How to write the cover letter for a journal paper?

In this blog post, I will talk about how to write a cover letter for a journal paper. This is an important topic for researchers swho submit research papers to journals, as many journals require to write and submit a cover letter with the paper.

man writing on paper

What is the purpose of the cover letter?

A researcher write a cover letter to inform the editor of the journal that he is submitting a paper. The cover letter should be adressed to the editor of the journal.

The content of cover letters can vary and some journals have specific requirements about the content of a cover letter. Thus, before writing a cover letter, it is important to check if there are some requirements. Some journals also do not require to write a cover letter.

A cover letter typically contains the following content:

  • The title of the paper
  • One or two sentences to explain what is the topic of the paper and why it is suitable for the journal (if not obvious)
  • A statement to say that the work is original and has not been submitted to other journals
  • A statement to say that all authors have agreed to the submission
  • The list of all author names

Personally, I think that a cover letter does not need to be very complicated. But at least a cover letter should not contain errors and should be written in a polite way. If a cover letter contains several English errors, then it may give a bad impression to the editor.

Two examples of cover letters

Here is a first example of cover letter that I have used recently:

Dear editor,

We wish to submit an original research article entitled “NAME_OF_THE_PAPER” for consideration by NAME_OF_THE_JOURNAL.

I would like to declare on behalf of my co-authors that this work is original and has not been published elsewhere, nor is it currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. Moreover, we have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

We believe that this manuscript is appropriate for publication by NAME_OF_THE_JOURNAL because it fits with the principal objectives of the journal by proposing a new solution to one important research problem in pattern mining. More precisely, a new efficient solution is proposed for the problem of XXXXXXX.

We deeply appreciate your consideration of our manuscript, and we look forward to receiving comments from the reviewers. If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us at: EMAIL_ADDRESS

Thank you for your consideration of this manuscript.

Sincerely,

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR NAME
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR AFFILIATION
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR EMAIL

And here is another example that is slightly different:

Dear editor,

We are submitting this paper proposing a new algorithm to …….. , named ……. . This is an important problem in the context of …….. Unlike previous work who focused on ……. we propose an algorithm that consider …. . To develop an algorithm for that measure, novel theoretical results are presented, …… We show in experiments that the proposed outperforms the compared algorithms in terms of execution time and memory usage 

This manuscript is the authors’ original work and has not been published. Moreover, it has not been submitted simultaneously elsewhere. 

All authors have checked the manuscript and have agreed to the submission.

Thanks for handling this manuscript. We are looking forward to receive feedback from the evaluation process.

Best regards,

AUTHOR NAME
AUTHOR AFFILIATION
AUTHOR E-MAIL

Conclusion

In this blog post, I have discussed how to write a cover letter for a journal paper, and given some examples. You may use this as basic templates for writing your own cover letters or make your own while keeping the key information that a cover letter should have. Hope that this will be helpful.

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Philippe Fournier-Viger is a professor of Computer Science and also the founder of the open-source data mining software SPMF, offering more than 170data mining algorithms.

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