ACS Author Lab is a free online course that empowers authors to prepare and submit strong manuscripts, avoiding errors that could lead to delays in the publication process.

Expert input

ACS Author Lab has been developed by ACS Editors and ACS Publications staff to help authors identify key considerations for each step of publishing a manuscript.


Checklists are available for download, providing continued access to valuable and relevant tips and tricks.


The course consists of eight interactive, self-paced modules (described in full below), each taking approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.

Certificate of completion

Graduates of ACS Author Lab receive a certificate of completion that can be shared with their network.

Multi-media content

The modules contain narrated presentations, brief videos, feedback from ACS journal editors, real-world examples from published articles, and knowledge checks that highlight key information. Links throughout the course connect to other valuable resources, including the ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication.


Module 1 — Select the Right Journal

How to evaluate journal quality and goals, matching them to your manuscript’s audience so you submit to the right journal the first time.

Module 2 — Showcase the Significance of Your Work

Tips for crafting a strong title and abstract, plus how to use active, concise language to ensure that your manuscript appeals to readers (including your first readers – the editors and reviewers).

Module 3 — Effectively Describe Your Research

How to write a detailed outline you can turn into a strong manuscript that clearly and thoroughly conveys your key research data and important findings.

Module 4 — Create Publication-Ready Visuals

The best visual elements for different types of data, with best practices for how to generate figures, tables, and Table of Contents graphics.

Module 5 — Finalize Your Manuscript and Prepare for Submission

All the finishing touches that will get your manuscript ready for the journal, plus other elements such as the cover letter that you’ll need when you submit.

Module 6 — Navigate the Revision Process

Common reasons that manuscripts are rejected and how to avoid them, with guidance on how to effectively respond to feedback from reviewers and editors.

Module 7 — Adhere to Ethical Guidelines

Guidance for selecting the final author list, understanding licenses and permissions, and avoiding unethical behavior such as plagiarism and improper image manipulation.

Module 8 — An Academic Writing Approach for Multilingual Authors

A proven method for multilingual authors to create a bank of useful English academic phrases to help finalize manuscripts, plus advice on how to overcome common writing errors.

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