The Letter is a form of publications that reports recent short studies with new and impactful results. To judge the scientific quality of a Letter manuscript, editors and reviewers usually consider the novelty, innovation, and implications of the study reported. Popular Letters journals (e.g. IEEE Letters journals) have a rapid turnaround for the short high-impact studies.
Depending on the requirements of Letters journals, Letters vary in length, from 2 to 4 typeset pages long. Despite its short length, the structure of a Letter resembles that of a Journal Article. A Letter often includes an abstract, an introduction, methods, results and discussion, and a conclusion. The expected content of each section in a Letter is as follows:
- The abstract consists of concise summary statements about each section in the Letter;
- The introduction provides essential background information to set the scene;
- The methods section contains adequate details about the experimental steps and analytical procedures for replication;
- The results and discussion section reports the experimental results, analysis and implications; and
- The conclusion reviews the main points and highlights the contribution and future applications.
It should be noted that Letters tend to report completed short studies with influential results rather than work-in-progress without empirical results. Although a Letter is short, sufficient experimental details that enable replicating experimental and analytical steps are expected.
When preparing a Letter manuscript, the author guide from the target Letter journal should be consulted so as to understand the target journal’s scope and requirements. Published Letters from the target journal can be good references about the writing style and approximate lengths of different sections. (269)
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