Re: Editorial review board - when to edit?

Subject: Re: Editorial review board - when to edit?
From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: Kieran Sullivan <ksullivan -at- tssg -dot- org>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2010 07:41:15 -0400

Kieran Sullivan wrote:
> My question then: where in the process would a
> grammar/punctuation/omit-useless-words check be most useful?

I see at least three times where editing could help, in three different
ways.

In general, it is difficult for reviewers who are aware of proper
spelling and grammar to review a document that is full of errors that
could have been corrected by light copy editing. They will tend to focus
on doing copy editing instead of verifying facts, assuring logical flow,
looking for unwarranted assumptions, discovering arguments that have
been overlooked, and so forth.

After the "final" version of the paper exists, supposedly ready for
publication, it is appropriate to apply additional copy editing. At this
stage you will be told that no editing is required because the MS Word
spelling checker has found no problems. You will do the editing anyway,
and discover that "unless" has been written as "useless" and at least a
half dozen other errors of that kind. It does not hurt to have a
mathematician (one from outside the project) proofread the mathematics, too.

In between, when the "final" version is beginning to take shape, you
could argue for a phase of stylistic editing. Some editors are better
than others at deep editing, and some of them merely ruin copy and cause
arguments. Some writers cannot take editing easily. Rostand's Bergerac
was one: "My blood boils to think of altering a single comma!" I had the
good fortune several years ago to work with an editor who could move my
paragraphs about and suggest omission of needless words with the kind of
skill normally associated with concert violinists or professional jugglers.

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Editorial review board - when to edit?: From: Kieran Sullivan

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