing syntax, how to label or edit images and graphs, referencing and citation formats, etc. All these technicalities often prove to be confusing for an author whose primary focus is obviously the main content. A professional editor or proofreader on the other hand is more attuned to handle such technical details.

Subject specialization: Often peer-reviews ask for certain technical revisions that require subject specialization. This in turn means that authors require help or advice from their peers or subject experts on these matters. Today, professional editing services offer subject experts advice as well. These experts have the added advantage of having worked on manuscript submission with most journals and therefore have a much clearer understanding of what the editors or reviewers require. They also serve as perfect proxies for potential readers of the article and can offer better insights on the manuscript than most.

A professional editor or proofreader services offer end to end services at every stage of a publication process and are a potent tool for an author.

HELPFUL TIPS ON FORMATTINGJOURNAL ARTICLES BY OBSERVING THE GUIDELINES

Submitting a manuscript for journal publication requires an author to strictly follow guidelines suggested by the journals. Failing to follow guidelines leads to the rejection of the manuscript, which is obviously undesirable for any author. Therefore, it is imperative that these formatting guidelines are followed very carefully before submitting an article.

Here are some key pointers to be aware of while formatting a manuscript as per journal guidelines.

The structure of the manuscript: Check carefully the different sections and structure required by the journal for submission. Journals often have specific instructions for Cover page, Excerpts, Executive summary, Abstract, Appendix, References, etc. Not all journals ask for all such sections. For instance, one journal may request for a short abstract, while others may ask for a bit longer executive summary. It is important to follow these instructions as per requirements. Usually, all journals require a cover letter along with the submission as well. Follow instructions on the format for a cover letter if specified.

Referencing: A critical component of any academic article is its references. Strictly follow referencing guidelines of a journal as prescribed in the guidelines. Some journals may request inline referencing, references in footnotes, while others may request for end text references. Moreover, the format of referencing is also critical. There are some general conventions of referencing and most authors are well versed in them. However, it is imperative that you follow the one specified by the journal for its manuscripts.

Formatting: every journal has specific instructions for formatting. Often, journals have different formatting requirements for different stages of the manuscript. For instance. Some journals may request double spacing for the manuscript they require for peer review, while the final print document may be single spacing. Font, font size, spacing, paragraph specifications are some of the key focus areas for formatting.

Diagrams and tables: diagrams and tables are an integral part of a scientific publication, and often manuscripts have a plethora of them. Check the title requirement, size requirement, formatting details for charts, etc for diagrams. A common mistake often done by authors is about the colours used in their diagrams and charts. If the journal does not support coloured printing, your charts and diagrams have to design in black and grey monochrome. You not only have to careful to change the colour tone as per requirements but also ensure the charts and diagrams are distinctive and easy to read in those colour tones.

Word Count: The importance of word count needs to be reiterated. Every section of the manuscript may have word counts and need to be adhered to. If the journal asks for an abstract of 250 words; you need to draft an abstract within 250 words. The same applies for every section, chapter, etc. as may be specified.

Most importantly, read the instructions for each journal carefully. Authors often rehash one submission for another journal; so be careful not to mix up the instructions. The same article for different journals needs to be formatted from scratch to meets each journal’s specific requirements.

HOW TO WRITE A RESEARCH PAPER A PERFECT FIT FOR A JOURNAL

Getting a research paper published in a journal is difficult given the high level of competition. There are numerous scholarly authors producing excellent research papers and good journals are flooded with manuscripts from which they can pick and choose. The editors of reputed journals are always keen to improve upon the impact factor of their journals and therefore pick and choose from applications only those articles that they feel add value to their journals. For a successful journal publication, as an author, you have to offer manuscripts that will appeal to the publisher and at the same time showcase your expertise as a researcher.

Here are some tips on how best to write a research paper fit for a journal publication

Focus on the right journal: There are numerous journals in any specific field of study and all such journals try to differentiate themselves from each other in order to gain relevance and higher impact factor. Identify the differentiating factor each journal tries to develop, the type of articles or publications they tend to give preferences to, the topics they are presently focusing on, and so forth.

It is advised to form a list of journals based on background research and sort them in terms of not only preference (in terms of impact factor) but also relevance to your work. One way to develop it is by reading articles published by these journals, checking how many of your references are from these journals, etc.

Work smart: You have to offer a journal publisher not only good content but also something that adds value to their publication. Check recent issues for topics similar to your research area.; Have they published something too similar and may perhaps reject your work as being repetitive? Or perhaps there is a series of publications as part of a vibrant academic discourse taking place in a journal in which you can add some value?

