Authors are required to follow prescribed writing styles, formats and guidelines mandated by a research journal when submitting articles for publication. This is to ensure that an article is consistent with the language and presentation quality characteristic to that journal. These criteria are usually outlined on the “Instructions to Authors” (also referred to as “Guidelines to Authors”) page/s of the journal. The first step in preparing an article for publication is to check the requirements specified by the chosen journal.

There are several generic requirements and conventions, and in addition there are ones pertaining to specific subject areas. These are related to language and presentation, conventions, notations, citations and other aspects. These guidelines are typically updated at periodic intervals at meetings of eminent and experienced editors in specific fields. Some of the commonly used style guides and manuals are listed below.

Listing of style guides
 Type/Subject Area

 Association/Organization  Style Guide

 General  Modern Language Association

 MLA Style Manual: 3rd Ed.

 General  American Psychological Association

 APA Style Manual: 6th Ed.

 General  University of Chicago Press

 Chicago Manual of Style: 16th Ed.

 Physics and Astronomy

 American Institute of Physics  AIP Style Manual: 4th Ed.
 Chemistry  American Chemical Society

 ACS Style Guide: 3rd Ed.

 Biology  Council of Science Editors

 CSE Manual: 7th Ed.

 Mathematics  American Mathematical Society

 AMS Handbook

 Engineering  Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers  2009 IEEE Style Manual
 Medicine  American Medical Association  AMA Manual of Style: 10th Ed.
 Meteorology  American Meteorological Society  AMS Style Manual

The above list is representative, but is not meant to be comprehensive.

Once an article is written in conformity with the appropriate guidelines specified above, professional editing services can be utilized to crosscheck or improve on both language and presentation aspects. This can serve to expedite both the editorial and peer-review process, and increase the chances of acceptance of the article for publication.

This post was written by William Stevenson, an English editor with Enago based out of the USA.