How to make your article easy to review - Part 1

Tips and advice from experienced reviewers on what you should keep in mind before submitting your paper

We all know what it’s like to read something and notice a mistake. One error is perhaps tolerated but when an article is full of typos, inaccuracies and carelessness, there is no surprise what happens: you lose interest.

And if there’s one person in the publishing ecosystem whose interest you should not lose, it’s that of the reviewer; the fellow-researcher who has given up his/her free time to read through your work.

As part of a series of articles, we invited experienced reviewers to offer tips and advice on how you can go that extra mile to ensure that the paper you submit is the best possible version, and one that will keep the reviewer interested and engaged…

Professor Emeritus Alexandru T. Balaban from Texas A&M University at Galveston has kindly shared his top tips:

My advice for authors in order to facilitate refereeing, would be as follows:

  1. Spellcheck is not enough! Consult persons fluent in English, and familiar with its syntax and grammar.
  2. Consult the journal’s Guide for Authors as well as texts written specifically for authors.
  3. Write clear, short sentences, avoiding tortuous phrases.
  4. Do not make every sentence a new paragraph, but identify paragraphs according to concepts/ideas.
  5. Indent paragraphs!
  6. Indicate where accompanying figures and tables are to be placed. For reviewers it is convenient to have them in the text, although journals often require them to be placed separately. Such manuscripts may be prepared when resubmitting the paper after the reviewing process, when the reviewers’ comments are dealt with.
  7. For tables, indicate whether it is essential to have lines separating rows and/or columns.
  8. Insist to see the final proof incorporating all your corrections of the initial proof.

Contributor biography

Dr. BalabanBorn in Timisoara, Romania, Dr. Balaban graduated as a chemical engineer from the Polytechnic University in Bucharest (UPB), then continued his studies in radiochemistry, and obtained his Ph. D. in 1959, followed by a D.Sc. in 1974. In 1961 he founded the laboratory for Isotopically Labelled Compounds at the Institute of Atomic Physics in Bucharest. From 1970 until 2000 Balaban taught at the Bucharest Polytechnic University general and organic chemistry to many generations of students. Since 2000, he has been Professor of Chemistry at the Texas A&M University in Galveston (now Professor Emeritus). Full biography >>

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