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how to write a journal article fast

How to Write a Journal Article Fast

There is a smart way to do it. This can also work for creating your masterpiece—nothing against that—but today I wanted to share some pointers about just getting an object done. A thing. Those times when you just HAVE to get it done, and there’s little time. Four weeks, is plenty of time, and I’ll tell you why. As long as the goal is “done and publishable,” four weeks is enough time to finish a journal article draft. The right attitude and the right method is all you need. Attitude comes first. The key is you are making an object not a masterpiece. Again, this is just a choice that you might make for your own reasons. It’s not a philosophical statement.

The thing to keep in mind about the attitude is the fact that no matter what shape your article object is in, you are going to be asked to revise it. So there’s no sense in working months to take a draft from “OK I Guess” to “Good Enough” if you get basically the same amount of revision requests either way.

Why not reserve that increment of quality for later, and have other people do all the thinking for you? By which I mean, the reviewers. Think of them as outsourced labor! They’re working on your behalf and you don’t even have to pay them.

With these people working for you at no cost, why wouldn’t you get that article out there? All you need now that you are focused on writing it fast, and getting it out the door, is a method. Let’s break it down.

Step one: get laser focused on the journal you are going to publish in.

Later, after you have your object, you can change your mind. Now is the time to have no doubt and go all in.

Step two: search through the titles of articles in recent years and find some that seem very much like the topic your article is going to be about. Step three: skim through the texts of some of them until you find one that can serve as a model for your article, and read it. It would be a similar topic probably but that’s only because similar topics will have similar research material and similar kinds of theories and similar relationships between the two. You don’t need to be too picky—just find that one model. If you are not done with that in one day (in other words, 1-3 hours of effort), chances are you need to loosen up! Remember what we’re talking about here. We’re not writing a masterpiece. That’s a different subject. Don’t mix them up. We’re getting an article written FAST and out the door.

Day Two (or hours 2-4 of effort):

Step one: take the article apart. Divide the article up into types of text and literally count the number of lines for each type. An article might look like this (depends on discipline and genre of course): Introduction: 51 lines

Literature/Theory: 74 lines

Presentation of Material: 124 lines

Discussion (taking stock): 49 lines

Conclusion: 39 lines Now this probably isn’t the structure or order of the text, other than intro and conclusion. These different kinds of writing could be distributed in different sections and orders and alternating chunks. You just want the number of lines published of each type of writing that you identify.

Now, get the total number of lines and calculate the proportions. I’ve noticed that when drafting most people spend a lot of time on the intro and their drafts have hugely disproportionate intros when compared to published articles. That’s just one example of how we get out of whack. The point is to see the article in a new light, numerically, instead of in terms of meaning and ideas. As you might already anticipate, we are going to start out writing approximately the same proportion of lines for our article and we’re going to stay focused on that as our guide. That’s how you are going to gage when you are going off course and getting too deep into something and losing too much time. Is that too limiting? When we’re exploring our ideas and creativity, for many times: yes. Sometimes, the limits are actually creatively productive.  But that’s neither here nor there. You are just making an object, remember? Are we being robotic and mechanical about this? Well, yeah sort of. We’re trying to crank out an article fast. It’s not just the modeling that we’re using numbers for. As you’ll see farther below, it’s also about time.

Step two: take the article apart in another way.

Print out the model article and literally cut it to pieces in a way that divides up the kinds of writing in any way that is slightly different than how you did step one. In my genre, I like to divide articles into theory, material, and interpretation. Theoretical parts are discussions of literature or theory or others’ ideas and findings. Other parts are the material: straight-forward referential sentences describing some reality out there. And some parts are interpretations of that reality. By the way, the difference between theory and interpretation I take, for these purposes, to be the difference between their modes of reference. “Theory” is referencing and commenting on a discussion out there in academia or in other writings. “Interpretation” is directed toward the “material” being presented. You can also just have “thought” and “reality,” two types, or you can have more types. You can also skip this part if your model is kind of all over the place from sentence to sentence. (But such an article might not be a great model for our fast writing purposes here). So get out those scissors. Again, don’t be too picky. Cut things out and put them in piles. Get nice big chunks of text. It won’t be convenient to have tiny little scraps. Don’t get a bunch of fragments. If you a section of paper has a mix, just assign it to one category. Have some piles that can be held comfortably in your hand and paper clip the piles so it doesn’t get messy.

The act of physically cutting the paper will further knock down the behemoth of the great article and physically impress you with the fact that “writing an article” is actually writing pieces of an article. It also gives you a physical sense of proportions that you see in a new way and also literally feel. You’ll then also be able to physically isolate the text for your review, which is something, as you’ll see, you’ll use in the drafting days.

“Day” Three (“day” as in reasonable chunk of time, the next hour):

Now that you know what proportion of your text you’ll be spending on each kind of writing, you can put that ratio into the calendar time available. Take the total number of days you’ll be writing, and right on a calendar, like a prisoner marking off days, assign them each to a certain day’s writing according to the ratios you identified. March the 3rd-8th are presentation of material days, April 1-3 are introduction days, etc.  In other words if you are going to have 30 writing days, and introductory text is going to be 10% of the writing, then 3 of those days will be writing introduction. If you feel up to it and your model matches what you want for your draft, you might even start with introductions on the first day and finish the conclusion on the last day.

However it’s often best to leave both intro and conclusion for last, and start with either the material or the theory.

The point is to divide up your days and have a real, time-based schedule for cranking out each piece. It’s important not to be too unrealistic in drawing up this plan, in terms of how much writing can be done in a given amount of time. But if you have say 28 days of writing, that would be about a page a day for a typical article or chapter.

If that seems unreasonable, then just set another time frame. Maybe it’s 38 days. Anyway, literally get a calendar out and make each writing day an assigned day for doing a certain kind of writing. This is your goal and your schedule. You just make it happen, knowing that if you stay on schedule you’ll have that article in the end.

Day 4 to 28

Now march and keep marching! Remember, this is about a certain kind of getting things done: This is for I-better-do-this-or-else writing, or at least I-really-just-want-an-article-draft-and-I-don’t-care-how-I-get-there-as-long-as-I-get-there kind of writing. You’ve set your fast article writing schedule. As long as it’s reasonable, you stick to it because this is about You, about you getting things done. Now, remember those piles of cut outs? These are your friends. Before you write, you look these over to remind yourself of the type of writing you are about to do and how it feels and sounds, how much detail vs. how much generality was in it, etc. This too is important for keeping you on track and not writing too condensed or too spacious prose and to keep pace with your model. It’s also a kind of creative priming.

Which reminds me, it would be good if you actually like your model article. I should have said that earlier!

