You have written-up your results, have a great discussion, thought provoking hypothesis and a brilliant introduction. You have gone through endless drafts, bounced ideas off your co-authors and finalised your manuscript. But is your manuscript ready for submission yet? We have outlined a few additional things-to-do, which will ensure your manuscript is to a very high standard.
- Technical term usage: Have you used the right technical terms in English? Technical terms used by the scientific community in your native tongue might not be commonly used in English scientific literature. Ensure that the terms you have used are common; else the peer reviewer might not get the complete message!
- Technical term format: Certain technical terms might require italicisation; for example species names must be italicised.
- Gene vs. protein format: Another, easily overlooked, formatting issue is gene vs. protein names. In many cases genes and proteins share the same name making it important to distinguish them for clarity in your writing. The standard nomenclature is to use italics for genes and plain (non-italicised) writing for proteins. So think about whether you are talking about the gene or protein. In addition, some systems also require capitalisation depending on type of mutation (dominant/recessive). Ensure that you follow the guidelines of your specific research community.
- Measurement system consistency: The most widely used form of measurement is the SI. Some journals specify that all values are reported in the SI system. If not specified try to use units within this system or convert your measurements into these units. If this is not possible ensure all units used are within the same system of measurement.
- Unit consistency: In some cases the same measurement unit/symbol can be written in different formats, for example millilitres can be written as ml or mL. Ensure you follow the same format throughout.
- Define Abbreviations when they first appear: Have you defined your abbreviations when they first appear? This is a very common oversight since researchers are so used to using the shortened term in their laboratory. The first time a term appears in the manuscript ensure that you use the expanded form with the abbreviation in brackets. Once a term is defined in this way it does not need redefinition, so do not use the expanded form again. However, if you define it in your abstract, define it again when it first appears in the body of your manuscript.
- Ensure all figures are referred in the body: Are all your figures referred to in the main text? This can again be an oversight. Go through your entire text to make sure that you have referred to all figures.
- Check your bibliography: Have you included all articles cited in your bibliography? Or does your bibliography contain articles that are not referred to in the body? Do a cross-check
- Supplementary material: Most journals are flexible about supplementary material, but peer reviewers might find excessive supplementary material cumbersome to wade through! Ensure your supplementary material is concise and referred to in the main text.
We hope you find these tips useful! Let us know how it helped you!