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Friday, October 30, 2015

Five myths about academic editing

Photo: Brian J Bloch
The quality of scholarly editing is ‘extremely uneven’, says Brian Bloch, journalist, academic editor and lecturer in English for academic research at the University of Münster.

Writing skills and academic skills are clearly not one and the same.
There is no doubt a correlation between the two, but even truly outstanding researchers do not always write well. Likewise, their work is not always well edited or translated.

Times Higher Education (blog)
Academics whose native language is not English are confronted with particular challenges in getting published (and in getting their work well edited). Over the past decade especially, the editing industry has burgeoned in the wake of an ever increasing globalisation of research and of academia in general.
However, this industry is insufficiently (if at all) controlled, and is often seriously problematic. Quality is extremely uneven, and users of editors, both direct (clients) and indirect (journals and readers), may fall prey to several “myths”.

The “good enough” myth
My first myth is the belief that cheap editors will still be good enough. This is seldom the case.

The problem is that in order to edit an article well, one needs not only to know the subject in question at a postgraduate level, but also how to write well and appropriately. Moreover, they must be motivated to do the job comprehensively.

It is not easy to find people with this combination, and if you take a cut out of an already not-so-wonderful hourly rate, a rushed job is all the more likely.

When an underqualified or undermotivated person gets to work, the result is often so feeble that one would never know that someone had been through the paper at all.

Source: Times Higher Education (blog)