The Manuscript Cover Letter
Amy Clark, Associate Editor
Many journals require a cover letter to accompany your manuscript submission. Even when a journal states a cover letter is optional, it is a good idea to include one. Addressed to the journal Editor-in-Chief, the cover letter succinctly introduces your research and explains why it is relevant to the readership of the journal. The cover letter may also include statements and disclosures required by the journal as well as names and contact information of potential reviewers. The style and tone of the letter should be professional and collegial. The length should be no more than one page.
The template provided at the end of this article will help you efficiently complete the task of writing the cover letter. If your target journal’s Author Instructions include specifications for the cover letter, make sure you tailor your letter according to the journal’s requirements.
What should typically be included in a cover letter?
What else could be included in a cover letter and may be requested by the journal?
- 1. Addressed to the journal’s Editor by name
- 2. Title of the manuscript
- 3. Concise statement of the background, aim(s), and findings of the work
- 4. Brief explanation of why the manuscript is relevant to readers of the journal
- 5. For multi-authored papers, a statement that all the authors have approved the manuscript and agree to its submission to the journal
- 6. A declaration that none of the material has been published and is not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere
What should not be included in a cover letter?
- 1. A list of potential reviewers (names and contact information)
- 2. Information that will bolster your submission, such as novelty of the data and topicality
- 3. A declaration that there are no conflicts of interest or a statement of any conflict of interest or permissions information that may be relevant
- 4. Information about use of a preprint server and a link to the preprint, or if the work has been presented as part of conference proceedings
- 1. Biographies and publication history of the authors (unless requested by the journal)
- 2. Excessive details of results and methods (the Editor will read the paper to find this information)
- 3. Informal language and exclamation points or overly formal and obsequious language