I am sharing a summary of my editing service and online English classes:


11 steps to structuring a science paper editors will take seriously

A seasoned editor gives advice to get your work published in an international journal

I am sharing a link to this article that provides some basic guidelines for writing an IMRAD research article:  https://www.elsevier.com/connect/11-steps-to-structuring-a-science-paper-editors-will-take-seriously 
I hope you, your students or colleagues find it useful. If you need a revision of the English and other textual conventions of your research paper, click on the following link to Academic English Solutions where you can read more about my editing service https://www.academicenglishsolutions.com

I am sharing an article with tips and suggestions for writing research articles:  

How to Prepare a Manuscript for International Journals


Here is a checklist from the article. To read more, click on the link above.

1. Think about why you want to publish your work – and whether it's publishable.

    2. Decide what type of the manuscript to write.

    3. Choose the target journal.

    4. Pay attention to journal requirements in the Guide for Authors.

    5. Pay attention to the structure of the paper.

    6. Understand publication ethics to avoid violations.

    In addition, Academic English Solutions provides editing of scientific manuscripts and research papers. I also offer a wide range of online English classes. Here is a link to my page where you can read more about my editorial service and online classes:

    Tips for Responding to an Editor's Request for a Revision of a Manuscript

    Tips for Responding to an Editor's Request for a Revision of a Manuscript

    What do you do when you submit your paper to a journal, and you are asked to revise and resubmit it?

    As a copyeditor, I have read a fair amount of these messages to various authors. Admittedly, an occasional referee may be too harsh, critical, arrogant or unprofessional in the tone of their message. Why would they do this? Who knows why people in general may do rude things, no less a journal editor or referee. Yet more important, I feel your response to such messages should “take the higher road”, being generous, calm and diplomatic as possible, and not stooping to the same level by writing back angry insulting comments in response.

    I recommend a cautious diplomatic response because your ultimate goal is to get the paper published, and if they are just asking you to make some reasonable changes, it is not worth responding to the rude comments of the referees.

    Another reason I recommend a moderate diplomatic response, is because I have also seen situations where the authors respond to what they perceived as an insult or slight by the referee, but when I read the message of the referee, I saw no such slight. Perhaps it is easy to misread an insult where there is none if English is not your native tongue. Also, I think this may occur because authors are very close to their research, having put their “blood, sweat, and tears” into the work, so when they hear criticism of something they are generally proud of, they may be overly sensitive, and not be able to hear nuance in criticism, which is all perfectly natural and understandable.

    I have seen some cases where authors are quite defensive about a study’s shortcomings pointed out by the referee, yet the authors will assume it is a nationalistic differences between the authors and the referees. I have heard many accusations about referees from developed nations not respecting the research from certain developing nations. While there may be some truths to these claims, I think there is also quite a lot of defensive reactivity when author’s receive critical comments. As Swales and Feak recommend, it may be best to just read the comments, and let some time pass before responding. Not much is too be gained by a vitriolic response.

    Even if the comments of are referee are entirely irrelevant, incorrect, impolite, biased and prejudices, I recommend using comments like this in response:

    While we have fully considered referee B’s comments about X, we respectfully disagree and wish to refer him to recent studies demonstrating X.


    We politely beg to differ with referee A’s criticism of our method. We wish to note that our method is fully consistent with the literature on this method.

    Here are some general guidelines for corresponding with the journal editor quoted directly from Navigating Academia: Writing Supporting Genres:

    1. Remember that an invitation to revise is usually a positive sign. So do not take criticisms personally.
    2. Read the editor’s letter and reviewer’s comments carefully.
    3. If the editor suggests getting help with the English, choose someone who has some understanding of you research area as well as a good knowledge of the language.
    4. Respond to each of the major comments. (Minor ones such as spelling corrections or corrections to references do not need detailed commentary).
    5. In your response, help the editor by using detailed references to the text such as “p. 2 first para.”
    6. Thank people for useful suggestions but do not automatically defer to the editor or reviewers. If you disagree with a comment, explain why.
    7. If you have made additional changes not suggested by the reviewers briefly explain what they are and why you have made them.
    8. If you have been asked to revise and resubmit, do so as quickly as convenient.
    9. Explain what you are doing about any page charges or fees, if this is appropriate.
    10. If you do not plan to revise, inform the editor of you decision.