Stick to basic: Every journal has its own specifications for formatting, article style, charts, and data-work, referencing, etc. it is imperative that you do thorough background work to ensure your research paper meets all these criteria. Remember, publishers are first to reject any article that does not meet their formatting guidelines and you should not give them such an excuse to reject your article.

Introduce yourself: Many authors underplay the importance of a good cover letter. The role of your cover letter is to convince an editor that your research work is worth publishing in their journal. Always refer to the scope and aim of the journal and why you think your article is a good fit for the journal. Refer to the journal audience or letter to editors that you might have come across on the topic to cite greater relevance if you can. This also reflects your level of engagement with the journal as an academician.

Remember, it is always better to have some back-up journal as well and a similar exercise needs to be done separately for that publisher to increase chances of publication.

Professional PROOFREADERS for Glittery Manuscript

Samira, a Ph.D. student in the final years faced hard times due to manuscript rejection. It ruined her mental piece owning to delay in her yearlong efforts getting published. Subsequently, postponed her professional accomplishments. In spite of being innovative and resourceful, the deficit in scientific language content was the prime reason for manuscript rejection. This is a common plight prevailing among researchers and scientists.

How to revise the rejected article?

There are many ways to deal with refused pieces of work. Taking the guidance of colleagues or mentors can help up to some extent or you can also improvise the manuscript based on your understanding and expertise. However, both ways have their own shortfalls owing to needed clarity and command on technical aspects of writing.

In the said constraints, pertaining to lack of time or deficit in knowledge of dos and don’ts of professional writing, PROOFREADERS can render assistance. The overall chance of acceptance increases with this service.

  • The author can take assistance to restructure a part or entire article based upon his requirement and time bracket.
  • Sometimes, the author may not be a native English speaker or may lack command on the grammatically correct and scientific appropriate terminology and may procure assistance for the same.
  • The ability to understand the journal guidelines, starting from the requisite format of the article, until uploading consent or copyright undertakings can be a tedious job. Thereby, demanding a scan of minute details in a sequential and set method can be easily executed by a professional proofreader.

Conclusion: It won’t be wrong to say that, an efficient professional proofreader is a “foster author to give final touchup to the hard achieved scientific creation”.

Publication Cycle: An Overview

Every manuscript submitted to a journal has to progress through the complete publication cycle before it finally gets published. The publication cycle takes genesis with the research idea. The researchers take this idea to a new horizon by conducting experiments, taking into account the previous publications that deal with similar topic. The research draft is then submitted to a journal that is followed by the assessment, reviewing, and further production processing before being published. Let’s discuss the different phases in detail so that we can get a bird’s eye view of the entire publication process.

How publication cycle works?

After the manuscript is submitted, it is first screened by the Editor-in-chief; if rejected, the paper is returned to the author, and if accepted, it goes to the next level. Here, the paper is checked for plagiarism, and conformity to the journal guidelines. Once the manuscript clears this technical round it is then sent for review by a panel of reviewers, who are subject experts. Here, the reviewers either reject the paper for lack of novelty or other reasons that might be study specific or they could either accept the paper or suggest revisions before acceptance. The paper with revisions is sent to the Editor-in-chief for approval, before being sent for a second and final round of review. At times, the paper gets rejected even after coming this far. If the paper is accepted it then goes through the in-house publication process, before finally getting published.

Some journals forego this time taking and tedious process and instead publish all manuscripts after checking it for novelty, relevance to the field of study and compliance to the style guide of the journal. This ensures a shorter review time and faster publication.

How long can a publication cycle run?

The publication cycle time of a journal cannot be assessed unless and until it is specified by the journal. Hence, it is difficult to know which journals have a fast publication cycle. Some journals take months before they give their first decision whereas some let their first decision known in a couple of weeks. Generally, the time gap between submission and first decision varies between 2-3 weeks.

What if the publication cycle is slow-moving?

The slow decision process becomes mentally tasking for researchers, as they spent many anxious months and even years before they actually get to know if their manuscript has been published or not. If their manuscript does not get published they have to again go through the same process of preparing their manuscript according to the guidelines of a new journal, submit it there and again wait for its decision. This cycle sometimes goes on for a few years before the manuscript gets published. In this process sometimes it so happens that the relevance of the paper or the research gets outdated by the time it is accepted for publication, thereby making the efforts of the researcher futile.

It is for these reasons that the researchers earnestly want a fast publication cycle, where they do not have to wait for so long to get a decision on their manuscript. Also, the publication houses are trying their best to formulate ways to make the publication process faster so that good and relevant researches do not become irrelevant. However, the authors need to be aware of the millions of predatory journals luring them for publishing within a very short duration. The authors are the best person to judge their options and choose the one that helps their research best.

Take a step closer to publication by formatting your manuscript

puzzled with how to for your manuscript?