Fix it up a bit for readability and send it out to a couple relevant friends and ask for either a specified number of sentences of feedback (“Could you write me three or four sentences about the most important changes I should make?”) or ask 2-3 specific questions (“Is there a theorist I absolutely should have mentioned?” “Does my discussion section make sense?”) If you break down the work for your friend they are more likely to want to do it quickly, just as it was for you!

At this point you just want to avoid some huge gaffe. Other than that—let the reviewers do the work.

Very Soon After:

So send it out. Outsource your writing to others who will think through the rest of the writing of the article. Since you are going to have to do this writing-to-order anyway, no matter what, why do it twice? Why do it before and after submission when you could just do it after submission? I resent this part, I’m not going to lie. I don’t like being told what to write. But when I think of it as others working for me, I feel a bit better about it. And anyways, if you are doing the write a fast article method, the truth is the whole time you’ve been letting your model tell you what to write, so why not just continue doing that?


Don’t let an article or chapter occupy a goliath place in your mind. An article is just a bunch of pieces. Break the task down into manageable chunks. Then get them written, small bit-by-bit, on a schedule.

Take the idea of what an article is down a notch in your mind. If you break it down, mentally and physically, you can come up with a reasonable time-based plan to get if finished fast.

For More Help:

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Writing for an academic journal: 10 tips

1) Have a strategy, make a plan

Why do you want to write for journals? What is your purpose? Are you writing for research assessment? Or to make a difference? Are you writing to have an impact factor or to have an impact? Do you want to develop a profile in a specific area? Will this determine which journals you write for? Have you taken their impact factors into account?

Have you researched other researchers in your field – where have they published recently? Which group or conversation can you see yourself joining? Some people write the paper first and then look for a 'home' for it, but since everything in your article – content, focus, structure, style – will be shaped for a specific journal, save yourself time by deciding on your target journal and work out how to write in a way that suits that journal.

Having a writing strategy means making sure you have both external drivers – such as scoring points in research assessment or climbing the promotion ladder – and internal drivers – which means working out why writing for academic journals matters to you. This will help you maintain the motivation you'll need to write and publish over the long term. Since the time between submission and publication can be up to two years (though in some fields it's much less) you need to be clear about your motivation.

2) Analyse writing in journals in your field

Take a couple of journals in your field that you will target now or soon. Scan all the abstracts over the past few issues. Analyse them: look closely at all first and last sentences. The first sentence (usually) gives the rationale for the research, and the last asserts a 'contribution to knowledge'. But the word 'contribution' may not be there – it's associated with the doctorate. So which words are used? What constitutes new knowledge in this journal at this time? How can you construct a similar form of contribution from the work you did? What two sentences will you write to start and end your abstract for that journal?

Scan other sections of the articles: how are they structured? What are the components of the argument? Highlight all the topic sentences – the first sentences of every paragraph – to show the stages in the argument. Can you see an emerging taxonomy of writing genres in this journal? Can you define the different types of paper, different structures and decide which one will work best in your paper? Select two types of paper: one that's the type of paper you can use as a model for yours, and one that you can cite in your paper, thereby joining the research conversation that is ongoing in that journal.

3) Do an outline and just write

Which type of writer are you: do you always do an outline before you write, or do you just dive in and start writing? Or do you do a bit of both? Both outlining and just writing are useful, and it is therefore a good idea to use both. However, make your outline very detailed: outline the main sections and calibrate these with your target journal.

What types of headings are normally used there? How long are the sections usually? Set word limits for your sections, sub-sections and, if need be, for sub-sub-sections. This involves deciding about content that you want to include, so it may take time, and feedback would help at this stage.

When you sit down to write, what exactly are you doing:using writing to develop your ideas or writing to document your work? Are you using your outline as an agenda for writing sections of your article? Define your writing task by thinking about verbs – they define purpose: to summarise, overview, critique, define, introduce, conclude etc.

4) Get feedback from start to finish

Even at the earliest stages, discuss your idea for a paper with four or five people, get feedback on your draft abstract. It will only take them a couple of minutes to read it and respond. Do multiple revisions before you submit your article to the journal.

5) Set specific writing goals and sub-goals

Making your writing goals specific means defining the content, verb and word length for the section. This means not having a writing goal like, 'I plan to have this article written by the end of the year' but 'My next writing goal is to summarise and critique twelve articles for the literature review section in 800 words on Tuesday between 9am and 10.30'. Some people see this as too mechanical for academic writing, but it is a way of forcing yourself to make decisions about content, sequence and proportion for your article.

6) Write with others

While most people see writing as a solitary activity, communal writing – writing with others who are writing – can help to develop confidence, fluency and focus. It can help you develop the discipline of regular writing. Doing your academic writing in groups or at writing retreats are ways of working on your own writing, but – if you unplug from email, internet and all other devices – also developing the concentration needed for regular, high-level academic writing.

At some point – ideally at regular intervals – you can get a lot more done if you just focus on writing. If this seems like common sense, it isn't common practice. Most people do several things at once, but this won't always work for regular journal article writing. At some point, it pays to privilege writing over all other tasks, for a defined period, such as 90 minutes, which is long enough to get something done on your paper, but not so long that it's impossible to find the time.

7) Do a warm up before you write

While you are deciding what you want to write about, an initial warm up that works is to write for five minutes, in sentences, in answer to the question: 'What writing for publication have you done [or the closest thing to it], and what do you want to do in the long, medium and short term?'

Once you have started writing your article, use a variation on this question as a warm up – what writing for this project have you done, and what do you want to do in the long, medium and short term? Top tip: end each session of writing with a 'writing instruction' for yourself to use in your next session, for example, 'on Monday from 9 to 10am, I will draft the conclusion section in 500 words'.

As discussed, if there are no numbers, there are no goals. Goals that work need to be specific, and you need to monitor the extent to which you achieve them. This is how you learn to set realistic targets.

8) Analyse reviewers' feedback on your submission

What exactly are they asking you to do? Work out whether they want you to add or cut something. How much? Where? Write out a list of revision actions. When you resubmit your article include this in your report to the journal, specifying how you have responded to the reviewers' feedback. If your article was rejected, it is still useful to analyse feedback, work out why and revise it for somewhere else.

Most feedback will help you improve your paper and, perhaps, your journal article writing, but sometimes it may seem overheated, personalised or even vindictive. Some of it may even seem unprofessional. Discuss reviewers' feedback – see what others think of it. You may find that other people – even eminent researchers – still get rejections and negative reviews; any non-rejection is a cause for celebration. Revise and resubmit as soon as you can.

