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.
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.