    For further details about Navigating Academia Genres (John M. Swales, Christine Feak):


    Other guidelines:


    Finally, I am very curious to hear your experiences and opinions about responding to editor’s requests to have your paper

    Free copy of my book for first-time customers using my editorial service

    I recently made major improvements to my ebook, English for Research Papers: A Handbook for Brazilian Authors. If you previously purchased a copy, you can download the new version on your Kindle reader for free. It should make a big difference in navigating the book more easily. I hope you find it helpful. I am also offering a free copy of my book to any first time customers to my editorial service. Contact me for more information about my editing service, or read more about it on my website:


    Here is a link to my book on Amazon:


    If you like the new version, I would be grateful if you consider writing a comment or review on its page on Amazon.

    Free copy of my book for first-time customers using my editorial service

    I recently made major improvements to my ebook, English for Research Papers: A Handbook for Brazilian Authors. If you previously purchased a copy, you can download the new version on your Kindle reader for free. It should make a big difference in navigating the book more easily. I hope you find it helpful. I am also offering a free copy of my book to any first time customers to my editorial service. Contact me for more information about my editing service, or read more about it on my website:


    Here is a link to my book on Amazon:


    If you like the new version, I would be grateful if you consider writing a comment or review on its page on Amazon.
    Tips on writing cover letters, resumes, and CVs.

    First, let me start with a disclaimer: I am no expert in this area. I have over the years revised the English of cover letters, resumes and CVs for a variety of researchers, business people, academics and other individuals whose first language is not English, but I cannot claim any expertise in this area. I am just offering my opinion here, along with a few quotes from a few popular books on the subject. My expertise is in teaching English and in editing of research papers, scientific manuscripts, books and other academic texts. You can read more about my online classes or editorial services on my website if you are curious:

    My goal here is to pass on some general information that I hope may be useful to you if you are a non native speaker of English applying for a job as a professor, a researcher, or post doc position, where you need to communicate in English. Much of this information is gleaned from my experience in the US, but it could apply to other countries as well.

    I will divide this into three sections devoted to cover letters, resumes and CVs. I will include some of my personal observations, as well as a few books I have read lately about the subject. This is not and exhaustive list or coverage of these issues. You can find a great deal of free information online and you should also be aware that this information and conventions for writing cover letters and CVs vary according to the wide range of academic fields and work.

    While most people understand the importance of sending a cover letter with a job application, I once had someone ask me to revise a resume he was going to send a potential employer, without sending a cover letter. He told me that in his country it was fine to simply send a resume to a potential employer.  I don’t really know if this is true for any country, but I will say that for the US and many other countries, the cover letter is an essential tool for introducing yourself to a potential employer, as well as a means of setting yourself apart from all other applicants. The cover letter serves a bridge between your general resume, and the specific skills, strengths and experiences you want to point out that are relevant to the job you are applying for. For every job you apply to, you should create a specific cover letter that connects your specific skills to the skills needed for the job you are applying for. Typically, you can use sentences like these to draw you reader’s attention to various experiences on your resume:

                As you can see from my resume, I have been trained in various next-generation DNA sequencing platforms, including Ion torrent, Ion PGM, SOLiD 5500W, and gold standard Sanger.

                As you can see from my resume, I attended the University of Massachusetts and graduated with a Masters in education, and I have earned a lifetime certification to teach English Language learner grades K-12 in Massachusetts’ public schools.

    Cover letters are typically no more than one or two pages long. I recommend before you write yours that you create a general outline so that it is well structured. You might begin by thanking the hiring manager for considering your application:

                Thank you Dr. Smith for considering me for the position of clinical director at your institution.

    You might then make a general statement about how you see yourself in relation to the job

                I believe I am particularly well suited for the position of X.

    I am confident that my experience and expertise in this area make me a good fit for this position.

    I believe my training and experience making me a particularly strong candidate for this position.

    From this point, you might give a general hint as to what you will say in the rest of the cover letter:

    I would like to stress how my education, work experience, and personality would support me in carrying out this work.

    From this point, you could then write three paragraphs related to each of these topics: education, work experience, and personality.

    In each of these paragraphs, you could make some general point about how you education, work experience, and personality relate to the job, and then give specific details and examples that support this. One point I would make here is that many cover letters can be very general, cliché, and vague. Here is your chance to give concrete details and examples that support your claim that you are a great candidate for the job. Your goal should not be simply to show that you have the basic qualifications for the job, but instead, to show how you stand out from the others. You might, for example, offer a unique vision or plan that you believe you might enact if you were to get the job. Even if your plan is not appealing or feasible, you will at least impress the potential employer by showing that you have initiative, that you are a self-starter, that you have dreams and visions, that you inventive and clever. I believe this sort of strategy is effective in various fields, as employers don’t simply want someone who can just do the job, but someone who will do the job with great commitment, passion and drive, as well as someone who could transform or qualitatively improve a workplace or institution.