9) Be persistent, thick-skinned and resilient

These are qualities that you may develop over time – or you may already have them. It may be easier to develop them in discussion with others who are writing for journals.

10) Take care of yourself

Writing for academic journals is highly competitive. It can be extremely stressful. Even making time to write can be stressful. And there are health risks in sitting for long periods, so try not to sit writing for more than an hour at a time. Finally, be sure to celebrate thoroughly when your article is accepted. Remind yourself that writing for academic journals is what you want to do – that your writing will make a difference in some way.

These points are taken from the 3rd edition of Writing for Academic Journals .

Rowena Murray is professor in education and director of research at the University of the West of Scotland – follow it on Twitter @UniWestScotland

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How to Write a Research Paper Fast


As a student, you knew it was inevitable. The day has come where you have to write a research paper, but you’ve put it off until the last minute. Now the pressure is sinking in to get it done quickly and you want to know how to write a research paper fast.

The good news is that it’s doable. The better news is that there are ways to avoid waiting until the last minute. We will tackle those after we give you everything you need to know to get it done.

Citing a book as a source for research

Photo by Russ Ward

The process.

A research paper is what it sounds like — a paper that requires a thesis (or argument) along with the research to back it up. Research papers involve citing a variety of sources, analyzing arguments, and pulling different academic pieces together to prove a point.

1. Understand the Assignment:

The first thing you have to make sure you do before you get to outlining and writing is to understand the assignment. You will need to organize different pieces of information, from books, essays, interviews, articles and more.

2. Choose a Topic:

Depending on the assignment provided, you will either have a topic in front of you or you will have to decide on one yourself. If your professor did not provide you with a topic, here are some helpful ways to choose one that will work for your needs:

  • Choose something you understand enough so that you will be able to interpret the research about it
  • Before you get started, check that there is a lot of content about that topic by performing a simple online search to see what turns up
  • Write out your topic as a research question that you plan to answer
  • Research more about your topic and find evidence to back up what you want to answer
  • Make a list of keywords that you continue to see pop up about the topic
  • Create your thesis

3. Perform Research:

While performing research is as easy as conducting an online search for sources, the more important element is evaluating the validity of a source. Don’t use Wikipedia as a source, because it is crowdsourced and can be edited by anyone. Instead, rely on digital encyclopedias, scholarly databases, trustworthy publications like TIME magazine and the New York Times, and the like. Since you’re writing this research paper at the last minute, the library may not be a possible option. However, for the next time you write a research paper and plan in advance, definitely utilize books from the library.

4. Write Your Thesis:

A thesis statement is the gist of your entire paper. It is what you will spend your writing proving; therefore, it has to be strong and to the point. A thesis statement appears in the introduction of your research paper, following the strong hook statement that draws your readers in. There is a formulaic way to write a strong thesis statement, and it looks something like this:

“By examining (argument 1), (argument 2), and (argument 3), it is clear that (statement you will prove).”

A thesis statement is typically one sentence and it is clearly written so that the reader knows exactly what they will read about in your paper.

To check that you’ve written a strong thesis statement, ask yourself if it achieves the following:

  • Is it in the introduction?
  • Does it answer the question from the prompt?
  • Can others argue against my thesis?
  • Is it going to prove a single claim?
  • Does it answer something meaningful?

5. Outline Your Paper:

Now that you have the main ingredients for your research paper, namely your thesis and supporting research, you can start outlining. Everyone has their own way they like to create an outline for papers. Here’s one good example of how it can be done — this is called a flat outline:

  • List the topics you will discuss
  • Under each topic, write your sources
  • If you are lacking sources, revisit and research more to give more meat to your paper
  • Move your topics and their information onto your paper in an organized flow
  • Write your thesis at the top so you can ensure that you are answering/proving your thesis throughout the paper’s argument

6. The Body/Intro and Conclusion:

So, do you start with your introduction and conclusion and then fill in the body? Or, do you do it the other way around? Really, there is no right or wrong way. It ultimately depends on your preference. Some people like to write their introduction and use it to serve as an outline of their paper and then flow from there. Others like to write their points in the body of their paper and then extrapolate the introduction and conclusion from what they wrote.

Regardless of how you perform your work, there is a structure that the paper must follow, which looks like this:

  • Introduction – includes a hook sentence (grabs the reader), your thesis and a menu sentence (a list of what you will discuss).
  • Body paragraphs – each body paragraph comes from what you mentioned in your introduction’s menu sentence. Each body paragraph has a topic sentence, or a first sentence that clearly states what it will be about. Each body paragraph includes support and sources that prove the topic sentence or argument.
  • Conclusion – here, you restate your introduction and thesis in different words. You want to end with a strong and memorable sentence. Just like your introduction began with a hook statement, your conclusion should end with something that will be remembered.

7. Cite Sources:

One of the major differences between a research paper and any other academic paper is that you must cite your sources. The end of your paper will have a list of sources, or a bibliography. Depending on your professor’s preferences, they will either be listed in APA format , MLA , Chicago , etc. This is an imperative step because your entire research paper’s evidence is based on and backed up by these sources, so you must give them credit where credit is due.

While this is not in the cards for all paper writing, it is very important for a last minute research paper. You’ve likely spent hours crunching the information and regurgitating it in your own words to fill up the once blank pages. As such, it’s a good idea to step away from your paper, get some sleep, and then revisit it with fresh eyes in the morning.

9. Proofread Revise and Editing:

As with any paper, you want to make sure you read it over to catch any mistakes. Not only should you use the Word processing tool that checks spelling and grammar for you, but you must also read it out loud to find any mistakes.

10. Find and Remove Plagiarism:

Once you are done with the entire proofreading and checking phase, the last thing that you have to do is find and remove plagiarism in your research paper. Plagiarism has a lot of consequences, and you have to make sure that your research paper is completely free of it. To do this, you first have to use a plagiarism checker to find all the plagiarized parts. Once found, you can either remove them or give the required accreditations.

If there is time to ask a friend or peer to read over your paper one time, that will be a good idea, too.

Notebook with notes and research

Photo by  Dan Dimmock  on  Unsplash

How to write a research paper in a day.

Granted, all the steps above can help you write a research paper fast. Here’s a brief look at how you can do this in a day:

1. Brainstorm Quickly

  • Use the prompt
  • Outline possible options
  • Perform a simple Google search and find what has the most information
  • Choose your topic
  • Create an outline

2. Research

  • Find research to support each point in your outline

3. Write Quickly

  • Put it all on paper as you think of it
  • Take time to edit, condense, and rewrite

Distraction-free writing environment

Photo by  Nick Morrison  on  Unsplash

Find a good writing environment.