A properly formatted manuscript is likely to be preferred by a journal editor compared to an unorganized alternate version. Hence, instead of submitting a manuscript with your data and text in a disorderly stack, it is crucial to format your manuscript according to the guidelines of the targeted journal before submission.

You should ensure that your manuscript is properly formatted to reduce the publication time. On the other hand, an unorganized manuscript is often returned by the journal house weeks after submission with instructions to adhere to the formatting guidelines. That entails lost time in the publication process.

The following are some basic rules of formatting:

  • Page size: Use 8½ x 11-inch size of normal sheet.
  • Page margin: Keep all margins within 1 to 1½ inch. Avoid using end-of-the-line hyphenation or justified margins.
  • Spacing: Use single or double spacing uniformly for the entire manuscript.
  • Font: Use 12-point font size of Times New Roman or Arial. Try to avoid fancy fonts.
  • Page numbering: Number each page of the manuscript according to the guidelines given by the target journal.
  • Manuscript sections: Divide your manuscript into clear sections such as title page, main text, references, appendices, footnotes, acknowledgements, tables, figures, and figure legends.

format your manuscript by your own

In addition, take care of the following extra minutes:

  • On the title page, provide your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address of the corresponding author. It is a good practice to mention the word count of the abstract and main text, and the number of figures and tables.
  • Check whether the journal guidelines call for a blinded manuscript for the peer review process. If yes, ensure that your manuscript is prepared in a way that does not give away the authors’ identity.
  • Maintain a sequential pattern of headings and sub-headings. Mixed-up sections can confuse editors and peer reviewers.
  • Follow the house style of the journal for both in-text and end-text references.
  • Journals often ask for signed copyright transfer agreements, conflict-of-interest forms, patient consent forms, funding information, and ethical approval related data. Cross-check the forms before submission. Non-complying manuscripts can be returned for corrections months after the submission, which results in unnecessary delay in publication.

Manuscript formatting is quick and easy. If you conform to the aforementioned details, you can prepare an attractively formatted manuscript that is likely to be welcomed by the journal editors. If you face any obstacles in the formatting process, seek the services of professional manuscript editors who can tailor the format of your manuscript to fit perfectly with the target journal’s guidelines.

Formatting in MLA Style

Formatting in MLA style is the most widely used style of formatting for writing papers and citing sources in the liberal arts and humanities. This all-inclusive guideline will make you familiar with the composition of an MLA paper and its general formatting style. Formatting in MLA style can be very useful when most of the sources in the manuscript are from published journals and other regularly published works.

The basic rules provided in the ‘Formatting in MLA Style’ article will guide you for appropriately formatting various research papers and academic publications. Initially, it might seem a bit difficult in understanding the technique of formatting in MLA style. However, with gradual use, you will become more familiar with this style and its techniques. Some basic guidelines of formatting in MLA style are discussed below.

Rules for Formatting in MLA Style

General Rules

  • MLA style of formatting suggests using such type of fonts, in which the regular and italics type styles should contrast adequately so that they are easily identifiable from each other.
  • Use a clear and readable font, namely Times New Roman, Arial, etc. Font size should be 12 point.
  • The whole document should be double-spaced.
  • Use only one space after periods or other punctuation marks.
  • Margins of the document should be set to one inch on all sides.
  • First line of paragraphs should be indented one and a half-inch from the left margin. MLA suggests using the Tab key rather than using the Space Bar five times.
  • Create a header one and a half inch from the top of the page and flush with the right margin. This header should include the page numbers provided in the upper right-hand corner. In some cases, page number on the first page is omitted.
  • Endnotes should be included on a separate page before the Works Cited page. This section should be titled as ‘Notes’ and be centre aligned.

First Page Formatting

  • Title page for the document should be included if only particularly requested.
  • In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, provide your full name, your instructor’s full name, the course, and the date.
  • Ensure that the whole document is double-spaced.
  • The title should be centred. It should not be underlined, italicised, or placed in quotation marks. The title should be written in the Title Case using standard capitalisation and not in all capital letters.
  • Double space should be used between the title and the first line of the text.
  • Create a header in the upper right-hand corner. This header should include your last name, followed by a space and the page number.
  • All pages should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.). In some cases, the last name and page number on the first page is avoided.

Headings

  • 1st level heading should be in bold and left aligned.
  • 2nd level heading should be in italics and left aligned.
  • 3rd level heading should be in bold and centre aligned.
  • 4th level heading should be in italics and centre aligned.
  • 5th level heading should be underlined and flushed left.

The basic guidelines offered in this article will provide you with an outline for formatting in MLA style the research papers and other academic publications. Every characteristic of MLA style guide has much more thorough specifications, which will be discussed elaborately in our subsequent posts.