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Proofreading a paper before submitting it can help you avoid rejection and help get your work published in target journals.
However, too many students and researchers neglect this crucial final step, and their academic success can suffer as a result. In fact, academic proofreading is just as important as drafting, revising, and editing as it ensures that your writing is clear and free of errors in punctuation, spelling, mechanics, and formatting.
Before proofreading your document
Because proofreading is the final step in preparing your academic paper for submission, you should be aware of which steps to take before you proofread (or have a proofreader look at your work). The step that directly precedes proofreading is editing (which can be further divided into language editing, copy-editing, and line editing), and it is therefore important to know how to edit your work in-depth before performing a final proofread.
Apply needed changes to structure and organization. For instance, if there are too many results listed, delete or consolidate them while editing. If you include portions of the Discussion section in the Results section, reorder these before proofreading. Your proofreader will not focus much on the content of your paper, so all of the substantive elements need to be in the right place and use correct terminology.
Additionally, if there are any portions of your work that you are unsatisfied with or that contain language that needs refining, the editing step is the time to make these changes. If you are using an editor to revise your paper, be sure to tell them what kinds of vocabulary and style elements to revise (including scientific jargon and terms) so that your paper will be ready for proofreading.
Finally, during the editing stage, save separate versions of your work in different files so that you will have multiple versions of your edited paper to choose from and give to your proofreader. Once the structure, content, and flow of your paper are fully revised, you can submit it for final proofreading. This includes correcting errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, formatting, and certain word choice issues.
How does proofreading improve your paper?
An extensive proofread of your paper by a competent human proofreader will fix any errors that remain in your work (and even the best authors make mistakes) and allow the important points in your research to shine through clearly. You might already use an online grammar or proofreading program or English editing software that catches objective errors in your writing.
These are excellent tools to use while drafting and editing your work, but they often miss punctuation errors (e.g., incorrect use of colons, semi-colons, hyphens, and commas), grammar (e.g., incorrect syntax, dangling modifiers, and comma splices), and formatting (e.g., incorrect use of British or American English, capitalization issues) that are dependent on context. A proofreader with expertise in the conventions and standards of academic writing and a background in academic proofreading will be your best resource when it comes to revising your academic document.
Proper grammar, spelling, mechanics, and punctuation are not only inherently beneficial, they increase the impact of your work on readers. Professors often give lower marks to papers and essays with proofreading errors. Journal editors will reject a research manuscript that contains too many basic language errors, as it shows them that your work is not quite ready for publication in an academic journal. The upsides to academic proofreading are clear: higher grades and increased chances of getting accepted in journals and other publications.
Professional English proofreading and editing can also be a valuable tool to teach you how to fix grammar errors and avoid writing mistakes on during the drafting, revising, and editing process. When you receive your revised document from your proofreader, take time to look over the changes they applied to your work and note any specific kinds of writing and language errors you tend you make.
Tips for proofreading your own work
Editing and proofreading an academic document requires an understanding of the rules of English grammar and punctuation and how they apply to academic writing. Here are a few general tips to consider when proofreading your work:
- Identify and fix all errors in your text, big or small. Even minor writing mistakes can cause your target reader to stop reading your study, as they can be indicative of a lower quality of scientific research and make the work difficult to read and comprehend.
- After drafting your paper, set it aside for a day or two before you proofread it. Stepping away from your writing will let you return to the work with “fresh eyes” and see errors you might have missed. Also, before proofreading, consider reading the paper in reverse order (from the Discussion to the Introduction) to give yourself a fresh perspective and ensure that the paper makes logical sense within each section.
- Print out your text or alter the formatting of the document (font size, font, layout). Even the typography of a document can make authors overlook spelling and grammar errors since most of us “fill in the blanks” with our own knowledge and expectations of how words SHOULD be spelled and how sentences SHOULD be structured, even when they aren’t in the text. Printing out the work onto paper or enlarging the text font is one simple way to give yourself a fresh perspective on the writing and catch any errors you might otherwise miss.
- Use a sheet of paper (or computer window) to cover up lines of text and focus on proofreading one sentence at a time. It might be an old trick learned in grade school, but reducing the amount of text your eyes have to take in will let you see even minor spelling and punctuation errors more readily. Use whatever object you can to cover the majority of the text so that you can focus on one specific line of text.
Get results using an academic proofreading service
Achieving success in the world of academic research and publications is a massive challenge to any researcher in any academic field. Sustaining that success is even harder. Using the services of professional academic proofreaders can noticeably enhance your work and improve your chances of publishing in top academic journals in your field. Additionally, a competent editor or proofreader can save you valuable time by formatting your citations and references using the style guide required for your target journal.
The proofreaders and editors at Wordvice are trained to proofread your work and eliminate all language errors. Our proofreading services fix typos and spelling errors, correct grammar mistakes, eliminate issues with mechanics, and ensure proper formatting throughout your work. Wordvice editors help ensure that your work will be appraised and evaluated on the merits of its research and not rejected due to minor errors remaining in the manuscript. In fact, the final draft of your paper is not really “finished” until it has undergone thorough proofreading.
If you hire a professional proofreading service, choose one that provides all-in proofreading and has editors with experience revising research papers. Wordvice has some of the very best proofreaders and editors in the industry, all of whom are fully capable of proofreading academic texts in their field of expertise. Our academic proofreading services include:
- Correction of typos, mechanics issues, and grammar errors in the text
- Style corrections to improve clarity and flow
- Revisions using MS Word’s “Track Changes,” allowing you to see all edits made
- Feedback from your editor explaining proofreading issues identified and revised
- Guarantee of 100% accuracy in language (re-editing in case of journal rejection)
- Language editing certificates (required by many journals)
Which kinds of documents can you submit for proofreading?
- Research Papers
- Journal manuscripts
- Conference posters and presentations
- University course assignments
- Admissions essays
- Business reports
- CVs and resumes
In addition to proofreading and copy-editing, Wordvice also provides line editing and language editing on all kinds of documents.
Visit our Academic Editing Services page to see a more detailed summary of the services our expert editors provide.
Perhaps most importantly, any document you upload to Wordvice will always be secure and treated with 100% confidentiality. We use the most advanced encryption software to ensure that our clients’ valuable work is safe and private. Visit Wordvice today and see how our academic proofreading and editing services can greatly enhance your texts and make the difference in helping you achieve academic success.