Before sitting down to get started on your last-minute task, make sure you set up an environment that is conducive to getting your work done. Things you want to consider:

1. Distraction-free:

Choose somewhere quiet and distraction-free. You will have to stay focused for a few hours, so you’ll want to choose a comfortable setting.

2. Good lighting:

Along with comfort, make sure you have adequate lighting to read and write.

3. Go somewhere studious:

Perhaps, if time permits, you can choose to work in somewhere like a library or a study lounge.

4. Bring just your supplies needed:

Even if you work at home, make sure you set up a table with only the supplies you need, as to limit distractions. This could include: a computer, tablet, pen, paper, highlighter, books, and sticky notes. Plus, don’t forget water!

Tips to Avoid Procrastination

Writing a last-minute paper, especially that involves research, is stressful and less than optimal . Instead of finding yourself in this position, you can follow this advice to avoid such a situation.

1. Start early:

Once you’re given the prompt, start thinking about what you want to write about. You can write down ideas on paper and look into the research that supports each point.

2. Outline first and take breaks:

Begin outlining your paper so that when you sit to write, you already have the bulk of it prepared. If you start early, you will have the advantage and ability to take breaks. This helps to revisit your argument with a clear head and potentially see things that you may have otherwise missed.

3. Ask for help if you need it:

Starting early means that you are not crunched for time. So, you have the added benefit of asking for help. You can solicit advice from friends, peers, family, your professors, teacher assistants, the online community, and more. Plus, when you finish writing your paper, you have time to ask for help from someone other than you to read it over and edit it.

The Bottom Line

While knowing how to write a paper fast is useful and at times necessary, it is not the optimal way to approach assignments. However, sometimes being in a bind is out of your control. Therefore, the best way to write a research paper fast is to follow the aforementioned steps and remember to stay calm.

While a research paper involves a lot of work, from creating a strong thesis to finding supporting research, it can be made into an enjoyable activity when you choose to write about something you are interested in. It gives you a chance to digest other people’s findings and make your own inferences about what they mean.

By following the typical structure of a research paper, creating an outline and finding good sources, you can get your research paper done in a night. Good luck!

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How to write a whole research paper in a week

how to write a journal article fast

Writing up a full research article in a single week? Maybe you think that’s impossible. Yet I have done it repeatedly, and so have students in my courses. This is an exceptionally joyful (even if demanding) experience: being so productive just feels great! You are not wasting any time, and a paper produced in one go is typically coherent and nice to read. Even if you are a slow writer, you can write a whole paper in a single week — if you follow my strategy. Read below about what you need to prepare and how to approach this project.

I wrote my first scientific research article in 7 days. It started as a desperate effort to stop my procrastination and “just do it”. But I was surprised what a positive experience it was: focused and efficient, I was making daily progress, feeling motivated and content. Finally, the fruits of my hard work were gaining shape — and they did it so quickly!

I realized it was highly effective to write up a paper like this: writing for the whole day, every day until the first draft was finished. My writing project was firmly present in my mind — I didn’t lose time catching up with what I have written in the last session. Since I was not doing anything else, my wandering mind settled in very fast, and I was getting into a routine. The daily progress was clearly visible and motivated me to continue. And the result was a coherent paper that was easy to revise.

Meanwhile, this paper-a-week approach is my favorite. That’s how I write my papers, and that’s what I teach to students. In on-site courses young scientists draft a whole paper in 5 days, writing one major section per day. At the beginning of the week, many participants have doubts. But at the end of the week, they are all excited to see how much they managed to write in just a single week.

If you would also like to try out this approach, then read on about the necessary preparations, the optimal setting, and a productive writing strategy.

If you would like to get support during the preparation, drafting and revising of your research article, check out my online course Write Up Your Paper .

Prepare well

how to write a journal article fast

  • First, think about your audience and pick a suitable journal . This is an important step because the audience and journal determine the content & style of your paper. As a reference, pick two recent papers on a similar topic published in your target journal.
  • Create a storyline for your paper. What is the main message you want to convey, and how are you going to present your results?
  • Put together all the results that you need to present your story convincingly: collect the necessary data, finish analyses, and create figures and tables.
  • Select and read the relevant background literature as well as studies you want to compare your work with. As you read, note down any point that comes to your mind as something to be mentioned in the Introduction or Discussion section.
  • Draft a preliminary Abstract : it will help you keep the direction and not get distracted by secondary ideas as you write the individual sections.

Depending on how complete your results already are, you might need 2-4 weeks to finish all these preparations. To help you keep an overview, I created a checklist with detailed steps that you need to take before you attempt to write up your paper in a week. Subscribe to our Newsletter and get your copy of the checklist.

Reserve a whole week for writing

Now, writing a paper in a single week is a serious business. You can’t do it if you don’t focus solely on the writing and create good writing conditions. Therefore, I recommend the following settings:

  • Find a place where you can write without distractions. I have written my first paper over the Easter holidays when there was nobody in the office. You might choose to write at home or in a library. Though if possible, the best is to go for a retreat: removing yourself from your everyday settings immensely helps focus on the writing.
  • Cancel (all) social obligations for the week. While it’s crucial to relax in the evening, you want to avoid disturbances associated with social events. Anything that makes your thoughts drift away from your work because it requires planning, exchanging of messages with others, or simply because it’s too exciting is better left for some other week. On the other hand, a quiet meeting with a good friend over a glass of wine or beer might be just the perfect way to unwind and rest after a productive, yet exhausting day of writing.
  • Get support from the partner, family or friends — if possible. It’s best when you don’t need to run errands, cook and clean during this week. If you live alone, you can probably easily arrange yourself for undisturbed work. If you live with other people, ask them for consideration and support.

What I described above are the *ideal* conditions for undisturbed writing. But don’t give up if you can’t create such conditions for yourself. Work with what is possible — maybe it will take you 7-8 instead of 5-6 days but that’s still a great result, right?

Do you need to revise & polish your manuscript or thesis but don’t know where to begin?

Get your Revision Checklist

Click here for an efficient step-by-step revision of your scientific texts.

