Ad Lagendijk Ad Lagendijk 5 October 2013

Using professional editing services

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Posted in Getting published

chinese-charactersCommunicating in a language that is not your mother tongue is a handicap. For Germans and Dutch people speaking and writing acceptable English can be achieved after a few years of school. For people from Japan or from China this is a nightmare. But scientists from these countries have to do it if they want to have their papers published in leading journals.

If an author would like to have the language, style and/or grammar of his manuscript improved he could ask a colleague to help him. If he is lucky one of his coauthors could help him out. Or worse, just for this reason he could ask somebody to become a coauthor. Manuscripts with spelling errors or other mistakes are readily rejected by scientific journals. How could these scientists being helped? Is there another solution?

An interesting question is how useful it would be for scientists to use a professional service for checking and correcting their manuscripts. I thought about this after I had a few my Twitter tweets translated, within an hour, in Chinese and in Turkish for a very reasonable prize.

Commercial Editing Services

After some searching on the internet I found that there is such a commercial service. It is called Enago, English Editing Service. Perhaps some of our readers have already used it. We are very eager to learn about your experience. Or hear about your opinion on using such a service. Perhaps there are other editing services around that you have used. Or that you know off. Please tell us.

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  1. Unregistered

    6 Oct 2013 11:30, Zhenyu Ye

    Some publishers also provide language editing service, but I have no idea how good they are.



    IEEE partners with SPi for editing service:

  2. Unregistered

    6 Oct 2013 19:46, Philip Chimento

    Suggestion: hire a Master’s student from your surroundings who is a native speaker of English. They are cheaper than a professional editing service and will be glad of the chance to make a little extra money. (I speak from experience.)

    The problem is making sure they have good enough grammar skills to do the job. For that, you might want to have them edit a practice document, and ask somebody whose judgment you trust to evaluate it.

  3. Unregistered

    8 Oct 2013 3:15, Jean-Luc Lebrun

    Yes, you need both: a native English speaker AND someone with understanding in your field.
    How do you evaluate whether the editing is good… that is another question: the original writer’s English may not be good enough to evaluate that. You then need an additional level of control – someone in the field with a good command of English who will review your paper for accuracy.
    This said, as a trainer in scientific writing, I am often unable to edit because the text is ambiguous. Before I rewrite, I need the original writer to answer clarifying questions. It is an iterative process.
    Editing is more than rewriting. It involves pruning unnecessary details, adding missing details, references, restoring text fluidity – and to do that, the editor/rewriter has to know the targeted readers! So all in all, it is quite difficult to edit well :)

  4. Unregistered

    9 Jan 2014 6:45, sarishti

    If an editor recommends a language editing service (with which the publisher has partnership with- and it’s very expensive), can we go for some other publisher editing service like elsevier?

  5. Unregistered

    4 Feb 2014 17:24, Betsy Rack

    Agreed, Jean-Luc. Editing is more than rewriting – it’s a hands-on process that requires a lot of back-and-forth contact with the author. A native English speaker and editor who understands what journals are looking for makes a big difference in preparing manuscripts for English-language journals.

    I work at American Journal Experts (, another professional service for academic editing, as well as translation, figures, and formatting (and a for-benefit company, meaning it’s not about profit).

    I’m posting because this thread brought up qualities of scientific editing that are points of pride with AJE, and we’d love to be part of the conversation.

    AJE has:
    –Subject-expert editors who are researchers and native English speakers
    –Partnerships with high-impact traditional and open access journals
    –Pricing at different levels depending on what a researcher needs
    –Company operations on a for-benefit basis
    –Websites in four different languages for easy navigation (Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, and English)

    American Journal Experts
    You can check us out at Please feel free to reach out with questions.

  6. Unregistered

    27 Feb 2014 9:16, Steven Eastwood

    Nice article and great proofreading services.

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