Cover letter

The necessity for a cover letter is one of continuing debate. Some editors may value them while others do not, but a good cover letter need only be brief and include a few key details to support your submission and draw better attention to its value to the journal.

Ensure you address the correct journal and editor, especially if you are submitting to a second or subsequent choice journal.

Briefly describe the main topics of your study, the relevance these themes have to the journal, and the contribution your paper makes to the field.

You may wish to mention papers the journal has published on which your paper builds (which you may even have referenced). Does your paper continue the theme and add something new that will be relevant? This information demonstrates that you are familiar with the content of the journal and supports the relevance of your paper for reviewing.

You may also include suggestions of 3-6 reviewers for your paper. With finding reviewers increasingly difficult, these may be welcome suggestions, but there is no guarantee they will be used. These suggestions may be names of authors cited in your references, journal editorial board members who published on the topic, or other scholars you are aware of in the field. Be sure you do not suggest any colleagues, collaborators, close acquaintances or other individuals with a conflict of interest in reviewing your paper.

You may also name individuals who you think should not review your paper. These could be close collaborators, competitors or others you feel would not be able to give your paper an unbiased review.

You may also use the cover letter to reiterate the declarations described in the previous section, but if you have already provided this information, it is not necessary.

In total, this information should be no more than a page but should efficiently convey to the editor why your paper is suitable for the journal and how it will be of interest to its readers (not why publication in the journal would be beneficial to your paper, which is not a priority for the editor).