KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Edifix: Subscription Cloud-Based Service to Automate Editing and Styling of References

So far I am liking Edifix, a subscription cloud-based service that edits reference-list entries to match specified styles and provides digital object identifiers (DOIs) and/or PubMed identifiers (PMIDs) when available. I am experimenting with it via a free trial. I have no financial interest in the software or its producer.

Because more and more biomedical journals ask authors to provide DOIs and/or PMIDs, using this tool may save me lots of time, because I can say from experience that my authors are not going to go back and hunt down DOIs if I ask them to. Plus, editing a reference list for style and fixing incorrect details? Yes, I'll still need to read to ensure that all edited references look good. But the less time I have to spend on boring, repetitive tasks such as editing 56 entries in a reference list to fit a particular style, the more time I'll have for the get-down-in-the-mud-and-wrestle editing that I love to do.

Is Edifix a reference manager? No, said Bruce Rosenblum, CEO of Inera (the parent company for Edifix), in a recent interview on the blog of the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers:

There are a number of tools on the market for managing bibliographic references; these tools are used primarily by researchers for maintaining reference databases and creating reference lists. Edifix, however, is not a reference manager. Reference managers require structured or fielded reference elements, which for plain-text references—the kind you find in a typical manuscript—involves a lot of cutting, pasting, and re-keying of reference data.

The styles that Edifix can currently follow are

Once Edifix has run your batch of references, you can use the "Copy References to Clipboard" button and then paste the edited references into your document.

What I really like is that when Edifix can't properly format a particular reference, it tells you why, as in these two examples:

Edifix has not updated ref. 4 "Hart, Cabalo, Bess, et al., 2013" because year differs from the author original, and volume and first page are missing. The PubMed reference is Hart R, Cabalo A, Bess S, Akbarnia B, Boachie-Adjei O, Burton D et al.; The International Spine Study Group. Comparison of Patient and Surgeon Perceptions of Adverse Events Following Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2012 Nov

Edifix does not recognize the journal "J Jpn Orthop Ass" (in reference 26 "Izumida, Inoue, 1985"). If this is a valid journal title, please send this reference to journals@inera.com and we will add it to the Edifix journal database [italics and color are mine].

The following comment from Edifix on a problematic reference is invaluable, because I can use it to show my author or publisher client how resourceful I am, and the author can avoid appearing uninformed:

PubMed reports that reference 3 "Van Luit, Van der Molen, 2011" was retracted in "Res Dev Disabil. 2011 Nov-Dec;32(6):3018".

I asked Melissa-Leigh Gore from Customer Support whether Inera has plans to add capabilities to Edifix for more styles, such as Bluebook (The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation), Harvard, Turabian, AP (Associated Press Stylebook), Vancouver, ACS (American Chemical Society), AMS (American Mathematical Society), CSE (Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers), and ASA (American Sociological Association). She replied:

First, our ICMJE style is sometimes also referred to as Vancouver, so that may be of interest. We are planning to add CSE imminently, since we already have the template built. (We do very well with STM content in particular.) I would expect that to roll out in the next couple months. In the longer term, we are aiming to offer Citation Style Language [CSL] support, which would open up over 7,000 style templates for users to apply to their bibliographies, presumably including some of the others you indicated. There is more info here. The CSL integration does not yet have an expected launch date.

Now all I have to do is decide which pricing plan will work for me, because I can already see that this software is going to save me time, which is money:

Subscription plans for Edifix

I have shown here only the plans that I will consider. I'll likely start with the monthly basic plan and then move up to the monthly plus plan if necessary. But there are also corporate plans, called Enterprise Plans, for publishers and other large organizations.

You can follow @Edifix on Twitter for tips about product use.

How did I find out about Edifix? I saw an ad for it in the July–August 2014 issue of The Freelancer, the newsletter of the Editorial Freelancers Association. That's an example of one of the ways it pays to be a member of a profession-related organization.

Have you tried Edifix? If so, please describe your experience with it in the comments.

[Updated at 5:13 p.m. Eastern time on August 27, 2014:] I asked customer-service rep Gore, "If I need to run 400 references through Edifix, can I do that all at once? Or does Edifix need to be served smaller chunks at any one time?"

She answered, "Technically, yes, we can run 400 references at once under perfect circumstances. However, this requires having a connection open to our reference processing server for a long time, and sometimes things can go wrong (the internet connection drops out, you click out of the page accidentally, etc). Based on that, presently we recommend not exceeding ~200 references per job for best performance."


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How to Cope at Work When Your Personal Life Stinks

I like this advice on coping at work when your personal life is falling apart. Though I've been self-employed for 20 years now, I've been an employee who (eons ago) had to deal with a job while going through a divorce, being a single mom, and experiencing assorted other difficulties. When life has presented me with take-your-breath-away bad moments during the years I've been self-employed, I've been able to cope because of the online support of friends around the world.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Resources for Editors New to Setting Fees

For editors who are new to self-employment and who have difficulty with setting their fees, here is a list of resources that I culled from the "Business Tools" page of my Copyeditors' Knowledge Base:

  • What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants: e-book or paperback
If you have favorite resources that aren't listed here, please share their names or titles and links to them.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Dear Newly Self-Employed Editors . . .

A few newly self-employed editors and soon-to-be self-employed editors kept me awake the other night.

No, they weren't partying noisily in my living room. They were in my head, asking for reassurance that self-employment won’t leave them broke and regretting that they left the safety of a weekly paycheck and workdays laid out for them by a supervisor. Those editors in my head told me that all the good things I’m always saying online about being self-employed helped convince them that they too can succeed at self-employment. To get them to leave my head, I had to write this post. I had to make sure that they’re developing a realistic view of freelancing.

