Why use a professional editing service? The obvious answer is because the best editing services offer many ways to improve your writing and increase the acceptance rate of your manuscripts. Here are some of the options for the editing process.
The basic level of editing, proofreading simply corrects mistakes in grammar, subject-verb agreement, capitalization, and punctuation. This is often thought of as “polishing” a manuscript. It is important to submit a polished manuscript. A rough manuscript will raise editors’ hackles and delay publication.
There are many ways to say something but not all of them are equally clear. Copyediting includes making changes in word choice, syntax, and sentence construction. Here the editor corrects not only what is written but changes and improves how it is written. Beginning writers often use clumsy construction where simple, plain language would be better. Professional editing services know how to make a sentence easier to understand.
Also known as semisubstantive editing or double check copy-editing, the next level of editing goes beyond changing a few words here and there and does a modest amount of rewriting of entire sentences that are difficult to understand. Journal editors will not take the time to read a manuscript two or three times to understand it and definitely will not spend a lot of time rewriting it. They will return the manuscript to the author with a note to employ a professional editing service and resubmit.
At the highest level of editing, the manuscript will be rewritten substantially, addressing issues such as the structure of the argument, the style of the document, and any gaps in content that should be included. Typically, this manuscript is a good piece of research with strong data but is poorly written and poorly structured so as to be confusing. The editor will clean up and restructure poorly written sentences and paragraphs and will attempt to rewrite garbled sections to reflect the authors’ intentions. The latter is a chancy business, and whenever I do this I make sure to include a comment to the effect, “Is this what you mean? The meaning of this paragraph was not clear to me. Please check this edited section carefully to make sure the edits reflect your intended meaning.”
An Editor, not a Coauthor
It is important to note that a professional editor will only seek to clarify the author’s existing arguments and conclusions; an editor will not propose new arguments or new conclusions. He may point out gaps in the paper that need to be filled, but he will not supply the missing material—that is the responsibility of the researcher.
Whatever the level of editing, the cost of a good professional editing service is a good investment. The basic levels are quite affordable. Although the highest levels of editing are more expensive, considering the time they save in getting a paper published, they are probably the best value of all.