Be realistic; publishers won’t release content that’s error-ridden, sloppy, and poorly written. And for journal editors, well, it’s usually their responsibility to ensure that each manuscript included in upcoming issues has flawless grammar, sophisticated readability, and the accurate use of style and formatting.
“If the content is decisive for acceptance of the manuscript, then the language style is also important both in the review process and later for its potential readers,” says Dr. Carlos Nunes Silva, Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of E-Planning Research. Dr. Nunes Silva talked with eContent Pro International about the vital role copy editing plays in the development process of his journal’s manuscripts. Consider his perspectives and advisements:
Q: First, what’s your favorite aspect of being an Editor-in-Chief?
A: Being an Editor-in-Chief (EIC) is time-consuming and requires a substantial amount of work. But, it is worth the effort as it is a challenging, intellectually interesting, and rewarding activity. If I have to mention three or four favorite aspects of being the EIC of the International Journal of E-Planning Research (IJEPR), one would certainly to be able to see the journal growing after being founded by me in 2011/2012 and working on a regular basis with members of the Editorial Board and with the staff at IGI Global.
Another favorite aspect is certainly the possibility of keeping in contact with ongoing, ground-breaking research, with new issues and emerging trends in my research field. It’s a rewarding experience to meet and keep in contact with established scholars and rising stars in the new generations of researchers. I feel that being the founder and Editor-in-Chief of a journal in a new and emerging research field—Urban e-Planning—is a contribution to the advancement of science in this field.
Q: How would you describe the writing style that your journal expects from the contributing authors to your journal?
A: I expect a simple and well-structured presentation of the research reported in the article. The reader should be able to clearly identify in the initial sections of the article the research question(s), the theoretical approach, and the methodology. Data analysis and discussion ought to be structured according to the theoretical and methodological approach, all based in relevant bibliographical references. The conclusion must retain the main outcomes of the research presented and shall not be a second abstract (summary).
Q: What approaches do you take in providing constructive feedback to contributing authors pertaining to writing style and copy editing?
A: I recommend professional copy editing for the manuscript. In these cases, I tend to recommend copy editing by an English-native professional. In some cases, I call to attention that a next-door colleague who speaks English well is probably not the best copy editor, and therefore, a professional should be contacted.
Q: How do you handle instances where a manuscript is conceptually sound but in need of major copy editing?
A: It is not accepted until it meets the required copy-editing quality and criteria. It is the author’s responsibility to submit a fully edited manuscript.
Q: In your expert opinion, what role does copy-edited content play in the success of your journal in particular?
A: Although the journal was recently inaugurated, more availability of a copy-editing service associated with the journal certainly has or will have an important role in this journal’s success, as in any other journal.
Q: When it comes to the copy editing of their work, what advice do you have for authors whose native language is a language other than English, or even for those who are native English speakers?
A: Despite the journal’s policy that requires from the authors fully edited manuscripts, I frequently found it necessary to recommend professional copy editing. If the content is decisive for acceptance of the manuscript, the language style is also important both in the review process and later for its potential readers.
I'm persuaded to say that authors seem to be increasingly aware of how important it is to have proper use of the English language, as some refer that the manuscript has been professionally copy edited prior to submission.
Many thanks to the Editor-in-Chief of IJEPR, Dr. Carlos Nunes Silva, for his cooperation and insights