A profile picture of Zoran Dinev, freelance scientific editor
Dr. Zoran Dinev 3 minute read
March 26, 2019

Three Questions to Ask Your Scientific Paper Editor

Would you take a skiing lesson from a snowboarder?

A person wearing a hat and looking away

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of editing services online. Manuscript editing has become an important part of publishing your scientific paper. Why? Peer-reviewers are inundated with requests to review papers, so they only choose papers that are written well. This makes it difficult to get a review for a paper that is poorly written. This increases the review time and publication time of the journal. Therefore, journal editors have become more selective and have increased their standards. Peer-review editors screen papers and only send the best papers to peer-review. The other papers get rejected without peer-review. Some of the top journals reject up to 75% of submitted papers without  peer review. If you are lucky, you might get a request to re-submit the paper after it has been checked by a native English speaker.

So how do you choose the best editor to improve your manuscript so that it doesn’t land in the rejected pile? Ask your editor these three questions before you place your order for manuscript editing.

1. Have you published any scientific papers?

Would you take skiing lessons from someone who can’t ski? Then why would you ask for help from someone who has not published a paper? Most editing companies employ freelance editors that hold a PhD. If you are lucky, most of them have probably published a scientific paper. But do they really know what it takes to get your paper accepted by a top journal? Which brings us to the next question.

2. Have you worked in-house for a top international journal?

Would you take skiing lessons from someone who hasn’t been to the snow? Most freelance editors work for a journal from a home office. After a paper is accepted, a journal uses freelance editors to improve the paper and make changes so that the paper conforms to house style. But this is all after the peer-review process. These freelance editors only see the top papers. The papers that have been accepted. The papers that were already good enough to send to peer review and get accepted. In contrast, editors that have worked in-house come across a wider range of papers, the good and the bad, and have more experience with what is required to publish a manuscript.

3. Have you ever accepted or rejected a manuscript?

Sticking with the snow sport analogy, would you take a skiing lesson from a snowboarder? A copy-editor and a peer-review editor can both navigate through a scientific manuscript, but which one would you trust if your ultimate goal is the publication of your paper? The one that is obsessed with perfect grammar, sentence structure and punctuation or the one that makes editorial decisions and accepts or rejects your article based on the content. If you want a perfect manuscript, choose a copy-editor. If you want a published paper, choose a peer-review editor.

At The Science Editorium, your paper is always checked by an editor that has published their own research, has worked in-house at a scientific journal AND has worked as a peer-review editor. Our manuscript health check service is designed to provide you with a critical analysis of your paper. Consider us as your own personal peer-review editor, except that we will never reject your paper and we will tell you exactly what you need to fix so that your paper gets through to the peer-review process.