Tips for writing your first scientific literature review article BY Emily Crawford Emily Crawford often retreated to her apartment rooftop in San Francisco to write her review. Photo courtesy of Matthew Perry. When I undertook the task of writing a scientific literature review article last year, I had hoped that a Google search would reveal a handful of how-to pages thoughtfully created by veterans of this particular writing process.
September 29, Category: Scientific Writing Key Points Summary Always submit an accompanying cover letter with every manuscript. Make sure your cover letter includes any journal-required elements. Strong cover letters tell journal editors why they should publish your manuscript in their journals.
Cover letters should be succinct and focus on the importance and novelty of your findings, as well as how they relate to the scope of your target journal. After the hard work of perfecting your manuscript and selecting a target journal, one more task remains before submission: The cover letter is an important document that must do more than tell the editor that you are submitting your manuscript for consideration.
Strong cover letters not only introduce your manuscript — they offer an important opportunity to convince journal editors to consider your manuscript for publication.
Develop an Outline for the Cover Letter In addition to any information and statements required by your target journal, every cover letter should contain the following elements: An introduction stating the title of the manuscript and the journal to which you are submitting.
The question your research answers. Your major experimental results and overall findings. The most important conclusions that can be drawn from your research.
A statement that the manuscript has not been published and is not under consideration for publication in any other journal A statement that all authors approved the manuscript and its submission to the journal.
Any other details that will encourage the editor to send your manuscript for review. Write one or more sentences to address each of these points. You will revise and polish these sentences to complete your cover letter.
Write the Body of the Cover Letter Open your cover letter with a sentence or two explaining why you are writing, the title of your manuscript, and the title of the journal. The focus of the paragraph is to explain why your research was needed and clearly state the question your research answers.
Clearly and concisely explain your results, findings, and conclusions. To keep your cover letter concise, limit this explanation to one or two brief paragraphs. It may be helpful to review your abstract to stay focused on your most important results and conclusions. Your goal is to show the editor how your manuscript meets these criteria.
Such manuscripts will be highly referenced, which will increase the impact factor of the journal. Without exaggerating, explain the novelty, relevance, and interest of your findings to researchers who read that journal.
After describing your research and findings, include a paragraph with any journal-required statements. If the findings in the manuscript have been presented at a scientific meeting, include that information in this paragraph.
This paragraph should also include statements about exclusivity and author approval for submission.
All authors approved the manuscript and this submission. We appreciate your time and look forward to your response. Make sure your cover letter includes the following basic letter elements: Addressee name and mailing address.
Body of the letter. Cover letters are often submitted electronically in an e-mail message. E-mail cover letters may not contain more formal letter elements like the date and address block. Revise the Cover Letter Read through your cover letter several times to proofread and revise the text for clarity and brevity.
Remove any stray points or sentences that do not directly relate to the purpose, major results, and most important findings and conclusions of your study.
As you revise the cover letter, ask yourself if the impact, novelty, and relevance of your findings are clear.
Rewrite any sentences that are very long, do not make your point clearly, or are cluttered with too many details. Cover letters should not exceed one page unless absolutely necessary.
If you write a cover letter that is longer than one page, think carefully about how it can be shortened. As you revise the cover letter, proofread for the same basic grammar and construction issues you would look for when revising your manuscript. Remove any jargon and define all abbreviations at first use.
Proofread for spelling and grammar errors.American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Home Email to a Friend. Track Citations.
How I Review an Original Scientific Article with the Associate Editor before accepting if it turns out that I have already seen the article in a presubmission review or in review for another journal. I always obtain a relevant “in. Writing a critical review of a journal article can help to improve your research skills.
By assessing the work of others, you develop skills as a critical reader and become familiar with the types of evaluation criteria that will be applied to research in your ﬁeld and thus your own research.
The Journal welcomes the submission of manuscripts that meet the general criteria of significance and scientific excellence. The manuscript number will be mailed to . Why a Scientific Format?
The scientific format may seem confusing for the beginning science writer due to its rigid structure which is so different from writing in the humanities. One reason for using this format is that it is a means of efficiently communicating scientific findings to the broad community of scientists in a uniform manner.
When I undertook the task of writing a scientific literature review article last year, I had hoped that a Google search would reveal a handful of how-to pages thoughtfully created by .
One of the most painful things that can happen is to spend days reading and writing about a topic only to notice later that there’s a section of another review article that explores the same area, references the same set of papers and comes to the same conclusions.
4. Make yourself comfortable. This may seem obvious, but I think it’s important.