Maybe you think that you can never ever draft a research article in a single week. Because you write so slowly, producing only few paragraphs per day. Well — I agree that if you don’t optimize your writing strategy, it would be hard to impossible to write up a whole paper in a week.

how to write a journal article fast

  • Separate the processes of writing and revising. That’s the most important principle. Resist the urge to revise as you write the first draft. Moreover, don’t interrupt your writing to look up missing information. Work with placeholders instead. This allows you to get into the state of flow and proceed much faster than you can imagine.
  • Start your writing day with 10 minutes of freewriting . Write without stopping about anything that comes to your mind. This helps you to warm up for writing, clear your head of any unrelated thoughts, and get into the mood of writing without editing.
  • Take regular power breaks. I recommend to follow the Pomodoro technique : write for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. After 3-4 such sessions take a longer break of 0.5-1 hour. During the breaks get up, walk a bit, stretch, look around, and breathe deeply. These breaks help you sustain high focus and productivity throughout the whole day.
  • Eat and sleep well. What you are doing is similar to a professional athlete. So take care of your brain and body, and they will serve you well.
  • Reward yourself. Every day celebrate the progress you have made. You have full right to be proud of you!

Write the individual sections in a reasonable order

If you have written a research paper before, you have probably realized that starting with the Introduction and finishing with the Discussion is not the ideal order in which to tackle the individual sections. Instead, I recommend the following procedure:

how to write a journal article fast

  • Start with the Methods section. This is the easiest section to write, so it’s great as a warm-up, to get into writing without the need to think (and procrastinate ;)) too much. Look at your figures and tables: what methods did you use to create them? Then describe your methods, one after another.
  • Results section: Writing the Methods section refreshes your memory about the research you have done. So writing the Results section next should not be too hard: Take one display object (figure or table) after another, and describe the results they contain. While you do so, you will come across points that need to be discussed in the Discussion section. Note them down so you don’t forget them.
  • Introduction : When your results are fresh in your mind, you are in a great position to write the Introduction — because the Introduction should contain selected information that gives the reader context for your research project and allows them to understand your results and their implications.
  • Discussion : When you have taken notes while writing the Results section, the Discussion section should be quite easy to draft. Don’t worry too early about the order in which you want to discuss the individual points. Write one paragraph for each point , and then see how you can logically arrange them.
  • Abstract and title : On the last day, revise the preliminary Abstract or write a new one. You could also take a break of a few days before tackling the Abstract, to gain clarity and distance. Generate multiple titles (I recommend 6-10), so that you and your co-authors can choose the most appropriate one.

Just do it!

how to write a journal article fast

Once you have written the whole draft, let it sit for a week or two, and then revise it. Follow my tips for efficient revising and get your revision checklist that will guide you step-by-step through the whole process.

Now I am curious about your experience: Have you ever written up an academic article quickly? How did you do it? Please, share with us your tips & strategies!

Do you need to revise & polish your manuscript or thesis but don’t know where to begin? Is your text a mess and you don't know how to improve it?

Click here for an efficient step-by-step revision of your scientific texts. You will be guided through each step with concrete tips for execution.

7 thoughts on “ How to write a whole research paper in a week ”

Thank for your guide and suggestion. It gives to me very precious ways how to write a article. Now I am writing a article related to Buddhist studies. Thank you so much.

You are welcome!

excellent! it helped me a lot! wish you all best

Hi Parham, I’m happy to hear that!

I have never written any paper before. As I am from very old school.

But my writing skill is actually very good. Your help is definitely going to help me as this has inspired me alot. Will let you know, once done. I really like the outline that you have given. Basically you have made it so easy for me .

Hope fully will be in touch with you soon.

Thanks and ki d Regards, Shehla

Dear Shehla, that sounds great! I’m looking forward to hearing about your paper!

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Home » Blog » How to Write a Research Paper Fast in 9 Steps

How to Write a Research Paper Fast in 9 Steps

how to write a journal article fast


So you have a blank document opened and you don’t know how to write a research paper from scratch. Well, academic writing is indeed challenging and much different than other types of writing. If you haven’t written a research paper and it is your first time, it could turn out to be an overwhelming task.

It gets more challenging if you have to write your research paper fast. It really gets tough. And if you don’t learn how to write a good research paper fast that is more than a well-written paper, you’ll find yourself in deep trouble.

However, if you know what steps to follow and how to do a research paper, it will get a whole lot easier. All you have to do is follow a systematic approach. Follow a step-by-step guide and it will become a piece of cake. That’s why I created this guide below.

It shows you what steps you have to take in order to write a research paper and how to get it finished and submitted on time. It covers everything including topic selection, research, write-up, editing and proofreading, and much more.

This guide is all you need to write a killer research paper fast. Let’s get started.

What is a Research Paper?

A research paper is an extended form of essay that represents original research work of the author. It is an academic piece on a topic that is based on original research, arguments, interpretation, and analysis. Examples of a research paper include term papers, doctoral dissertations, and scientific research articles.

So who needs to write a research paper?

Anyone can write a research paper but generally, graduate students, PhDs, and academicians write research papers and have them get published in journals. The idea is to share your research and findings with the world.

Here is a research paper example from the Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal :

research paper example

Here is another research paper example from the Journal of Academic Librarianship :

research paper example

Yes, research paper involves a lot of research and this is one reason why a lot of people struggle. If you get to know how to write a good research paper and you know the exact steps, you can manage it easily.

How to Write a Research Paper: Step-by-Step Guide

Here are the steps that you can follow to write a good research paper fast:

  • Set objectives
  • Choose a topic
  • Review literature
  • Organize your research
  • Create a thesis
  • Create an outline
  • Start writing
  • Edit and revise

These steps are covered in detail below.

Step #1: Set Objectives

To learn everything on how to write a research paper quickly, the first thing you need to do is set clear objectives. Why do you need to write a research paper in the first place?

There are several reasons why you should end up writing a research paper:

  • It could be a requirement from your university or supervisor to get your degree
  • It could be to share your original research work with the right people
  • To move ahead in your career as an academician or a professional
  • You’re writing a research paper just to let others know of your experience and you don’t intend to get anything in exchange

If you’re writing a research paper as a degree requirement, you’ll approach it differently as compared to if you’re writing one as a professor. Setting the right objectives and goals for your research paper helps you stay focused and organized.

Ask yourself following questions to set objectives for your assignment:

Why do you need to write a research paper?

What is its deadline?

What is the research paper format?

Is there a specific word count requirement?

Do you have a topic in mind?

Where do you wish to publish your research paper?

Set realistic yet challenging objectives and goals for your assignment based on your answers. If you have to write a research paper as a requirement for your graduate degree, you will get clear objectives from your university. It will make your job easier. You just have to stick to them.

However, if you’re writing a research paper to get it published in a journal to strengthen your resume and to get a better job, you’ll have different objectives that will be more geared towards the journal’s requirements.

Step #2: Plan

After you have identified objectives for your research paper, you need to create a plan to achieve your objectives. If you’re serious about how to do a research paper, you should plan it. The best way to plan your research article is to create a Gantt chart.

