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
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Friday, October 09, 2015

Why Does Editing Take So Much Longer Than Reading for Pleasure or Interest?

Dear authors of articles for biomedical journals:

Editing is very unlike reading for pleasure or interest. It involves considering many issues. Here is a partial list of the issues that I address when editing your manuscript:

  • Grammar
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  • Punctuation
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  • Spelling
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  • Syntax
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  • Good transition from one topic to another
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  • Overall topic organization
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  • Logic
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  • Accessibility:
    • Did the author present enough information so that readers with various levels of expertise—longtime physician, nurse-practitioner, intern, medical student—can understand what is meant, or are there info gaps that should be explicitly addressed?
    • Even though a specific abbreviation is already defined in the text, is it also defined in the caption for the figure where it is used, so that skimming readers don’t have to go search the entire article to find out what the figure’s abbreviation means?)
  • Consistency (e.g., did the author use the abbreviation throughout, or did she use the full term sometimes and the abbreviation at other times?)
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  • Topic, figure, and table cross-references in text
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  • Verification of names of drugs, genera and species, and actual people, places, and organizations
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  • Appropriate citation of references
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  • Wordiness (getting rid of it)
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  • Jargon (making sure jargon is used appropriately—and that’s if it needs to be used at all
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  • Bias-free writing:
    • Sex
    • Gender identification
    • Parents versus nonparents
    • Emotions (e.g., in research papers, using "killed the rats" instead of the emotion-laden "sacrificed the rats")
    • Additional issues
  • Style:
    • Uppercase versus lowercase
    • Standardizing references to follow AMA style
    • Trademarks versus generic names
    • Additional issues
  • Presentation (What works best for reader comprehension here: straight text, a bulleted list versus a numbered list, a sidebar, a table, a figure?)
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  • Meta-issues (e.g., can I add an editorial comment referring readers to another article in the same issue or in a past issue that is about a topic related to the one covered in an article in our current issue?)

It takes time for your editor to address all of these issues and additional issues in helping you make your writing its very best, so please be patient. We editors are on your side.





1 comment:

Vivek said...

A friend asked me about the complete list! I think I only things that I can add are checking duplicate references, verifying references against PubMed (if required by client), and cleaning-up the manuscript before starting the actual editing.

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