Suggestions for working with an editor


When you submit your manuscript to BioMedical Science Writers, I want your experience to be more than satisfactory, and I want you to receive the greatest possible value. To this end I present the following guidelines and suggestions.

Your submitted document

Have your document in as close to final form as possible when you send it for editing in order to minimize your cost.

If possible, avoid rush orders. I normally request a 7 day window to turn-around your document. I always make every effort to return your document before then. Editing for clarity and readability requires that your editor have sufficient time to become familiar with your document.

Please do not work on the document yourself while it is in the editor’s hands. This can create numerous problems with merging the documents. If you must continue working on a document, it is best to send sections of the document for editing. Please do not work on any section that the editor is working on.

It is my expectation that you will use a citation manager (such as Endnote or Reference Manager). My editing will not affect your embedded citations. If editing results in rearrangement of the order of citations, your citation manager will handle the change. I am fully capable of working with EndNote and Reference Manager. I prefer that you do not delete the reference list from the document when you submit your manuscript for editing. I will not edit the list, and the references are not counted when I calculate the number of words in the document; however, I often refer to the list as I edit. I frequently access cited papers online in order to improve my understanding of your text.

Similarly, it is helpful if the figures are included. I often study the figures as I edit. This improves my understanding of your manuscript. It also provides the opportunity for me to proof the figures. Not infrequently, I detect (and report to you) flaws in figures, such as missing or erroneous labels.

Large files can be problematic for email. For transmitting large files, I have had good experience with a third party FTP site: This is a free site that allows secure uploading and downloading of large files (up to 300 mb).

Your edited document returned

I will return your document as an edited but not finalized file. It will display all edits that have been performed. You will be able to see exactly what was done, and you have the option of accepting or rejecting each edit according to your judgment.

There are three alternative strategies that you might employ to incorporate the edited document into your final document to be submitted. In my order of preference, they are:

Alternative 1. Accept and incorporate all edits in the file returned to you. Use the edited and finalized file as your pre-final draft. Make additional edits according to your judgment on this file. I recommend this strategy because it assures that all edits will be incorporated. A fully edited document is likely to have hundreds of changes, many of them subtle, but important, nonetheless. Even with tracking, not all changes are visible. Particular problems occur when clients incorporate text prepared in a non-English version of WORD. Some of these cannot be corrected with tracking on.

Alternative 2. Use the edited, but not finalized, file to generate your final draft. Go through the document using the accept/reject edit function of Word to accept or reject each change. Using this strategy you incorporate only those edits that you want to keep and ignore those with which you disagree. I do not recommend this approach because it is easy to overlook small, single character edits that may be important.

Alternative 3. Manually incorporate the edits into an unedited version of the document. Although this is the approach taken by many clients, I advise against this strategy. It is my experience that a significant fraction of the many subtle, but important, corrections to typos, spelling, syntax, and grammar are overlooked when this strategy is used. I have been disappointed on numerous occasions to see in print the published version of a manuscript that still contained errors that had been corrected in the edited version, but which were never incorporated into the final version submitted to the journal.

Although it is not essential, for journal manuscripts it may be helpful if you indicate the intended journal or include the instructions to authors. For grant applications it may be helpful to include a link to the specific instructions or program announcement or RFA.