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An authors' editor is a
language professional Language professionals are individuals who support authors in publishing by helping produce documents of appropriate scope and quality (in any language). Their role is particularly important in the research setting, especially when the authors are n ...
who works "with authors to make draft texts fit for purpose". He or she edits manuscripts that have been drafted by the author (or authors) but have not yet been submitted to a publisher for publication. This type of editing is called ''author editing'', to distinguish it from other types of editing done for publishers on documents already accepted for publication: an authors' editor works "with (and, commonly, for) an author rather than for a publisher". A term sometimes used synonymously with authors' editor is "manuscript editor" which, however, is less precise as it also refers to editors employed by scholarly journals to edit manuscripts after acceptance (in place of the term
copy editor Copy editing (also known as copyediting and manuscript editing) is the process of revising written material to improve readability and fitness, as well as ensuring that text is free of grammatical and factual errors. ''The Chicago Manual of Style ...
). Authors' editors usually work with academic authors, researchers and scientists writing scholarly journal articles, books and grant proposals. Thus, the authors' editor facilitates the
academic writing Academic writing or scholarly writing is nonfiction Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document A document is a writing, written, drawing, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought, often the manifestation of nonfi ...

academic writing
process by acting before
submission Deference (also called submission or passivity) is the condition of submitting to the espoused, legitimate influence of one's superior or superiors. Deference implies a yielding or submitting to the judgment of a recognized superior, out of resp ...
or
peer review Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field Field may r ...
. Authors' editors may also help authors revise manuscripts after peer review, but once the document is accepted for publication the collaboration ends (and other editors, for example a
copy editor Copy editing (also known as copyediting and manuscript editing) is the process of revising written material to improve readability and fitness, as well as ensuring that text is free of grammatical and factual errors. ''The Chicago Manual of Style ...
or production editor, take over).


The work of authors' editors

An author's collaboration with an authors' editor begins after a manuscript has been drafted. The manuscript must be drafted in the desired publishing language: author editing does not include
translation Translation is the communication of the meaning Meaning most commonly refers to: * Meaning (linguistics), meaning which is communicated through the use of language * Meaning (philosophy), definition, elements, and types of meaning discusse ...

translation
. The manuscript must be relatively complete, as author editing does not include the tasks of drafting or writing. If authors need help conceiving, structuring or writing their text, then they require the work of a
developmental editor Development of the human body is the process of growth to maturity. The process begins with Human fertilization, fertilization, where an egg released from the ovary of a female is penetrated by a spermatozoan, sperm cell from a male. The resultin ...
or a writer (e.g. medical writer or
technical writer A technical writer is a professional information communicator whose task is to transfer information between two or more parties, through any medium that best facilitates the transfer and comprehension of the information. Technical writers researc ...
). The goal of author editing is to help authors produce a clear, accurate and effective document that meets readers' expectations and that will be favorably received by publishers, journal editors and peer reviewers. Therefore, authors' editors do both linguistic editing and substantive editing (editing of "substance", i.e. content). They improve format, structure, grammar, style, data presentation, argumentation, flow and accuracy. They query authors about unclear content, inform and educate authors about good writing techniques (called "didactic editing"), and engage authors in revising the text (they "elicit revision"). Rather than simply correct the text, they collaborate with authors by dialoging with them (through in-text comments, email, phone,
internet telephony Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), also called IP telephony, is a method and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that co ...
, etc.) about the content and style; examples of how they annotate texts and negotiate the acceptability of the language have been given in an essay by Burrough-Boenisch. Authors' editors may also advise authors on peer review and the publishing process, and on high-impact publishing strategies. When authors receive the revised manuscript, they usually must dedicate substantial time and effort to reviewing the editor's changes and queries. They may discuss the work with the editor, to learn why certain changes were made and to resolve issues that were raised during editing. After they have revised the text, they may resubmit it to the editor for an additional round of editing (if the fee agreement so permits) or finalize it on their own.