A Gantt chart helps you manage your research paper and set schedule for different activities (discussed later in this guide). You’ll be able to complete important tasks on time so that you don’t end up missing deadlines.

gantt chart template

If, for instance, you have to submit a research paper to a journal’s call for paper request, you’ll have to get it ready well before the deadline. This is where the Gantt charts are very helpful. You can set a schedule based on the priority of the tasks.

You can’t write your complete research paper in a single go even if it has to be 3K words or less. You need to collect data and you have to analyze your data using a statistical tool. And this is where things get complicated because data collection and analysis can take months. It isn’t necessary that you personally collect data so if someone else is collecting data, you have to manage things at your end smartly. You can’t do it without planning and proper scheduling.

Planning is essential because you have to rely on different resources for data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, data reporting, editing, etc. When there are multiple individuals and tools involved, you need to set your priorities and you need a proper plan that will show you what needs to be done, who will do it, when it should start, and when a task should be completed.

At the same time, there are certain resources that you’d need special access to from your university such as statistical tools. If you’re analyzing data in SmartPLS , you’d need a key from your university which remains active for 30 days. Not only that you have to request a key on time after you have collected the data, but you’ll also have to make sure that data is analyzed in 30 days else you’ll have to request for key renewal which takes a few days.

In the absence of planning, you might not get access to several critical university resources and this will significantly delay your research article.

A proper plan will let you put requests for resources well before the time that will be entertained as compared to putting requests at the last moment (that are normally rejected due to resource unavailability or overload).

Step #3: Choose a Topic

Your research topic is of central importance in the research article. You should give special attention to topic selection as everything else will be derived from the topic. A wrong topic selected and you won’t be able to get back on track very soon.

There are two ways to choose a topic for your research paper:

  • If you’re writing a research paper for a degree requirement, you’ll receive guidelines from your supervisor/university. Follow the guidelines. You’ll have to choose a topic of your interest.
  • If you’re writing a research paper for publication in a journal, you’ll have to identify a journal, read its scope, read author guidelines, and then choose a topic that is most likely to be accepted by the journal for publication.

Even if you’re writing a paper as an assignment, you’ll still have to get it published in a relevant journal so you have to choose an appropriate journal first. That’s the right approach to choosing a topic.

So your research topic should meet these two criteria:

  • You should have an interest in the topic.
  • You have identified an appropriate journal that’s likely to accept and publish your research article.

Choosing a topic of your interest will make it easier for you to write about it. Your passion will motivate you and you’ll rarely feel bored. Aligning your topic to a specific journal will make publication easier. Journals are very choosy and publish articles that meet their scope and won’t publish anything that doesn’t meet their scope.

Here is an example of the scope of the Alternative Law Journal:

screenshot of journal's scope and aims

If you submit an article to this journal, it will be accepted if and only if it meets the aims and scope. And this holds true for all the journals out there. So you have to choose a topic and then you have to find a relevant journal that will accept your research paper.

Here are a few actionable tips on how to choose a topic for your research paper:

  • The topic should meet the assignment requirements.
  • Use brainstorming to identify a decent research topic.
  • Start from a broad topic such as human resource management and then narrow it down. Ensure that the topic isn’t too broad.
  • Narrow down the focus. The more focused your topic is, the better. Broader topics don’t tend to do well. For instance, you can narrow down your human resource management topic to organizational citizenship behavior in the banking sector.
  • Don’t narrow your topic too much as it will limit your options for data collection. There has to be a balance between too broad and too narrow.
  • Ask industry experts as they might be able to help you identify a hot topic based on their experience and the challenges they’re facing in the industry. This will make your research practically applicable and useful for practitioners.
  • The topic needs to be of interest for practitioners or a certain group (e.g. researchers). If it only interests you and is considered invaluable by others, you’ll struggle to get your research paper published in a high impact journal.

how to choose a research topic

Once you have finalized your topic, you then need to identify a journal to get your article published. This is the stage where you’ll be able to further refine your topic, tweak it, and make it compatible with the journal’s requirement.

Here are some tips to identify the right journal based on your research topic and how to make your topic compatible with your preferred journal:

  • Visit leading publishers such as Elsevier , Sage , Wiley , etc. and search for journals based on your topic.
  • Use Google Scholar to identify recent articles published on your topic.
  • Read the aims and scope of the journals to screen them and identify the ones that are most likely to publish your article.
  • Read the recently published article in these journals. This will give you an idea of what type of articles they publish. Tweak your research topic if needed to make it compatible with a journal’s policies.
  • Read author guidelines and any special instructions that will help you craft a better research paper.
  • Target one journal and stick with its requirements. This will help you focus on one journal’s requirements which makes acceptance easier as you’ll write specifically for it.

Once your topic is finalized, you’re ready to proceed with an in-depth literature review to create your thesis and outline.

Step #4: Literature Review

Reviewing literature is an essential step of how to write a research paper. You can’t do research without reviewing literature.

The literature review is a comprehensive summary of previous research on your selected topic. It involves reviewing existing research papers, books, scholarly articles, and any other authentic and reliable data source that is related to your topic.

review of literature meaning

The purpose of the literature review is to describe, summarize, and evaluate previous research on your topic to find what has already been done and where you want to move from here. Existing literature helps you identify theories on your topic, history of the topic, current issues, and future research directions that help you refine your research topic and build a thesis.

The literature review is essential as it lets you understand the topic and previous research. You don’t want to end up researching an issue that’s already covered by someone else. How’d you find what work other researchers have done on the subject? By reviewing literature. Besides, you get to learn methodologies, theories, models, and other critical information about your topic during the literature review process.

Since writing a research paper is much different than writing a novel where you can write a novel even if you haven’t read any novel in your life. In case of writing a research article, you can’t write a research paper (on any topic) without reading existing literature. You need a base and a theory to support your arguments. It’s a scholarly article that can’t exist in isolation.

Here is what in-depth literature review will help you with:

  • It will clarify your topic and will help you refine it
  • It helps you find theories and models
  • It helps you narrow the focus of your research
  • You get to learn everything about your research topic
  • You get resources that you can cite in your research paper
  • It helps you create a thesis for your research paper
  • You give an overview of the past research to the readers which helps them better understand your research and how it is relevant to the existing research

how to review literature for your research paper

Follow these steps to review the literature for your research paper.

Step #1: Select Literature to Review

Identify keywords that are relevant to your research topic and start searching for the existing literature. Google Scholar and your university’s library should be your starting point.

Besides, you can access databases like JSTOR , Medline , EBSCO , and others to search for articles, books, and other relevant material. You’ll be able to access databases and journals that your university has an agreement with so it’d be best to use your university’s resources.