Even after nearly 20 years of running my own editing business, I haven't burned out. In fact, some might say that I sound like a cheerleader for self-employment:

I started my own business in 1995. Coincidentally, I haven't hated work since December 1994.
~ * ~
My international authors rock! One of my longtime authors from Japan was having trouble finding the right words in English to explain to me the concept he was trying to express in his manuscript. I don't speak or read Japanese, so we couldn't use that route. So I guessed, he guessed, and we still weren't where he wanted to be. Teacher that he is—in addition to being a surgeon and an author—he drew me a picture and sent it to me. Ta-da! I saw exactly what he meant, I emailed him to confirm, and we're done with another manuscript!
~ * ~
Starting the day with two happy authors and a new author by way of referral. Who needs caffeine?

And self-employment usually is joyful for me. The happiness I express here and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email lists isn't faked or inflated.

But I want newbies to know that I have hard days too—and that I love freelancing despite those days. At different points since I started my business in 1995, I have

  • Wondered whether insanity was what led me to believe that I could run a business while parenting children
  • Tried multiple times to put a baby down in a crib for a nap so that I could edit with both hands, only to hear indignant shrieks when the baby realized I wasn't still holding him
  • Edited while wearing pajamas, sipping chicken soup, and dabbing at my nose because an upper respiratory infection had me feeling miserable and a looming deadline left no time for me to crawl back into bed
  • Taken multiple breaks from editing to make sure that a distracted child was still on task at homework time
  • Asked my spouse, who is also self-employed, to stop talking about his own workday long enough for me to finish editing a problematic sentence that I have just reread five times and still don't comprehend
  • Had a day from hell when the manuscript I was working on was in horrid shape but the client's budget didn't allow for extensive editing, and the client had the interpersonal skills of a rhino . . . and my preschooler started and stopped 12 different craft projects and then had a screaming fit because most of them weren't turning out how he had planned
  • Panicked when I realized that as soon as I finished the project I was working on, I wouldn't have a new project to start on right away
  • Wondered how I was going to be able to make the month's mortgage payment anywhere near on time, because three clients hadn't paid me when they were supposed to
  • Lost a major client because the client and I were no longer a good fit
  • Fired a major client because the project manager treated me—and all other freelancers—shabbily
  • Made a mistake in the way I scheduled multiple projects that angered several clients, so I panicked about how I was going to get everything done and appease everyone
  • Worked a 15-hour day to meet a deadline and had no time to relax with family members
I have improved my self-care, time-management, budget-management, client-management, and marketing skills tremendously over the years—and my children are a lot older and more self-sufficient now—so bad days happen a lot less often than they once did. But there are still tough times, and I have to cope with them. How?

  • When I have to concentrate no matter what difficulties are going on at home or in the work sphere, I mentally compartmentalize. Get busy working, and your brain’s worry subroutines will run slower or even shut off for a while. But curl up in a ball on the couch and watch cartoons all day, or mope around and worry all day, and your problems will just keep piling up. Plus, you might miss a project deadline and thus lose a client.
  • I give myself little bits of time for fun and relaxation throughout the day, whether that is talking with a friend or family member, going outdoors and enjoying birdsong and flowers, looking at online photos of cute animals, reading a novel, or taking a short nap.
  • Every time I put together a project schedule, I add extra time to it because I know my initial schedule will be too optimistic, which will make life tough for me and tick off clients.
  • Every single weekday, and sometimes even on weekends, I spend time marketing. That means keeping my name in the minds of people who can supply me with work: clients, potential clients, and colleagues. For me, what works is spending some time on profession-related email lists and blogs, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on LinkedIn, and staying in contact with existing clients by email. Because I do all of that consistently, it has been many years since I've had gaps in my work schedule, which means that income flow is much steadier now than when I first started freelancing. Even when I have more than enough work and am on deadline, I still do some marketing every weekday.
  • Some colleagues might believe that I only chirp happily about self-employment. They would be wrong. I vent privately to a few friends, to mentors, and to family members.
  • I focus on the good parts of self-employment. When I celebrate the happy-making stuff, I feel empowered and even get into the magical editing zone. And potential clients find my enthusiasm catching. But when I go over and over the occasional upsetting stuff, I feel robbed of my power and skills and start making more mistakes in my work. Potential clients are turned off by negativity, and colleagues aren't inclined to give referrals to a freelancer who constantly complains.
So yes, starting self-employment is scary, can induce vertigo, and can make you want to pull your hair out. But if you keep at it, learning new skills and getting reassurance from fellow freelancers, you just might find that it makes you quite happy.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Being a Freelance Editor

Want a chance to ask experienced freelance editors all the questions you can think of? Vegas, baby!

This year's national conference (March 20–22) of the American Copy Editors Society will be in Las Vegas, Nevada. And I'll be a panelist there at the Freelance Editors’ Forum, along with several of my distinguished colleagues:
Please join us. You know you want to!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

What Value Do You Get for Your Membership Dues in Profession-Related Organizations?

This chart is an excellent tool, prepared by the Editors' Association of Canada (EAC)/Association canadienne des réviseurs so that its members can see how what the EAC provides for its membership dues compared with similar professional groups in Canada.

It would be quite helpful if US professional organizations for editorial workers produced US-centric charts for their members. Editorial Freelancers Association, American Medical Writers Association, Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, Council of Science Editors, and American Copy Editors Society, among many others, I'm looking at you.

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