A Day Before Submission! Preparing an Article for Journal Publication

Avoid disk rejection and increase the chances of publications

Afzal Badshah, PhD
Age of Awareness
Published in
7 min readFeb 21, 2022


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What are the key criteria that the article must meet before being submitted to the journal? Let’s go over all of these key parameters that must be reviewed prior to submission.

The concept is novel and deserves to be published

The idea is the core of any study. Before sending the paper for review, the editorial team assesses the concept to see if is it novel. If they believe the paper has already been published with similar ideas, they will reject it and not send it for review. Therefore, the author must concentrate and confirm through research that the idea is novel, well-proven, and timely. Scholars who begin working on non-novel ideas face numerous obstacles in getting their work published due to editorial desk rejection.

The idea is the core of study and must be novel and deserve for publication.

The study should be scientifically proved

The study should not be merely a textual summary. This must address somethings challenges which are proved with mathematical equations, algorithms (in case of technical background) and statistics etc. In the case of surveys or other quantitative studies, this must be proved with statistics.

Experimentation results or other statistics must be used to back up the outcomes.

The study has a problem with a perfect solution

The study must have a problem that is clearly mentioned in the abstract and introduction. Writing an introduction is not easy as it seems. It is difficult to write it. The problem and the perfect solution must be included for that. The solution must be comparatively better than the existing solutions.

The problem, as well as the ideal solution, must be clearly specified in the abstract and introduction.

The paper is well structured and well written

Make sure the paper is well-organized and written. The language is clear and free of grammatical and spelling errors. The sentences are short and linked to one another. The paragraphs have a lead sentence, are connected to one another, and flow smoothly to entice the reader. In a nutshell, you have used excellent academic scientific language in the paper.

In a nutshell, you have used excellent academic scientific language in the paper.

Always use the journal standard format

Every publication has its own format and structure. Ensure that submissions follow the specified structure. These templates are usually available in word and latex format on the journal’s homepage. I strongly advise using the latex format because it manages the paper’s entire structure and references automatically.

The editor will never compromise the journal’s standards, so always follow the standard format.

Peer review tutorial by Dr Afzal Badshah

The title covers the problem, outcome and approach

Three to four items must be stated in the title. What type of domain (primary subject of research) will this study focus on, for example? Learners are my field when I’m trying to engage them in the classroom. Second, we take into account the problem. Because my study focuses on student participation in school, I am concerned about learner engagement. After that, what strategy will I utilise to engage the learners? For example, if I am utilising social media, social media is my methodology. Finally, what’s the outcome? If feasible, include it in the title as well.

The search engine algorithms, search the string from the titles only. This clearly shows the importance of the research paper title.

The optimal length of the title should be between 10 and 15 words. The overly long title is not read by readers when scrolling through the too many options available. The long title does not give a good impression to the reader. Similarly, the short title is accepted and appreciated however, if it is too short, it is possible that the right keywords (e.g., the field of study, problem, objectives and methodology) are not included and will not be ranked by search engines in future.

The title should be 10 to 15 words long and should include the study’s field, problem, methods, and results (possibly).

The abstract should clarify the idea of what this paper is about

The title and abstract are available free of charge from any publisher. It is certain that the editors, the reviewer and the reader see and read the abstract after the title. The abstract must cover the key elements that have been studied. The problem that is studied, the approach that was used and the results that are derived from this research.

After reading the abstract, the reader should have a good idea of what this paper is about.

Keywords strengthen the visibility of paper after publications

The keywords help the search engine to show your paper to the scholar after publication. It strength your paper visibility to the public which means more read. These reads further covert to caution. Therefore, keywords must cover the field of the study, problem, outcomes, and approach used.

Keywords boost up the visibility of the paper, increasing the read and citation.

The introduction should show a clear picture of the study

The introduction is usually written at the end. The introduction should be on one or one and a half pages. The introduction must clear the reader about the background, motivations of the authors, the problem and the approach which is used to take this problem and the main contribution. The introduction must navigate the remaining sections of the paper.

The introduction must be able to give a clear picture of the study.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

The literature should be supported with recent and reputable journals papers

Coherence and cohesion are frequently lacking in the literature, implying that they are not properly interconnected. Rather than using a hook statement, the early authors dedicated each paragraph to a paper and began it with the author’s name.

To improve academic and research skills, you must read a reputable journals and authors publications.

Always choose recent articles from reputable journals. This has a number of advantages, including improving your writing and research skills. Furthermore, it establishes a link between your paper and these reputable journals and papers. You should choose literature from your base papers in particular. Include some papers from the target journal to which you’ll be submitting this article.

Ensure that the approach is aligned with the study

Ensure that the method you’re using for the research is compatible. I’ve read several articles where the methodology did not match the study or the results. The structure diagram helps to support the methodology. Thousands of words are worthless in comparison to the image. The structure diagram will make it easier for the reader to understand your point. If you’re using figures to back up your point, make sure they’re clear and concise. Make sure each figure has clear labels and that no terms are abbreviated. In addition, each figure is cited correctly in the text. If mathematical expressions or equations are used, make sure that each symbol is defined and that each equation has a proper description and equation number for future reference.

I’ve reviewed number of publications, whose approaches were not aligned with the study.

The experimental and result sections shouldn't be overcrowded with statistics

This section covers the experimentation that is used to prove the hypothesis. The environment, datasets and parameters should be clearly explained. How is the experience designed and how is it carried out? How is the simulator’s real-time environment configured? All this requires a clear explanation. Massive statistics frustrate not only the reader but also the author. Therefore, the data must be presented in the form of tables or graphs.

Tables and graphs should be used to avoid the overcrowded statistics at this section.

Preparing an article for the international journals by Dr Afzal Badshah

The conclusion should conclude the entire study

Before starting writing the conclusion, you have to know, the difference between the abstract and the conclusions. In the conclusion, you just conclude your work. What you did and what is it adding to the community? How do you progress the work in this area? and similarly, future works are also included in this section.

References must be revised before submission

Early scholars usually make a lot of mistakes in the references section, in the results, when the paper goes through production, the journal’s team and the author both feel issues in adjustment. Therefore, the journal standards format should be used for the references. It should be ensured that the volumes, numbers, dates, authors names and publications places for conferences papers must be included. The references must be revised for these minor issues before submission. Referring to regular articles, conferences papers, books etc need different styles and parameters, therefore, each should be revised accordingly.

Referring to regular articles, conferences papers, and books etc need different styles and parameters, therefore, each should be revised accordingly.

The research ethics must be followed while submitting the article to the publishers. The research article is submitted to one journal at a time. Submitting to more than one journal is not a good practice. It can also damage your carrier.

To explore more about professional academic writing, please see the following list

Academic Writing Skills

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Afzal Badshah, PhD
Age of Awareness

Dr Afzal Badshah focuses on academic skills, pedagogy (teaching skills) and life skills.