Q: Why is it important to read the journal instructions carefully?
Diving straight in, for too many reasons.
Firstly, to well understand the journal’s aims and scope. This is basically an overview of the focus and ethos of the journal and therefore the kinds of articles it publishes. Too many authors don’t read this section, or just glance through it, and are later surprised/disappointed when the journal either desk-rejects their manuscript or suggests submitting to a sibling/partner journal.
Then, to submit according to the journal’s formatting and style guidelines. Journals insist on formatting and style guidelines because they have a certain look and feel as well as readership, and they would wish to keep engaging this audience by continually presenting their content in that style and format.
But most importantly, for yourself. Imagine not reading the instructions carefully, then having your manuscript rejected for this reason, and then having to start the selection and submission process with another journal. Precious time is wasted in doing this, which could be utilized better, be it to start your next project, begin your next paper, promote your previously published paper, or simply take a breather. :)
For more, you may refer to the following articles:
- Guiding right: Our top 10 questions and answers on submission guidelines in 2020
- What should I adhere to, the page limit or the word limit?
- What are my paper's chances of getting accepted by another journal after the editor suggested submitting elsewhere?
And for help with submitting as per journals’ instructions, it may interest you to know about our related brand, R Pubsure, a manuscript assessment tool that performs various checks (language, structure, and authorship, among others) to help make your manuscript submission-ready. The goal of Pubsure, as you can gauge, is to minimize or even avoid desk rejection. You may learn more about Pubsure here and view a sample assessment report here.
Hope that helps. Here’s to carefully reading journal instructions and then to making successful submissions!