Step #2: Take Notes

The literature review is a part of your research paper so it will be best to start writing it as you review and analyze literature. You need to interpret and synthesize published work with your critique.

ways to review literature

If you want, you can create an Excel sheet where you can add article titles with their key findings and your comments. This type of sheet helps you keep a record of all the literature reviewed.

Step #3: Write

Don’t just write a summary of the literature rather add your arguments, critique, and analysis. Create a structure for your literature review as it makes writing easier. Here is a structure that you should follow:

  • Introduction: Tell readers the purpose of the introduction.
  • Body: Organize literature in one of the forms: Systematic, chronological, theoretically, thematic, or methodological.
  • Conclusion: Highlight key findings and summarize your literature review.

By the time you’ll be done with the literature review, you’ll have a thorough understanding of your research topic.

Step #5: Organize Your Research

If you’re writing a research paper for the first time and don’t know anything about how to write a good research paper or how to do a research paper, you’ll get lost easily.

Because writing a research article is not the same as how to write a novel. It’s much different. You have to read a lot of literature, you have to take notes, and you have to keep everything organized.

Organizing your research, literature, notes, PDFs, data files, and other resources are essential. Your research paper isn’t just the paper you write but it is based on and is linked to several other elements.

Organizing your research paper and research work is essential.

It also helps you write a research paper fast. I mean if you’re short of time, you don’t want to spend half of your day finding missing files, literature, and theories that you have already reviewed. This is why using tools is essential.

First off, if you’re interested in writing your research paper fast, you need a writing software like Squibler .

Why Squibler specifically?

Because it helps you organize your content, paper, literature, and everything else. Authors use it to organize their manuscripts and to get their books published fast (in as low as 30 days). This shows how powerful this tool can be for your research paper’s organization.

Squibler alone will reduce your writing time to a great extent. If you’re in a hurry, don’t miss it.

But Squibler isn’t all you need, it helps you manage and organize your files, manuscript, and content, you still need other tools to manage other stuff. Here is a list of tools that you must use to organize your research:

  • NVivo for reviewing the literature and for qualitative analysis
  • EndNote for managing references and citations
  • Grammarly for writing, editing, plagiarism, and proofreading
  • Evernote for taking notes and managing your research
  • Scrivener for writing and managing your research paper

You should also check with your university for tools and apps. You might get access to tools for free that have partnered with your university. In any case, don’t go without tools as they can save you a lot of time at the end of the day.

Step #6: Create a Thesis Statement

Now that you have reviewed a lot of literature, refined your research topic, and have organized your research work (so far) appropriately, it is time to create your thesis statement.

A thesis statement is a one-sentence that defines your research and topic. It tells the readers what your research paper will discuss. Here is an example of a thesis statement:

thesis statement example

The thesis statement is derived from the literature. You can’t (and in fact shouldn’t) write a thesis statement without extensive review of the literature.

Here is what a thesis statement does:

  • It tells readers what big problem you’re addressing
  • It sets the expectations of the readers
  • It shows how you’ll interpretation of the question your research paper will address
  • It makes a claim

In simple words, your thesis statement is a sentence that represents your point of view (or argument) about the topic that you’ll defend in the rest of the research paper.

Here is an example of a good and a bad thesis statement:

good and bad thesis statement example

Your thesis statement should be:

  • Unambiguous
  • Shows your position or point of view

A great technique to create a thesis statement is to convert your research paper topic into a question and then answer the question is a sentence or two. The answer to the question will be your thesis statement.

For instance, your topic is to discuss the benefits of cinnamon for weight loss .

Convert it into a question as: What are the benefits of using cinnamon for weight loss?

Answer it as: The benefits of using cinnamon for weight loss are …

This answer is your thesis statement. Make it a bit scholarly as: Using cinnamon will reduce weight by …

That’s how simple it is.

Step #7: Create an Outline

Once you’re done with the thesis statement, you need to create an outline for research paper. You can skip this step if you want but it isn’t recommended. If you plan to write a decent research article and if you want to know how to write a good research paper, you should know the ins and outs of creating an outline.

An outline for research paper helps you structure your paper. It tells you what you’re supposed to do and how to do it. And it helps you write your research paper fast.

Here is how an outline for research paper looks like :

outline for research paper

The outline can be as detailed as you want or as short as you want it to be. You should, however, keep outline fairly detailed by listing all the headings and subheadings. List what you’ll cover in each subheading. The following outline for research paper is a perfect example that lists all the major portions of the article:

example of outline for research paper

If you’re writing a research paper as a degree requirement, you’ll get an outline template from your university. Follow the template and stick with it.

If your university doesn’t provide you with a template, you can find a free template from the internet. There are tons of free templates available out there for research papers that help you with research paper format and outline.

For journal submissions, you’ll have to create an outline using the journal’s author guidelines. Journals have specific requirements in terms of word count, headings, subheadings, number of tables, number of figures, etc. They provide you with in-depth details so in this case, creating an outline becomes a whole lot easier.

Follow these tips to create a perfect outline for your research paper:

  • Start by listing the major headlines including abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, bibliography, and appendices.
  • Add subheadings by looking at previous research papers.
  • Since you have already reviewed literature, you’ll be in a better position to identify subheadings and sections for your research paper.
  • Keep outline flexible.
  • Don’t hesitate to tweak your outline. You should update it as you start writing your paper.

Step #8: Start Writing

Finally, it’s the stage in your how to write a research paper guide where you can start writing it. I have to admit that writing is the most difficult part. The good news is that you have already done most of the hard work by preparing an outline, thesis statement, and literature review.

You now need to write the remaining sections as per outline which normally includes:



The introduction is derived from the thesis statement and literature review. You have to write the background, research purpose, research questions and objectives, the significance of your research paper, and the structure of the research paper.

It isn’t a very detailed section rather it lays the foundation of your paper. The introduction needs to be interesting so readers don’t lose interest and continue reading.

This section comes right after the literature review where you mention the methodology you’ll follow to conduct your research. This is an important section of your research paper that needs to be written clearly.

Methodology includes:

  • Research methods
  • Research philosophy
  • Population and sampling techniques
  • Data collection and data analysis techniques
  • Instruments and scale used
  • Pilot study details

You need to justify your selection of research methods and techniques with strong arguments. For instance, if you’re doing qualitative research, you need to present arguments as to why you selected qualitative research as opposed to quantitative.

This section covers the results of your research paper. It happens to be a crucial part of your research paper as it highlights the findings of your research which is your contribution.

Write your results scientifically in this section and relate them to your thesis statement and research questions. Add tables, figures, and other details from the statistical tool that you used in your study.

