All you need to know about academic proofreading and editing

All you need to know about academic proofreading and editing

What is proofreading?

In a nutshell, proofreading is the process of checking a text document for any kind of spelling/typographical, grammatical/syntactic, or punctuation errors. This involves a careful, slow paced inspection of the manuscript to ensure it is error-free. It can be considered a corrective task, and only involves a surface-level check of the document. Typically, this is the final step a manuscript or research paper goes through before it is finally sent for publication or print. So if you put a lot of hard work and effort into your academic writing to come up with a final draft of the research paper, it is highly recommended that you search for a professional proofreading company. It is preferred that the proofreader is from the same discipline or background area as that discussed in the paper itself, since they would be familiar with the key technical terms used across the paper. For a more in-depth definition, visit Wikipedia.


What is editing?

Editing is the process of revising the content of a document and includes several tasks. This includes making improvements to the coherency and flow of ideas; sentence structure; conciseness and clarity; and academic tone and style. It can also subsume the proofreading process and involve checking for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors throughout the text. This is all typically performed on-screen on a digital softcopy of the document, as opposed to the conventional process of performing this manually with pen and paper. In a nutshell, editing is confirmative and involves ensuring that the manuscript is well-written and easy to read by your audience. The editing process is done after the end of every draft version of the manuscript.


How is proofreading different from editing?

Upon comparison to the definition of both language checking processes, editing is more substantial and improves the writing overall and the expression of your ideas. This is done on every draft of the paper, while proofreading a simple, surface-level check that is done on the final draft right before publication.


What is the role of a proofreader/editor?

The main role of the proofreader/editor is to ensure the paper is well-written, free of any writing errors, and gets the message across to your readers in the best way possible. Since we are dealing with academic work only here, another aspect is to ensure that the work is written in a strictly formal and objective manner.


What software and tools does a proofreader/editor use?

They usually use a word processing software such as Microsoft Word to help modify the text and track the changes made to the original. This way, the researcher can check all the changes made by the editor and possibly read any comments the editor has left in certain areas that need improvement.


Is proofreading/editing essential for academics, researchers and postgraduate students?

Yes, editing is an essential process that should be taken seriously by any researcher who aims to produce well-written publications that their audience is comfortable reading.


Do I need to proofread/edit my academic manuscript before sending it for publication or print?

Peer reviewers frown upon research papers that have English writing errors, and this reduces your overall chances of acceptance for being published in the journal. So if you are a researcher who tends to make grammatical and spelling mistakes, or if English is not your native language (it is your second language), then surely it would be recommended to send your paper to a professional language editor before you send it to the journal for review. This would increase your chances of getting accepted by the journal, and would also offer your audience a well-written version of your paper.


How can I find a trusted proofreading and editing company online?

There are currently many editing companies out there, so it is important to find the right one who would meet your expectations in terms of proofreading/editing quality. The best way to ensure the company is trusted is to ask your supervisor about the company, or to check out their online reputation and the testimonials/reviews they show on their website.


What would I expect to receive from the proofreader/editor?

You should expect to receive the edited version of the manuscript in MS Word format. This should include the tracked changes made by the editor, so that you can inspect them and see all the adjustments that they have made to your work.


Where can I get a proofreading certificate or acknowledgement letter for the publisher?

Most companies provide a proofreading certificate that is free of charge. This should act as proof that you have sent your paper for proofreading before you have sent it to the journal. Most journals ask for this, so it is important that you check whether the company provides this before you engage in their services.


How much should I expect to pay for the proofreading/editing service?

This depends on the length of your manuscript and also on the topic/background area it discusses. Most companies charge for their services based on the word count of the document.


How fast are proofreaders/editors with academic work?

This depends on the company, but keep in mind that the editing process takes time. Editors need to pay special attention to the writing and slow down the pace to ensure they can cover all possible types of writing errors. So do expect that your paper will take at least a few days to complete.


Do proofreaders/editors offer revision if I make any changes, or if the journal does not accept the paper due to poor writing?

Most companies offer a revision period whereby you can send back the manuscript in the case you have made some small changes to it, or if it has been rejected by the journal due to poor quality writing.


Does a proofreader/editor help with the writing of the paper?

Aside from adjusting sentence structure for simplicity, conciseness and clarity, an editor does not help with the actual content of the writing such as recommending related works in the literature review, or making changes to the research methodology or the results obtained. Anything that has to do with the actual research should be done by the original author, you!


Is my document safe with the proofreader/editor? How can I trust them?

You need to check the reputation and credibility of the company before you send your paper to them. Most companies provide strict confidentiality and security protocols to guarantee that your paper is always safe with them during the editing process. You can also send a non-disclosure agreement for them to sign for more peace of mind.


Does the proofreader/editor offer paraphrasing or rewriting services to reduce plagiarism?

No, the editor usually does not offer paraphrasing or rewriting in an attempt to reduce plagiarism. This is considered unethical and should not be entertained by any reputable editing company.


Can I send my research paper, academic manuscript, thesis, or dissertation to PM Proofreading?

Yes, we would be happy to assist with proofreading and editing your academic writing. Our globally trusted, quality-assured proofreading/editing process ensures that your manuscript is error-free before publication or print. All of our editors are native English speakers and university degree holders who have multiple years of editing experience. Our services are offered to researchers, academics, PhD and Master’s degree postgraduate students, professors and businesses. You can upload your manuscript and get a quotation through our inquiry form at any time. Our customer support team is available 24/7 to tell you more and answer all your questions. We are always happy to assist!


1 Comment


  1. […] have asked a group of proofreaders whether editing or proofreading comes first when it comes to academic work, and this is what they had to […]

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