General medicine, clinical medicine, pharmaceutical sciences
Armed with a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication and graduate-level training in biostatistics and epidemiology, this editor is proficient at handling complex, jargon-ridden medical and clinical documents. A certified Editor in the Life Sciences, she has considerable experience working in both a research setting (as a research analyst) and as an editor for reputed publishers.
To start with, can you please tell us why you decided to become an editor?
What are the differences between an editor and a writer?
Do you end up editing your own writing at times?
You mentioned that you have done your Bachelor's in scientific and technical communication. What kind of knowledge does that give? What kind of teaching does such a course provide?
Your primary areas of graduate training are in public health and health policy. How do you manage editing documents that are not from these areas?
Can you briefly describe the procedure you follow while editing a document?
How has your experience been with manuscripts written by non-native English speakers?
Do you often proofread on paper while editing, or do you do it directly on screen?
What are you most careful about while editing a manuscript?
I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about. Many times you'll see a list of clinical measurements such as blood pressure, oxygen in blood, etc. being measured followed by a list of values of the respective parameters. It is difficult for the reader to correlate these two quantities because they then have to go back to the beginning of the sentence to know what the numbers are referring to.
So in that situation, I move the numbers closer to their respective parameters.
How would you define substantive editing, and differentiate it from copyediting?
On the other hand, substantive editing is also concerned with accomplishing good flow by rearranging paragraphs or sentences. Sometimes authors repeat information in the text that is already mentioned in the tables. So a substantive editor would pay attention to that and reword sections that are redundant or irrelevant.
Do you think it is always necessary to re-arrange sentences or paragraphs in substantive editing?
What measures do you take to deliver consistent quality?
I'm always looking for ways to improve my quality and learn new things. If the document is from a subject area I'm not familiar with, I will often read another paper in the field and get to know the terminology to make sure that I do as good a job as possible.
According to you, how important is it for an editor to have a personal interest in the subject that he or she is editing?
Like you said, you would be interested in any science document. Have you edited documents from subject areas other than medicine?
You've been affiliated with quite a few associations such as the Editorial Freelancers Association and the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences. How does that benefit you as an editor?
You mentioned that most of these associations conduct workshops. What kind of training do they provide at such workshops?
Then, there is a two-part CD-ROM-based workshop on grammar, which I really recommend. It can also be accessed through the AMWA website. It's called Basic Grammar I and II and includes quizzes and a final exam that is to be answered on paper and mailed to AMWA.
I have also taken workshops on tables and graphs, creating posters, and on proper paragraphing.
At times, you may have received assignments with very close deadlines. What is your view on such assignments? And how did they affect your quality?
But with such short deadlines, do you think the quality of the edit would be as good as that of a normal assignment?
While editing, do you use any special tools or macros in Microsoft Word?
You had mentioned that you also do web editing. How does that differ from copyediting?
When you are not editing, how do you spend your time?
On your resume you've mentioned that you have been a grant writer and a publicist. Can you tell us about that experience?
I have also done some volunteer work as a publicist, which involved writing press releases and other communications for the media and getting them to write articles on the work of the organization. This was very different from medical writing, which is much more objective and which obviously cannot be biased. With publicity, one needs to be rather persuasive.