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Guidelines for preparing journal manuscripts

The guidelines in this document will help you create a manuscript that will be easier to edit (thus, less time-consuming and expensive to edit), easier for reviewers to review, easier for the journal to publish, and easier for readers to understand without error. I will provide descriptions for Microsoft Word 2007 and later versions; other word processors and versions of Word will have similar settings. This guide contains the following sections:

Happy reviewers will be less critical of your research, so you should avoid making choices that will annoy the reviewers. The easier your manuscript is to read, the happier the journal’s reviewers will be.

Note: Every journal has author guidelines, and you should follow them if they contradict the advice in this document. If you are preparing a manuscript for a conference or symposium, the organizers may send you guidelines on how to prepare your manuscript. To avoid delays, follow the journal or symposium guidelines.

Before you begin writing

Manuscript preparation checklist

I have provided a Microsoft Word template that contains many of the changes described in this set of guidelines. If you will be using your own template to create the document, please make the following changes if you have not already done so:

Numbers, variables, and equations

References and literature citations

Creating figures

Every journal provides guidelines for preparing figures. Read them carefully and follow the instructions. In addition:

Creating tables

I have provided some basic instructions on how to use Microsoft Word's table features in case you are not already familiar with these features. In any word processor:

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