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

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Working Directly with Authors: Hand-Holding Required

Often when we editors work directly with authors instead of through publishers or other intermediaries, part of our job is hand-holding nervous writers. I just had to send this to a talented, kind, but apprehensive young physician-researcher whose journal manuscripts I edit:

Here is a secret:

Even if a manuscript differs in a few places from a journal's preferences, most journals will not reject the manuscript because of that. But I have found that if we try our best to follow a journal's preferences, then the reviewers will focus on the ideas and research in the paper and not get distracted by little details such as whether an amount should be a word versus a number. No journal will expect that an author has perfectly followed the journal's minor preferences.

However, some journals will return a manuscript if authors don't follow their major preferences, such as preferences for reference citation (e.g., chronological order versus alphabetical order), for types of headings (e.g., "Materials and Methods"), for type of abstract (e.g., a single paragraph versus several short paragraphs, each with a mini heading), and for blinded versus unblinded manuscripts.

End of secret.

I will always do my best to make sure that your papers follow all of the major preferences (i.e., the preferences noted in the instructions to authors) and as many of the minor preferences as possible. Note that journals' author instructions don't often explain these minor preferences. But I figure out what their minor preferences are by studying articles that they have recently published.

What I am trying to say is this: You can relax because you are in good hands. I have been an editor for 30 years now. I am here to help guide your manuscript through the turbulent waters of manuscript submission. But because I know how important publication is for your career, I completely understand why you worry.

My author wrote back:

Thank you for your kind reply. I feel refreshed.

Thank you [also] for your useful ... secret. ... I learned a lot. In the future also, please teach me [the] knack and pitfall[s] [of] writing [in] English ... in addition to editing my manuscript. ^_^

Always I am counting on you! I appreciate your continued support and encouragement.

Taking just a few additional minutes to compose a longer explanation for my author made things easier for me (I now have a calmer author to work with) and made it very clear to my author that he has an advocate during the sometimes confusing and worry-making publication process.

1 comment:

LyzzyBee said...

A lovely example and a good one to follow.

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