A cover letter serves a few important purposes when submitting your work to an academic journal. First, it helps introduce you and your research to the journal’s Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Board and to give them a brief overview of your paper. It also lets you explain why your paper is a good fit for the IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine and how it will contribute to the scholarly conversation. Finally, the cover letter can also indicate any special considerations that need to be taken into account when considering your manuscript for publication, such as clinical input to the study design, ethical approval, clinical interpretation or data access.
Regarding the novelty of a study, the cover letter is a great place to summarise the key findings and how they differ from existing research. The authors should clearly explain the significance of the translational nature of the study and how it adds to our experience of translating engineering knowledge into the clinic. Authors should explain how their research adds to the current literature and how it may have implications for healthcare and future research. If the study has implications for clinical practice, the authors should explain how the findings may shape medical decisions or patient outcomes. This is very important for the IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine as our expert reviewers come from clinical and biomedical engineering disciplines.
For example, if your study has implications for clinical practice, you can explain how the findings may shape medical decisions or patient outcomes. This would be an excellent opportunity to reinforce how your research translates from the study to the clinic. Authors are also encouraged not to over-embellish the findings of their study or their significance. Statements such as “novel” and “first-ever” demonstrate bias and will make reviewers question the authors’ ability to objectively assess the merits of their study.
Due to the importance of a cover letter, authors are encouraged to submit one as part of the manuscript submission process. However, some authors may choose not to submit a cover letter if they feel that the paper speaks for itself and no additional explanation is necessary. However, the IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine strongly encourage authors to submit a cover letter to fully set the context for their study for the Editorial Board as well as for our clinical and biomedical engineering reviewers.