Formatting of Manuscripts–A Step Closer to Publication
Formatting is the presentation or appearance of your manuscript. It is also known as the layout or draft. A manuscript generally consist abundant text comprising the abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. A research paper may include endnotes and footnotes. While formatting a research paper, you must consider all the aforementioned sections as well as the fonts used and numbering of the page.
Why do we need to format our manuscripts?
Formatting our manuscripts is important because it makes the manuscript easier to assess. Ensuring that your research paper is correctly formatted reduces the publication time. Manuscripts not meeting the formatting guidelines of the target journal, particularly with regards to the title page, abstract, main text, and referencing style, are often rejected and sent back to the author even without the manuscript being reviewed, possibly weeks after the paper was submitted. New authors often make a mistake by not formatting or inaccurately formatting the research paper. This can cost both money and time of authors and possibly be the reason for the rejection of your manuscript. Several publishers reject research papers because they are badly formatted, even without making an effort to read the research paper. Before reading, the publishers reject an inaccurately formatted research paper because according to them, it reflects a poor attitude on the author’s part. If your manuscript is incorrectly prepared, it can indicate careless execution of the research and hence, make acceptance of the paper less possible, whereas accurately prepared manuscripts make their acceptance more likely. Therefore, formatting your manuscript as per the target journal is essential for easy publication.
The basic rules of formatting a manuscript:
Paper size: Use standard size of paper (8.5 × 11’’ in U.S)
Paper margin: One-inch margins on all sides
Font: 12-pt easily readable
Spacing: Use double spaces with no additional line spaces between paragraphs
Text Alignment: Align to the left side and let the right edge be uneven
Paragraph indentations: Half-inch
At the end of sentences: One space should be left after a period unless it is specified as two
Page numbering: Number each page as per your target journal guidelines
Title page; section headings; and tables and illustrations: These information may vary as per your target journal guidelines
Order of sections: Generally, the order can be as follows:
Before submitting a research paper, always refer to the submission guidelines of your target journal. Sometimes, they have their own submission guidelines that are expected to follow.
Spell check and then proofread your manuscript.