For your research and ideas to make an impact on the world, they have to get published.
Ideally, scholars conduct high-quality research and analysis and write it up well. After their article has had a good polish, they target the right journal and the article lands in the inbox of reviewers who are rigorous and kind. The author responds professionally to reviewers’ feedback and produces an article ready for publication. Everything runs to schedule and the paper is in print (or online) within a few months of being submitted.
In practice, things don’t always run so smoothly.
If you submit to a highly ranked international journal, the competition is intense and the rejection rate is high. Journal editors need easy ways to eliminate papers and introducing hoops – including technicalities and style guidelines – is a form of gate keeping that many articles don’t pass through. Articles that continue to the next stage can be stalled for months waiting for reviewers’ reports. Journals can have a grindingly slow turnaround time.
Everyone wants to get their research out without delay before it becomes dated. Getting a journal article into print quickly is especially important if it is connected to current debates or if its subject becomes a hot topic. It is here that a professional editor can help you to prepare your work in a way that will speed it towards publication. Even journals themselves advocate having your work professionally edited before you submit, particularly if you’re publishing in a language that’s not your first; some may even make copy editing a condition of acceptance. You’re the subject expert, now let the editorial experts get your work over the line and into publication.
A professional editor will get you through those first hoops, ensuring you meet the journal’s requirements for style, layout and citation format, and making sure you don’t turn anyone off with sloppy errors. These are tasks that can be tedious and time consuming but getting the technicalities right is a way to demonstrate your professionalism and is good politics in a competitive environment.
Beyond the basics, a good academic editor can ensure your article is the best it can be: well structured, clearly reasoned, cohesive, accurate and accessible. The more refined the article when it is submitted, the smoother its passage through review. When I am providing peer review for journal articles in my field I am certainly slowed by the presence of an excessive number of errors. As well as compelling me to make a lengthy list of corrections (and therefore requiring me to spend more time completing the review), it makes me pay closer attention to the competence of the author. Has she been as slapdash with her data as she has been with formatting her reference list? Is his inattention confined to his grammar or has it affected his analysis? Fewer corrections mean happier reviewers and happier journal editors.
Using an academic editor can increase your writing output, so you can communicate more of your research with academic and broader audiences. Postgrads and university staff often have to juggle teaching, committee work and administration in addition to their own academic work. Outsourcing some of the tedious – but essential – spade work can free up precious time for the intellectual labour of thinking and writing. Knowing that there is someone who will make sure your article is free of embarrassing errors can also help to silence your own inner-editor for long enough to get your article written without self-sabotage and with your focus where it should be: on your research and analysis.
To discuss how professional editing can help get your research find an audience, please get in touch with Bluestocking Academic Editing.