    Another purpose of the cover letter is the highlight your specific skills and talents that may not be apparent in the resume. In some cases, you will simply need to mention specific areas of expertise you have, and in others you may need to be more creative in making a connection between one former job experience and the job you are targeting, which may be very different from your past job. Yet, you certainly want to be as concrete and clear as possible in making these connections, as it is really your responsibility to point out your skills to any potential employer. The people who read resumes are known to quickly scan the dozens of resumes and applications they receive, so take your time to make your story clear and compelling. Sometimes you will only have a few seconds of their attention so you will want to grab their attention and showcase your achievements and skills. This is not the place for modesty and being humble. As we say in the US, if you got it, flaunt it. In other words, you need to explicitly bring attention to your achievements and skills.

    One additional approach you can take is to highlight certain personality traits you have that may make you particularly suited for a job. While this is an approach that is often overlooked, I want to emphasize how important I think this is. I believe that most people applying for a professional job will have impressive credentials and experience, yet many will not have the particular character traits that employers will desire. So if you have these traits, be sure to name them. More importantly, while skills and training can be added over one’s lifetime, personality is not as easily improved, since many people don’t have great self-awareness of their personality weaknesses an foibles, nor do they have the motivation to improve or modify them, so if you have great character traits that a certain job requires, then certainly mention them. Since employers dread hiring people who may poison the work atmosphere, they really do pay a great deal of attention to choosing people with positive character traits that make work a supportive place for everyone. So do not think that mentioning character traits is a trivial matter.

    Below are some examples of traits you might point out that could be desirable to an employer. If you are not familiar with some of the words, be sure to understand them in a good dictionary:

    I am a hard-working and conscientious worker. I am exceedingly meticulous and somewhat of a perfectionist. Consequently, I have been promoted and complimented on the quality of my work.

    I am a good team player, capable of get along well with diverse groups of people. I am quite tolerant of and appreciative of differences in others. I am easy-going, approachable and disarming, which has helped me collaborate with diverse groups who did not easily work well with each other.

    I am outgoing and I reach out to colleagues and co-workers to understand their concerns and needs.

    I am diligent and punctual, willing to go the extra mile to meet deadlines and do whatever is necessary for a project to succeed.

    I have a positive and upbeat attitude that can inspire others to do well.  I strive to bring out the best in others. I believe this has helped me contribute to a workplace with high morale, where people are pleased to come to work.

    I am a self-starter, showing initiative to problem-solve and figure out issues without needing constant guidance and help from my supervisors.

    I am passionate about my work. I am a highly energetic worker, fully committed to my work.

    I have a solid track record of thinking-outside-the-box. I am willing to try new approaches and take calculated risks that may result in major breakthroughs and novel solutions. I have been involved in groundbreaking and cutting-edge research in biomedical research. My work with X resulted in a paradigm-shift in this area of research.

    I hope this section above has illustrated some possible ways of emphasizing personality and character traits that will appeal to a potential employer. Since I primarily work with academics, scholars and researchers, I have less to say about, for example, applying for a job as a salesperson, or office manager, or financial advisor. Each area of work will have their particular catchphrases and topics that are more pertinent to them. Of course if you are in sales, you want to point out your skills in increasing the sales of a particular company. If you are an office manager, you want to point out your achievements in organization, networking, and coordinating office duties. If you would like to find more phrases particular to your area of expertise, you might check out, for instance, The Complete Book of Phrases for Successful Job Seekers. You can find it at Amazon:

    And, finally, while this may seem like a trivial point, typos, grammar errors, and confusing non idiomatic language is one of the first criteria used to eliminate the first round of job applicants, as these issues are judged as a sign of being unprofessional, careless, sloppy, and whether it’s fair or not, they are considered an indicator of how conscientiously you will perform your duties. Perhaps there is some truth to this assumption. So before you even get to impress a potential employer with your skills and achievements, your resume and cover letter will be promptly tossed in the trash bin if it is marred by numerous typographical errors. For a fresh perspective on them, have your friends and colleagues “crowd source” your cover letter and resume. Read them repeatedly for errors and clarity. Polish it as best you can. If you are non native speaker of English, have a native speaker revise your cover letter and resume. In addition to this, consider finding a professional editor to give you feedback on you cover letter, resume.

