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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Thursday, October 14, 2021

When the Freelance Work Well Runs Dry for a Bit

Fellow self-employed editors, I want you to know that you can find ways to survive difficult times.

I have been self-employed full time as an editor since 1995. I've always marketed my services by various means, and I have built up a good clientele over the years.

I thought that the COVID-19 pandemic wouldn't affect my workload; it didn't for the most part. But until just very recently, I had been very low on work for about 2 months, because so many of my physician-authors' studies—and thus the articles they would write about them—were put on hold because of COVID. I had been working extra hard on marketing to combat that, and working very, very hard not to let my chronic depression ramp up and overwhelm me.

But now things are getting back on track. Projects are coming in. Whew!

I am fortunate to have a mate whose income mostly covered our living expenses, though there have been tight times and he has had to work a lot of overtime to help bridge the financial gap. I realize, though, that some of you do not have a partner bringing in income, and that can be very difficult.

I am here to tell you that keeping up with my workday routines, including keeping in contact with you in Facebook groups, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and via email, helped keep me from going off the rails. The editorial community is a generous one, and I thank you for that. When your workload disappears for a while sometimes, do not drop out of touch with the community. Human support is vital.

Do not stop marketing, and that includes keeping in touch with the editorial community and with clients and related contacts.

Do not stop reading editing-related news.

If you can afford to do so, keep taking short courses and attending webinars to learn new things.

Do things that you normally enjoy doing. Do not lie down on the couch and stare at the TV for hours each day. If you were already taking antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds, do not stop taking those, because your life may depend on them.

Do not keep your fears about temporary work loss private from your non-editor friends. Friends are people who support each other. Ask for the time you need from your friends, even if, like I am, you are a major introvert.

Keep doing these things, and the work will come back. It will. You can do this.

#editor #editing #freelance #freelancer #career #workload #marketing #clientele# authors #pandemic #COVID19 #finances #learning #professionaldevelopment #stress #depression #fear #support #friends #EditorMom

Monday, June 21, 2021

Resources for Learning About Predatory Journals in Science

Both readers of science journals and researchers seeking to publish articles in science journals need to be aware of the damage that predatory journals can do to scientific truth and science careers. But what are predatory journals? And why are they dangerous?

An article from Nature says:

Predatory journals are a global threat. They accept articles for publication—along with authors' fees—without performing promised quality checks for issues such as plagiarism or ethical approval. Naive readers are not the only victims. Many researchers have been duped into submitting to predatory journals, in which their work can be overlooked. One study that focused on 46,000 researchers based in Italy found that about 5% of them published in such outlets. A separate analysis suggests predatory publishers collect millions of dollars in publication fees that are ultimately paid out by funders such as the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

If you're not familiar with the concept of predatory journals, here are some articles that can enlighten you:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6174996/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7237319/

https://instr.iastate.libguides.com/predatory

Illustration by David Parkins of predatory journals. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03759-y


Unfortunately, some predatory journals have managed to make it into PubMed. Learn about that in the article "How Predatory Journals Leak into PubMed."

This post on the Scholarly Kitchen blog (produced by the Society for Scholarly Publishing) reviews the strengths, features, and weaknesses of the journals blacklist run since 2017 by Cabells, which is accessible only by researchers and institutions who can pay a large fee. Cabells set up its list after academic librarian Jeffrey Beall shut down his free list. Also see this article about Beall's list.

An annual meeting report in Science Editor, the journal of the Council of Science Editors, discusses the impact of predatory journals and how to identify them so that you can avoid them.

And finally, this website lists and links to suspected predatory journals. The site was set up by a small group of scholars and information professionals who wanted to anonymously resurrect Beall's list.

#science #journals #predatory #deception #research #peerreview #scholars #editorial #editing #quality #EditorMom

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Editors, Your Authors Are the Experts on Their Own Names

We editors should all listen to our authors when they tell us how their names should appear on what we edit.

I think that in the USA it's purely privilege—both white privilege and male privilege—that causes the gatekeepers in English-language publishing systems to tell any authors with two surnames that they're doing it wrong. Grrrrrrrrr!

"Now I needed to ask [the committee member] the question that had been nagging me since I began to work on the manuscript: 'How should I publish my name?' 'However you want,' she replied. 'It is time for people to understand that Latin American scientists have two last names.' ...

" 'Two last names are too much for 'them' to handle, and they will butcher them anyway,' my Latin American friends say when explaining why they hyphenate or use a single last name for their publications. ... This is not an isolated issue for Latino and Hispanic scientists; it also affects members of other groups whose names do not conform to a 'first-name last-name' norm. And insisting on being able to present our names as we choose is not 'picky' or 'capricious.' It is a matter of respect for our identities as scientists and as citizens of the world. ...

