A Guide to Revising Your Research Paper Before Resubmission to an Academic Journal

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Prestigious academic journals have high standards, which means the writing in a paper must be of the same quality as the research itself. Therefore, any submissions that don’t meet all the requirements or still need some work to elevate them to the required standards will have to be revised before they’re accepted for publication. Journals frequently reject papers due solely to the quality of writing, so if yours doesn’t make the cut, don’t be quick to construe this as a reflection on the value of your research.  Perhaps it will comfort you to know that nearly every successful scholar has a bunch of rejection letters behind them.

Although it’s not always easy to accept criticism, keep in mind that everyone who has ever published a research paper has had to revise their writing at some point. Revision is simply a part of the writing process—first drafts never get published. So, instead of taking rejection personally, consider it a chance to improve your work and remember that the people critiquing it are experts in their fields and want to help you get published. Separate your sense of self-worth from your paper—being able to view it objectively will allow you to make the adjustments necessary to succeed.

If you’re not sure how to approach the revisions suggested by the journal’s editorial board, check out our deluxe academic package. It’s a specialized service for researchers in need of expert help with revising and improving their submissions. 

So, what steps can you take to ensure your paper will be accepted for publication when you resubmit? There are never any guarantees, of course, but these tips will dramatically boost your chances of getting published.

Don’t wait too long to resubmit your work 

If the editors gave you a chance to revise and resubmit your paper, take it! This means they can see the potential of your work and deem it a good fit for their journal (after their suggestions have been considered and implemented, of course). It’s an indication that they like your research and would be glad to publish it, but there are some issues with your writing that prevent them from accepting your article. You don’t want to give them time to forget about your research, and you definitely don’t want it to become obsolete or irrelevant, so fix any issues they have highlighted and resubmit your paper as soon as you can. Even if you have to make a lot of revisions, completing them promptly is worth it.

That said, take as much time as you need to get your manuscript to where it needs to be: It’s always better to take longer than to submit subpar work. Rushed jobs don’t deliver great results, and revising a research paper is a demanding, time-consuming job, so be sure to make room for it in your schedule and prepare for the hard work ahead. You may need to sacrifice other items on your to-do list, but sometimes that’s necessary if you want to succeed. 

Again, this is a great opportunity to fix any and all issues with your paper and to resubmit an impeccable manuscript, so take it seriously. Don’t get discouraged—it can be disheartening to have to tear your entire paper apart after you painstakingly put it together, but that’s all part of the process. If you were able to write the paper, you’ll also be able to revise it.

Follow the editorial board’s instructions

There’s no use revising your research paper if you don’t follow the editorial board’s instructions and suggestions. These are usually outlined in the email they sent you, which you should study carefully and follow strictly. 

Remember: The editors are giving you a second chance to submit your paper because they believe it’s worthy of publication, so don’t take their comments lightly. Since they’re telling you how your paper needs to look to land a spot in their journal, any liberties you take are at your own risk. If you disagree with some of their suggestions, you should explain why instead of ignoring them. It’s possible that they misunderstood something in your paper, in which case you should work on making your explanations clearer and modifying any ambiguous sections.

We suggest focusing on the smaller issues first, which will be easier to fix, before moving on to the larger ones. Work through your paper in rounds, concentrating on one element at a time—this can streamline the process and keep you focused on the task at hand. Leave any grammar and spelling mistakes until the very end because there’s no point in fixing them before you revise your entire document. 

Also, make sure you follow the editors’ specific instructions on how to show your changes and revisions as each publication will have its own rules and guidelines for submitting revised papers. It’s important to always adhere to a journal’s submission guidelines in all aspects of the writing and publishing process.

Work with the same writing team

Many academic papers are written by a team. If you’re the sole author of your paper, all the revision work will fall on you, which can be good and bad—it’s a heavier workload for you, but you don’t need to coordinate with other people, who might have different opinions. If you worked with a group of colleagues, it’s the responsibility of the entire team to revise and resubmit the paper once all the issues flagged by the editorial board have been addressed. 

It’s typical to have a team leader when working in a group, and it’s common practice for the leader to maintain their position during revisions. However, they should always confer with the rest of the team to ensure everyone agrees with the changes and is satisfied with the quality of the new draft. Anyone whose name features on the paper should sign off on the new version before you submit it for publication.

Adopt a long-term mindset

Making revisions for resubmission is no easy task, but it’s a worthy investment of time and energy if you want to enhance your resume and advance your career. Revising a paper is almost always less enjoyable than writing it because it can feel like you have backtracked and had to take a slightly different route to the same destination. Just remember that all academics—and writers in general—have to go through this. Do your best to revise your paper as instructed and apply the lessons learned to your next journal submission. 

If the issues with your research paper are mostly related to grammar, spelling, and structure, our team of professional academic writers stands ready to assist. Click here to get an instant quote for our combined proofreading and editing service and let the experts help you take the next step in your academic journey! 

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