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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

Writing an Impactful Journal Article: Resources and Tips

Before submitting work

When you are well along in your writing, consider the following points before submitting your manuscript for publication:.

  • See the "Before Publishing" section of the guide Enhancing Research Impact. A librarian can help review for you the various considerations that enter into selecting a journal in which to publish.
  • If you are submitting a journal article, select a title that conveys precisely what it concerns; given the glut of articles, you need to catch the attention of readers who will find it useful!
  • Consider publishing venues in which you can retain your rights as an author. For this topic, as well as how to negotiate your rights, review the guide Authors' Rights and Publishing.
  • Consider whether to post your journal article on a preprint server.  See below box.

In addition to the resources above, see these tips about "preparing your manuscript" from the "Publishing in the Sciences" library guide produced by the University of Michigan Library.

Publish a preprint?

Preprints (scroll down a bit) are an increasingly important form of publishing. A preprint is a publicly accessible version of your research. Preprint servers are a place to publish an initial version of your research prior to seeking publication.Examples of servers that contain preprints are arXiv and SSRN. and ResearchGate also enable you to post preprints of your work. Make sure to check whether the journal in which you want to publish accepts manuscripts that have been pre-published as a preprint. You may want to consider publishing chapters of your dissertation as preprints.


  • stake a claim for your results
  • obtain feedback from other researchers, who may want to cite it
  • allows for successive posting of versions, as your dissertation or thesis research evolves
  • give preliminary evidence of your productivity
  • may enable *networking* for purposes of getting a post-doc


  • check with your advisor about whether to publish your research in a preprint; for example, you may be doing research that is part of a team effort and your advisor may have plans to publish about it
  • consider whether your research is proprietary before making it public, at least immediately (on the other hand, public disclosure may help you stake a claim to a new innovation--check patent law about this)
  • if you want to publish your work in a certain journal, check whether posting a preprint disqualifies you from submitting an article to the journal.

When submitting

See the points about "Writing a cover letter" and "Suggesting peer revierws"  in the section about Submission  in University of Michigan Library guide about "Publishing in the Sciences". 

Acting on peer review reports

After you get the peer review report about your journal article, consider the points in the section "Responding to peer reviews" in the Peer Review section of the University of Michigan library guide "Publishing in the Sciences."  

If you are new to submitting journal articles, talk to someone with lots of experience for advice!