My mate and I encountered this "you're doing it wrong" attitude in the 1990s. When he and I married in 1993, we decided to both hyphenate our surnames. Before marriage, my surname was O'Moore, and his was Klopf. So we both took the surname O'Moore-Klopf. Now, we're privileged white people, yet he still caught grief for the first few years that he had the new surname, because, you know, "men don't hyphenate"! That annoyed both of us so much. All these years later, we have two grown sons who inherited the surname O'Moore-Klopf.

"When in doubt, ask scientists how they would like to be addressed. When you cite their work, check their previous publications, their ORCID account, and their web pages. Next time you add a paper to your reference manager, double-check the author line to ensure the system has imported it correctly. Above all, make sure researchers from all backgrounds have the opportunity to claim their identities and feel validated in their workplaces."


Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Dear Newly Self-Employed Editors . . . Here's an Update

Back in 2014, I wrote a blog post because I "wanted newbies to know that I have hard days too—and that I love freelancing despite those days." Well, it's 2021 and I'm still self-employed, and there has been a pandemic, so it's time for an update.

My children are now 19, 26, and 38. And for the last couple of years, I have been the daytime caregiver for my elderly mother-in-law, who lives in my intergenerational household. She has dementia and is now 86 years old; she also has type 2 diabetes, as I do. While all the other adults are out of the house at their day jobs, I provide her with nutritious meals and monitor her blood sugar levels and adjust as needed the amount of insulin that I inject her with.

The 19- and 26-year-olds still live here, along with the 26-year-old's mate and their now 6-year-old daughter (our brilliant and fun youngest grandchild). (The 38-year-old, who is the mother of our two older wonderful grandchildren, comes by on Friday nights to hang out with us.) The 6-year-old is attending kindergarten remotely here at home, because we're wary of exposure to COVID-19 from outsiders. (All 6 adult family members who live in our home now have had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine; all second doses will have been had by the end of this month.)

My office is still in my kitchen, even though my handy guys (my husband and our two adult sons) have built me a lovely 12 foot × 12 foot office in our backyard. If they ever quit having to work overtime on Saturdays (they're all cabinetmakers) and it quits raining here on Sundays, we'll move me out there, and I'll be delighted. But I'll still be my mother-in-law's caretaker.

Fortunately, the county agency for the aging has grants that fund the services of a health-care aide who works here to take care of my mother-in-law on 4 days of each week, for 5 hours each day. This does give me some mental space for working, but not as much as I want, of course.

The woman who would become my mother-in-law used to commute by train to her job in Manhattan, just as I did: she was a designer of children's clothing for a clothing manufacturer; I was a full-time employee for a publisher. We became such good friends that she introduced me to her only son in 1992. He and I fell in love very quickly, and we married in 1993. It is that great gift of hers that helps me continue to provide care for her on the days when things get tough.

And yes, I still do find joy in being self-employed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Jargon and Plain Language in Science Writing

My authors who write reports on their research for publication in medical journals tend to use a lot of jargon. I try to help them make their writing easier to understand for the very reason discussed in this New York Times article:

"[A] team of researchers has analyzed jargon in a set of over 21,000 scientific manuscripts. They found that papers containing higher proportions of jargon in their titles and abstracts were cited less frequently by other researchers. Science communication—with the public but also among scientists—suffers when a research paper is packed with too much specialized terminology, the team concluded."

I'm not at all suggesting that my authors completely eliminate jargon in such reports. But I ask them to use plainer language wherever possible, and even to define some of the terms, because people other than their departmental supervisor, who insisted that true professionals write impenetrable prose, are going to read their articles. And those people need to be able to understand the articles so that nonscientists in government and in the general public don't make unscientific decisions concerning public health and the environment.

Take a look at this blog post by my colleague Mike Pope on "good" and "bad" jargon.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

JAMA Deputy Editor Is Fired After Denying the Existence of Structural Racism

Edward H. Livingston, MD, a white man and the deputy editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, hosted a podcast in which he questioned the existence of structural racism: "Structural racism is an unfortunate term. Personally, I think taking racism out of the conversation will help. Many of us are offended by the concept that we are racist."

And such behavior is exactly how structural racism is perpetuated.

Thank goodness that after public outcry, JAMA's editor-in-chief asked for and accepted Livingston's resignation.

And the American Medical Association itself issued a statement:

"To be clear, structural racism exists in the U.S. and in medicine, genuinely affecting the health of all people, especially people of color and others historically marginalized in society. This is not opinion or conjecture, it is proven in numerous studies, through the science and in the evidence. As physicians, and as leaders in medicine, we have a responsibility to not only acknowledge and understand the impact of structural racism on the lives of our patients, but to speak out against racial injustices wherever they exist in health care and society. ...

"Importantly, the AMA is investigating the circumstances that led up to the podcast and tweet and will make the changes necessary to address them. The AMA and JAMA have taken immediate actions in this past week, and more will follow. ..."

________________________

Sources:


#structural #racism #racist #medicine #editors #editing #JAMA #AMA #EditorMom

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