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The Proofreading and Editing Process for Journal Manuscripts

| Published : July 24, 2020. Updated: July 30, 2020.
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Every veteran researcher has experienced the thrill of finishing that first draft of a journal manuscript. But before submitting a manuscript to their target journal, researchers need to ensure that they have fully prepared it for publication.

This article gives an overview of the manuscript proofreading and editing process prior to submission to journals.

  1. Editing and proofreading a journal manuscript prior to submission

    The journal submission process can be difficult to navigate, and academic journals vary in their submission guidelines. For example, the initial manuscript format and style guidelines for Science journals differs slightly from those of Nature journals.

    However, there are three important steps for journal manuscript preparation when it comes to submitting to any academic, medical, or scientific journal: manuscript editing, manuscript proofreading, and preparing a journal submission cover letter.


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  3. Step 1: Editing your journal manuscript

    Journal manuscript editing covers a range of tasks, and all research authors should learn how to edit their research writing. The editing process involves revising content, creating logical flow and consistency, ensuring good organization, and correcting style and vocab terms.

    Content Editing

    Content editing is also known as substantive editing or developmental editing. It is performed early in the manuscript editing stage, usually during or just after finishing the first draft. You could think of it as a “pre-peer review.” This is where an editor looks at the “big picture” of your manuscript. A content editor will check that all important elements are included in the research paper (i.e., the Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections). They may also reorder these elements as needed.

    They will also identify any logical errors or gaps in literature, methodology, findings, or interpretation of the results. They may suggest changes to your study implications, limitations, and further recommended research.

    Content editing is often done by the manuscript’s author, or by a peer or professional academic editor working in the author’s academic subject area. A content editor may review and return the journal manuscript to the author with suggestions for elements to correct.

    The editor will likely add comments in the margins or in lieu of making editing and proofreading marks in the text. Although some professional editing services provide content editing, someone with knowledge of your research topic may be more suited for this work.

    Language editing

    The next step in the revision process is English language editing, which is also known as academic editing. Language editing is performed after the final draft of your manuscript is completed. The purpose of language editing is to ensure that your document is readable and free of errors in grammar and punctuation. It also enhances natural terms and expressions and makes sure the document meets the language requirements of most academic journals. Language editing should not be confused with line editing, which only corrects for word choice, syntax, and flow.

    Most language editors do revise for style, flow, and awkward terms, of course. But they also correct spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors. Professional English editing services also ensure proper style guide formatting or format to specific target journal standards.

    English language editing services are popular with academics and researchers because most professional editing companies provide a certificate of English editing. Many journals require ESL authors to receive an official certificate of editing.


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    dissertation editing sample

    Editing and proofreading for academic documents greatly enhances the impact of your research writing.

  5. Step 2: Proofreading your manuscript

    Proofreading is fairly straightforward. It is similar to copy editing and involves correcting errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, mechanics, and sometimes formatting.

    However, proofreading properly is not easy. Academic proofreaders must understand the conventions of academic papers. They must be familiar with the verb tenses used in certain situations. They must understand the mechanics rules of scientific papers (e.g., never start a sentence with a numeral) and catch every error.

    Does my manuscript need both proofreading and academic editing?

    Once you have received language editing (or academic editing), your paper should be free of grammatical errors. However, many authors opt for manuscript proofreading as well. Academic proofreading focuses on fixing these objective errors and therefore can catch any errors your English language editor might have missed.

    Proofreading is popular among academic researchers who have published many journal manuscripts before and/or have a high fluency in English. They may opt for a professional proofreading service to catch remaining typos and other basic errors. Academic proofreading services perfect your writing and make sure your work is not rejected by journals due to minor language mistakes.


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  7. Step 3: Writing a journal submission cover letter

    Once you have received language editing and proofreading, it is time to submit your manuscript to your target journal. And to do that you will need to compose a cover letter for manuscript submission. Your cover letter should explain some key details about your research to the journal editor. A cover letter should include:

    • Your manuscript title
    • The article type (review, research, case study, etc.)
    • The date of submission to the journal
    • A brief background of your study and your research question
    • An overview of the methodology used
    • Principle findings and implications
    • Statement that there are no conflicts of interest

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  9. Using a professional proofreading and editing service

    You could give your manuscript to a peer or freelance editor to edit and proofread. But many manuscript proofreading and editing services online haved simplified this process. Wordvice provides professional academic editing and proofreading services for researchers, scholars, professors, and graduate students around the world.

    We specialize in editing scientific manuscripts. Our expert academic proofreaders and editors have helped thousands of researchers achieve publication success in hundreds of academic disciplines.

    Our scientific manuscript editing services are tailored to fully revise your journal manuscript and prepare it for publication. We offer high-quality human proofreading and all-in academic editing services in one complete package. Many journals offer free language editing services for accepted manuscripts.

    But journal acceptance is not a sure thing. Getting professional proofreading and editing for journal manuscripts before submitting increases your acceptance rate and reduces the need for revisions.

    And if your manuscript is rejected for more substantive reasons, Wordvice Premium Academic Editing Service provides unlimited re-editing. Revise and re-submit your manuscript when you are ready.

    Whether you have just finished your draft or are ready to submit to a top scientific journal, Wordvice has you covered. We offer the best academic proofreading services online and the most trusted journal manuscript editing services in the industry. Check out our academic editing rates and get expert help with your manuscript right now.