Author editing and authors' writing skills

The authors' editor is an optional figure in the publishing process. Authors are more likely to hire an authors' editor when they are not fluent in the language in which they wish to publish: this is particularly the case for non-anglophone academics and scientists who publish their research in English for international communication. Another reason for working with an authors' editor regards the author's writing skills, as some scientists and clinicians may face difficulties composing an adequate text in a reasonable amount of time despite being excellent researchers. Skilled writers will not need to hire such an editor, instead finding sufficient the feedback of colleagues (prior to submitting a manuscript) and peer reviewers (after submission). Nonetheless, even skilled writers may benefit from author editing, especially when they are short of time and have ambitious publishing goals. In fact, since these editors can save researchers time, help them improve their writing, and maximize their chances of publication success, when a regular collaboration is established, authors' editors can become trusted allies of research teams. Less skilled writers who are aware that editing will improve their manuscripts (or have been told to seek editing by a journal or publisher) also may not go to an authors' editor, but instead may use one of the many specialized editing firms (for convenience, greater availability, possibly lower costs). However, these firms, for their global nature, do not always permit the establishment of the collaborative relationship between editor and author-clients which is necessary for true author editing. Finally, novice writers may not realize how they can benefit by presubmission author editing; by submitting unedited manuscripts, they may find themselves in a situation of multiple rejections.


Origins

Although the term "authors' editor" is little known, even by persons whose work could accurately be called author editing, it is not new but has been in use at least since the 1970s. The roots of this profession seem to lie in the arena of medical editing in the United States. The first known use of the term to describe an editor working in the research setting dates to 1968, in an essay by Mayo Clinic editor Bernard Forscher. In 1973, an article entitled "The author's editor" by L.B. Applewhite was published in the first volume of the journal ''Medical Communications'' of the
American Medical Writers Association The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) is a professional association for medical communicators, with more than 4,000 members in the United States, Canada, and 30 other countries. AMWA is governed by a board of directors composed of the elec ...
. In 1974, an essay by Barbara G. Cox with the same title was published in the ''
Mayo Clinic Proceedings ''Mayo Clinic Proceedings'' is a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal published by Elsevier and sponsored by the Mayo Clinic. It covers the field of general internal medicine. The journal was established in 1926 as the ''Proceedings of the Staff Me ...
''. In the early 1980s, the Council of Biology Editors (now the
Council of Science Editors The Council of Science Editors (CSE), formerly the Council of Biology Editors (CBE; 1965-2000) and originally the Conference of Biology Editors (CBE) (1957-1965), is a United States-based nonprofit organization that supports editorial practice a ...
) began to define and discuss the role of authors' editors, through a seminal paper by Martha M. Tacker followed by a national survey of 100 scientific authors' editors, both published in the journal ''CBE Views'' (now ''Science Editor''). The survey sparked an editorial in the ''Canadian Medical Association Journal''. These early papers used the term "author's editor" (with author in singular) but today, when academic papers usually have multiple authors, the pluralized term "authors' editor" is becoming standard usage. The term "authors' editor" seems to have its roots in American literary publishing. It was used in 1953, in the title of a Doctor of Education thesis, to describe
Maxwell Perkins William Maxwell Evarts "Max" Perkins (September 20, 1884 – June 17, 1947) was an American book editor, best remembered for discovering authors Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and Thomas Wolfe. Early life and ...
, a literary editor who helped shape American literature in the first half of the twentieth century. The earliest use of the term in print is attributed to US novelist
George Washington Cable George Washington Cable (October 12, 1844 – January 31, 1925) was an American novelist A novelist is an author or writer of novels, though often novelists also write in other genres of both fiction and non-fiction. Some novelists are professio ...

George Washington Cable
in a 1910 tribute to his editor
Richard Watson Gilder Richard Watson Gilder (February 8, 1844 – November 19, 1909) was an American poet A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or ma ...
.


See also

*
Language professional Language professionals are individuals who support authors in publishing by helping produce documents of appropriate scope and quality (in any language). Their role is particularly important in the research setting, especially when the authors are n ...
*
Developmental editingDevelopmental editing is a form of writing support that comes into play before or during the production of a publishable manuscript, especially in the area of non-fiction writing. As explained by Scott Norton in his book ''Developmental editing: a h ...
*
Ghostwriting A ghostwriter is hired to write literary Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama Drama is the s ...


References


External links

{{Wiktionary
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