Explain your results in detail in the discussion section. Link results to theory and literature. You need to explain results in an easy-to-understand language not just scientifically. Provide arguments for your results that weren’t supported by theory or weren’t as expected.

The discussion section includes:

  • Discussion on results
  • Limitations of the research paper
  • Implications
  • Future research directions

Finally, write a conclusion that summarizes your research paper’s findings and contribution. The conclusion should give a concise overview of your research paper that should be meaningful in isolation.

Step #9: Edit and Revise

This is the last step in how to write a research paper process. You have written the first draft and it’s time to edit and revise it.

You need to complete the first draft of your manuscript well before the submission date so you get time to edit and tweak it. This is where the Gantt chart becomes so handy. In the absence of planning, you’ll finish your first draft right on the last day leaving no room for edits.

Editing your research paper is essential. You need to go through it once and fix errors and typos. Then use editing software like Grammarly to fix grammatical errors, typos, sentence structure errors, and to check plagiarism. It is an extremely handy tool. You can use its Word extension to fix errors as you type.

As you find and fix errors in your draft, revise it by fixing sentence structure and flow. Academic writing is different than other types of writing (fiction, non-fiction, etc.) so you have to make sure your research paper’s language is academic. You might have to revise sentences and even paragraphs to make them robust.

It is a good idea to have someone preferably a colleague review your research paper. This is a great way to find and fix errors that might go unnoticed otherwise.

Start Writing Your Research Paper

A research paper is way different than novel writing and other types of writing. If you know how to write a novel or how to write a book , it doesn’t mean you’ll know how to write a research paper. If you think you can write a research paper just because you have written a novel, you’re mistaken.

Research paper writing is something different. You need to learn it. You need to at least learn the basics. The 9-step to writing a research paper fast discussed in this guide is more than enough to help you get started right away. You’re all set to write an amazing paper.

Get cracking.

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12 Tips for Accelerating Manuscript Publication

Want to publish your research faster? In this article, you will find best practices for speeding up time to publication. Read to learn more!

Updated on January 5, 2013

researcher at a computer to accelerate her manuscript publication

Research is often a slow process, requiring the careful design, optimization, and replication of experiments. By the time you have accrued enough data to write a manuscript, you will likely want to publish as soon as possible. Rapid publication can accelerate the dissemination of findings, decrease the likelihood of being scooped, and allow a quicker return to the laboratory to work on the next study. Whether you are currently performing experiments or are in the midst of writing, the following tips may help to increase your publication speed:

1. Keep your figures in mind

Designing key experiments with publication in mind, including the proper controls and layout, reduces the time wasted on repeating work to obtain more complete or presentable data. Additionally, consider drafting your figures early, particularly because this process can become more time consuming and daunting if weeks or months have passed since you collected the data. AJE's academic illustration services are also a good source for assistance with figure formatting or creation of custom illustrations, especially when you are pressed for time.

2. Start writing early

Even if you do not have a complete set of experiments, you can begin writing your paper right away. The background/introduction section, which is typically based on past research, lends itself particularly well to prewriting. Composing the materials and methods section while the protocols are still fresh in your mind can also expedite manuscript preparation.

3. Write clearly

Unfortunately, the publication of a well-designed study with significant implications may be impeded by unclear writing. In particular, editors and reviewers may have difficulty understanding the content and may even harbor negative bias against poorly written manuscripts, making rejection more likely. This is a particular barrier to publication for non-native English speakers. For help with your writing, consider asking your colleagues for input on your manuscript, referring to AJE's Author Resource Center for editing tips, and/or using AJE's editing services or translation services .

4. Use reference formatting software

This type of software can be used to archive relevant references, decreasing the time spent on searching for papers that you have read previously. Moreover, when you are working on a manuscript, reference managers can automatically format your citations according to the target journal's guidelines and update your reference list whenever you add or remove a citation, saving additional time. Software such as Zotero is freely available.

5. Know when to submit

If you already have a large amount of data on hand but are still running experiments, consider whether your research can be split into two separate stories. This approach will allow the faster publication of earlier studies, even before later ones are finished.

6. Seek pre-publication peer review

Using a service such as Peerage of Science or Axios, which provide peer review before journal submission, can further increase publication speed. You can also simply get feedback from your colleagues on the strength of your paper using our free developmental editing template . With this feedback in hand before you submit, you can avoid some of the objections of journal reviewers.

7. Choose the right journal

To increase the probability of paper acceptance, try to select a journal whose scope is a good fit for your research focus . Conferring with your colleagues, reviewing your own reference list, and browsing journals' websites and recent tables of contents may be useful for this purpose. You may also want to consider journals and publishers (such as Elsevier ) that favor a more rapid turnaround between submission and decision-making. Submitting to open access journals, such as PeerJ and PLOS ONE (advertised as “accelerating the publication of peer-reviewed science”), which tend to focus on scientific validity over novelty and significance , may further help to hasten publication.

8. Contact the journal

A pre-submission inquiry consists of a letter written to a journal to gauge its interest in your manuscript. This inquiry may help to rapidly determine whether your paper would be a good fit for the journal without having to proceed through the entire submission and peer review process. Different journals may have varying requirements for the content of these requests; for example, Current Biology requires submission of the abstract of your manuscript along with your letter. Note that in certain cases, such as when considering publication in PLOS Medicine , a pre-submission inquiry may in fact be required.

9. Adhere to the guidelines

Follow the guidelines of the target journal carefully for the cover letter, main text, references, figures and tables, and any supplementary information to avoid unnecessary delays in publication. AJE's manuscript formatting service can facilitate adherence to such guidelines.

10. Write an effective cover letter

The cover letter that accompanies your submission provides the opportunity to highlight the relevance of your work to the journal and to showcase your key findings. An effective cover letter sent to an appropriate journal can potentially convince the editor to immediately send your manuscript out for review.

11. Follow up with the journal

If you submitted your manuscript to a journal but still have not received a decision, you may want to consider checking with the editor about the status of your submission. The standard amount of time from submission to decision making can vary between journals and fields, so you may want to confer with colleagues or check the journal website to determine whether you have been waiting longer than usual.

12. Write an effective response to reviewers

A thorough, clear, and polite response to editors' and reviewers' comments will help to reduce the likelihood of rejection or another round of review, thus saving you additional time.

Wherever you are in the process of researching and writing, we hope that these 12 tips will help to accelerate the publication of your manuscript. You can also refer to our Choosing a Journal series for further guidance on publishing in a timely fashion, or send us an email any time at [email protected] . AJE wishes you the best of luck!

Michaela Panter, Writing Support Consultant at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, PhD, Immunobiology, Yale University

Michaela Panter, PhD

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