Resources for scientists: manuscript editing services


Image credit: Vmenkov

In today’s “publish-or-perish” environment, scientists are often judged and hiring decisions based primarily on a lengthy publication record in high-quality journals. While there is a growing movement toward alternative metrics (i.e., measures of research impact in the mainstream), the reality is that publication records are still used as a primary indicator of research productivity, especially among hiring committees.

So what do you do if your writing skills are less than stellar or you are a non-native English speaker? One solution is to enlist the services of a manuscript editing company. These companies are experienced with editing scientific manuscripts across multiple disciplines, offer quick turnaround service and employ editors who are technically trained in your field. Services typically range from language editing on up to peer review with specific fee structures based on word count and complexity of the editing service.

While it may be an initial hurdle to pay for such services, in the end it leads to a more polished manuscript and increases the chances of publication because journal reviewers can focus their time on content and not deciphering language. Another great benefit of using these services is that the editors are trained to leave comments about common errors seen in the paper (instead of just making the changes for you), and thus the author can learn how to improve upon their writing skills for the future.

Here are a few manuscript editing companies that have been recommended to me in the past. I don’t endorse any of these companies but encourage you to check out their websites to compare pricing structures, learn more about the editing process and assess their expertise. These companies may also offer free tools (e.g., journal selector) to the public.

If cost is a factor, be sure to check with your PI or department as they may be willing to pay for such services for their students or postdocs. You can also check around your department to see if any colleagues moonlight as an editor or know of any independent editors that they would recommend. Additionally university writing centers may provide assistance with review of manuscripts or offer writing workshops.



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