    I am also adding here a previous post on this topic below related to applying for a science job in the US:

    If you are applying for a science job in the US, you should follow certain conventions employers expect from applicants. Although I usually give advice on writing scientific manuscripts, I have been getting queries lately on resumes and cover letters. I am not familiar with conventions for applying for jobs in other countries, but I have seen people applying for jobs in the US without using a cover letter. If you simply send a resume for a job without a cover letter, it is highly unlikely that an employer will respond to you. Introducing yourself with a cover letter is standard practice in the US. If you are not sure about the form of the cover letter, you will need to write a letter in which you point out 2-3 things in your resume that are relevant to the job you are applying to. Also, point out 2-3 things in your personality or educational history that is relevant to this job. You can use phrases like, "As can be seen in my resume, I worked for 2 years as a....".  The cover letter serves as a bridge to connect your general lists of skills and experience found on your resume by pointing out how you are particularly suited for a certain job. 

    While it's critical to use a cover letter to point out your skills, work history and expertise, I also believe it is critical to mention personality features that make you suitable for the job. You may be surprised to know that many companies and HR directors are very interested in your personality and whether it will fit in with their team. While it's common for all applicants to have impressive technical skills, not everyone has the right personality for particular companies. Most companies can train you on the job if your skills don't fully match, but changing a personality is much trickier. So if you have the right personality, point this out too. Companies are fearful of hiring someone who is difficult, someone who may make others dread coming to work, so you should reassure them of how your personality is right for the job. Phrases like "I work well in teams", "I am considerate of others", "I am a good team player", "I work hard to be respectful and get along with my colleagues", etc., can be helpful. 

    I should also mention that errors in cover letters or CVs, no matter how minor they may seem, are considered unprofessional; consequently, I would polish and improve your CV as much as possible.For expert advice on writing a cover letter for a job in science, I recommend Writing a Winning Cover Letter by John K Borchardt  on Science Careers from Science Magazine. Below is an excerpt: 

    The Match
    "An effective cover letter doesn't just emphasize your best qualities; it also shows how well those qualities are likely to mesh with the open position. “Applicants should begin by reading advertisements for faculty positions carefully and be sure that their background and goals are appropriate for the position in question. You lose credibility if you can't make a case that you fit the ad,” says Whitmire.“If the cover letter is to be effective, it must definitely be tailored to the particular institution.”
    “There's no excuse for not writing a cover letter that shows how your education, experience, and interests fit with what the institution is seeking,” warns Julia Miller Vick, co-author of the Academic Job Search Handbook(University of Pennsylvania Press, July 2001). “Not doing this would reflect laziness,” observes Horvitz. At best, adds Vick, “a form letter or one that is generic doesn't accomplish much and leaves how the application is reviewed completely up to the reviewing committee." At worst, a generic cover letter can make you seem undesirable.
    “While many people applying for academic positions tend to think that the review process is an evaluation of their previous work--how good is it?--the issue that is as important is the match," says Whitmire. "How will this person fit in here? The former is necessary, but the decision to interview will often be made upon research area or some other measure of fit to the department's needs at that moment in time.”

    For the complete article click on the link below:

    For writing resumes (CVs) consider Tips for a Successful CV by Sarah A. Webb, (October 27, 2006) also from Science Careers from Science Magazine:

    Here is an excerpt:

    Basic CV do's and don'ts (for U.S. audiences)*

    • Include all relevant contact information: address, e-mail address, phone number, cell phone number.
    • Include a comprehensive listing of professional experiences.
    • Proofread for correct spelling and grammar.
    • Use relatively simple and consistent formatting.
    • Organize the document so that a reader can find important information quickly.
    • Use reverse chronological order throughout the document.
    • List all publications in the same reference style.
    • Be sure references are up-to-date and that your references know about jobs you're applying for.
    • Get feedback from colleagues, mentors, and career advisers.
    • Use complicated formatting.
    • Include certain personal information such as your Social Security number, date of birth, marital status, or number of children.
    • Include information about unrelated hobbies or interests that doesn't show professional experience or qualifications.
    • Pad your CV with extra words or spacing to make it appear longer.
    *Standards vary elsewhere, so get local advice.

    For the complete story click on the link below:

    Also simply do a search online for "form of cover letter" for more information on this topic.

    I revise cover letters and resumes. I also do Skype sessions simulating job interviews. If you are interested, you can find more information on my website about my editorial service and classes:

    You might also check out popular books like What Color is your Parachute? Guide to Rethinking Resumes. You can find it at Amazon:

    As well as: What Color Is Your Parachute? 2016: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers

    My next post here will be on resumes. I hope you found this information useful. Please send me your feedback.

    Best Wishes

    Jim Hesson