Manuscript Tips: Create a Title Page

The following is the first in a series on writing for publication from Kris Greiner, medical and scientific editor in the Design Center. Explore her suite of editing services.

If you’re a new writer, one of the first things that can be overlooked in preparing a manuscript is the title page. If you know which journal you plan to submit to, check their instructions. There’s no guessing at what goes on a title page – every journal will tell you what information they need. Don’t skip anything required – it’s a fast way to get your paper rejected before it’s even reviewed.

So, once you know what you have to include, here are some tips on how to write those required bits of information.

Manuscript title: keep it as short and concise as possible. Many journals even limit the number of characters allowed. Use key terms. Avoid abbreviations. If a “running title” or “running head” is required, cut your full title into as few words as possible, summing up the general theme of the paper.

Authors: check with coauthors to be sure everyone agrees on the order of names. Use full, professional names and ask coauthors how they prefer their name to be listed. If degrees are included, make sure you haven’t left one off; e.g., MD, PhD.

If two or more authors share equal responsibility, note with an asterisk (*) or other symbol and note “Authors contributed equally.”

Affiliations: follow the journal’s instructions for how to denote authors from different departments or institutions, usually by superscripted numerals, letters or symbols. Make sure to include proper names of departments or divisions. (More on affiliations coming soon.) If an author has relocated, list their affiliation where they were when the work was done.

Corresponding author: be sure to include all contact information the journal requires. Some ask for full mailing address (and be sure to check what yours really is), some will only require email address. Do not note more than one corresponding author.

Any other required into: many journals ask authors to note word count, key terms, funding sources, a running title, or a number of other bits of information. Don’t skip anything!

For questions on title page elements, feel free to contact me, at kristina-greiner@uiowa.edu.

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