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.