Why you should edit your manuscript before submission


When you are preparing to publish your research in a journal to reach out to the wider peer group or scientific community, there are few things beyond the core research work that needs to be taken into consideration. Getting one’s research published in some good, reputed journal requires the publication to meet certain editorial standards as well.

Journal editors are very busy, and your article maybe just one of many on their table. Journal editors try to balance the novelty and significance of a publication with the expectations of its readership in the scientific community. Published articles need to have good quality science in a language that interests readers. Poor language or poorly structured publications may be rejected by an editor very early even without proper evaluation of the content.

A typical complaint expressed by reviewers is that the manuscript was not checked sufficiently in-house before submission, or that it was verbose and/or unorganized. Peer reviewers are themselves subject experts related to the scientific community you are trying to reach out to and are more likely to understand the content of the article. However, a poorly structured manuscript can be quite frustrating and time-consuming for the reviewers and are more likely to be discarded.

There are three key aspects to editing a paper for publication.

Content edit:

If you want your paper to be accepted by a journal, it is important to ensure that it offers some new insights/ideas, or a new set of evidence that would interest and excite the scientific community. The manuscript must have a clear objective stated upfront in the Introduction, reporting of the activities undertaken in clearly demarcated sections, and the inferences or conclusions thereby derived with sufficient references at the end.

While the first part can be easily done by the author, it is advisable to refer to a professional language editor for the other two critical aspects.

Line edit:

Line edit really focuses on the language of the publication and is most challenging for authors because itis easy for authors to miss how phrases sound to the reader. This is best done by a third-party language editor who has no emotional attachment to your manuscript and sees your writing style from an objective standpoint. Proper language editors specializing in scientific editing ensure that the final language is simple, lucid, and succinct.

Copy edit:

This final editing process adopts a fine eye for details, looking for consistency as well as grammar, spelling, punctuation, and syntax. For scientific publications, it is important to check for formulae, annotations used, and their consistency. Again, it is better to have a language editor look into these issues as an author may overlook them.

A well-edited publication enhances the reading experience and helps present the research and its finding in a more communicative form. A professional language editor can thus elevate a good research work into a coveted publication for the scientific community.

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