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Writing a Presubmission Inquiry: Essential Components and Template


Amy Clark, Senior Associate Editor

March 2022

Taking time to consider the most suitable journals to publish your research is vital. Presubmission planning will ensure you do not squander time submitting to inappropriate journals, and it will facilitate dissemination of your research to readers who will find it most beneficial. To that end, if you are unsure whether your research falls within a journal’s scope, consider writing to the journal to find out before undertaking the formal submission process.

What is a presubmission inquiry?

A presubmission inquiry to an academic journal is a query in the form of an email or online submission form that enables authors to gather editorial feedback about whether their manuscript is a good fit for the journal prior to submission. Because responses to presubmission inquiries are typically prompt (within 2–5 days), they can help authors designate manuscript preparation time for the journals and readership most suitable for their research.

Unlike formal manuscript submission, presubmission inquiries can be submitted to more than one journal at a time. Submitting a presubmission inquiry will not affect how the manuscript is treated during the formal submission process.

How do authors submit a presubmission inquiry?

Journals vary in their approach to presubmission inquiries; in fact, some journals do not accept them at all. Start by visiting the Information for Authors page on the website of the journal you are considering to find out that journal’s process. Many journals now provide an online form to fill out for presubmission inquiries. In these cases, you simply enter the relevant information about your manuscript in the required fields. Otherwise, journals will provide instructions for emailing the presubmission inquiry and indicate any mandatory items of information to include in the email.

As many journals may receive several presubmission inquiries a day, and as journal editors are extremely busy, you will want to ensure the editorial team can easily process your inquiry by keeping it succinct, including the essential and specific information relevant to assessment of the manuscript’s suitability. For assistance, refer to the checklists below and download the template provided by clicking the link at the end of this article.

Checklist of essential information to include:

• Corresponding author full name and contact information
• Article type (e.g., original research article, review, letter, case study)
• Title (can be a tentative title)
Abstract or summary including the background or motivation, problem statement, approach, results, and implications (no more than 250 words)
• Explanation of the significance of the research to the journal’s readers

What not to include (unless requested by the journal):

• The entire manuscript document
• Figure and table files
• Reference list
• Author resumes / CVs

In short: Visit the website of your journal of interest. If the journal provides an online form for a presubmission inquiry, use it. Otherwise, inquire via email addressed to the Editor-in-Chief using the email address provided for inquiries. To get started, download the handy template by clicking the link below.

Download the template

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