Editors at top journals are looking for specific components that may not be the author’s focus point.
First, the editor will take a look at your title, then your abstract. If those two components are satisfying, the editor will send the article for the review process. The content of the paper is usually not checked by the editor and does not give the first impression.
Make your title appealing. It is recommended to give a long title, enough to understand the aim of your article. It should not be very long, or otherwise, the reader might lose interest before reaching your content.
Focus on making your abstract informative. The findings of your research should be highlighted rather than introducing the background of the study. Many of the reviewers gave me useful tips. Some recommend providing one statement describing the research idea. This is followed by a summary of the methodology. Then, state your findings, particularly the breakthrough of the research. End your abstract with a final statement to conclude the contribution of this paper.
Though not mandatory, a graphical abstract is a tool to summarize the idea in a diagram or a figure. Some journals obligate the authors to submit graphical abstracts with instructions. See the two example below (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1. A graphical abstract expresses the differences between one-step and two-step saccharification of biomass (Elgharbawy et al., 2016). © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
You can observe that the drawing is not fancy nor sophisticated. We simply used Adobe Photoshop basic tools and MS Powerpoint to generate the abstract.
Fig. 2. A graphical abstract to summarize the ionic liquids applications integrated with lipases (Elgharbawy et al., 2018). © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
We used MS Powerpoint to generate the Fig. 2.
You are writing your article to be read. Make it clear and straightforward. Audience from several backgrounds should be able to understand 25% of your article. Do not present your ideas in complicated vocabularies while the content is misleading (Gould, 2014).
During my Ph.D. journey, I have received several comments from the reviewers. They recommend focussing your energy on drawing your introduction carefully. This aims to show your “state-of-the-art” in this research. It simply means to give the best available. Provide the reader with a concise background, followed by the research gaps and what you offer in this context. This will assist you to find the direction to list your findings.
Do not use figures and tables to illustrate the same findings. You should be able to distinguish which should be better shown in figures/tables and which could be described in the text.
Remember that you have limited number of figures and tables. Some journals restrict you to 5-6 figures, so choose wisely.
This is a summary of your work. Provide the outcome of your research and the future outlook that might lead to possible investigations. Do not repeat the abstract.
Most of the writers miss one or two “in-text citation.” Carefully cross-check your references list with the text. Make sure to follow the reference style from your targeted journal.
Stay tuned. We have more for you.
- Elgharbawy, A. A., Riyadi, F. A., Alam, M. Z., & Moniruzzaman, M. (2018). Ionic liquids as a potential solvent for lipase-catalysed reactions: A review. Journal of Molecular Liquids, 251. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.molliq.2017.12.050
- Elgharbawy, A. A., Alam, M. Z., Moniruzzaman, M., & Goto, M. (2016). Ionic liquid pretreatment as emerging approaches for enhanced enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass. Biochemical Engineering Journal, 109, 252–267. http://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bej.2016.01.021
- Gould, Julie. “How to Get Published in High-Impact Journals: Big Research and Better Writing.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 3 Nov. 2014, blogs.nature.com/naturejobs/2014/11/03/how-to-get-published-in-high-impact-journals-big-research-and-better-writing/.