Getting your manuscript ready for its first submission

You have interesting and original research to publish, but you have not done this before, how do you proceed? Here is how I do it.

  1. Choose your journal. You should pick the most general, most prestigious journal that your article is potentially relevant to. Also, prioritize Open Access outlets and avoid predatory journals. I have, for certain submissions, also avoided journals whose entire board of editors has previously published theories that diametrically oppose mine. I also no longer submit to journals that do not allow for PDF/LaTeX submissions. 
  2. Go to the homepage of the journal you have picked and find their Guidelines for Authors. Read those and follow them to the letter.
  3. Typically, the first submission does not have to follow a specific layout. It is generally advisable, however, to follow the unified stylesheet for linguistics. There is also a matching bibliography-style file for LaTeX.
  4. Use line numbers. This will make it much easier for your reviewers to refer to specific places in your text. For LaTeX, you can use the package lineno.*
  5. For many journals, your submission has to be anonymous. There are several ways to refer to information that might give you away. Currently, my preferred LaTeX solution is the censor package. Thus, you can say in \censor{\citet{Me2018}}, I have shown..., and the reference will be blacked out. Also, it will not occur in the references, in this version of your paper. Once you’re through the process, you can simply remove all the \censor commands and your document will compile as usual.
  6. If you have interlinearized examples, I have written in here about how to format them and compile a list of your glosses.
  7. Not a must, but consider using the hyperref package. Your reviewers will like the option to jump, for example, from a quote in the text to the full reference at the end, or to jump directly to the numbered example or definition you refer to.*
  8. That’s it! Your journal will have specifications for how to submit your manuscript, just follow them. Congratulations to your first submission!

*When you submit your article in LaTeX format, the publisher’s platform may add their own line numbers and links while compiling your manuscript. Make sure to check the final pdf.

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