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BITC: Publication Class -- 7. Proofing and Editing

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We've now talked about how to prepare your manuscript. We've talked about how to prepare your figures and your tables. Now, let's imagine that we have a manuscript in front of us. All of us make mistakes as we write a manuscript. Some people write very clean; and, some people write a little carelessly. So, we all have to go through this process of going from very clean to absolutely clean. Or, from messy to absolutely clean. And, we all have to learn how to do this proofreading and editing very well, very effectively, and, hopefully, very efficiently. Here's a quick example. We may be given a paragraph of text. And, this text will have some little problems in it. I can see things immediately. Look at that. A comma after the author or not? Your eye should be looking immediately for consistency and effective presentation. So, we can take this, and we can edit it. I inserted the comma so now the treatment is parallel. Notice that I'm rearranging sentences. I'm simplifying. Many things that are designed to make this flow. This kind of editing can sometimes be better to do afterwards. Write your first draft. Then find something else to do for a week. The idea is, you do it sometime afterwards; not five minutes after you finish your first draft. This helps you be more objective. The publishing industry has developed a set of typesetting marks. This is one a journal sent to me so I could mark up my proof effectively. This is not the only set of marks. But, it is a good idea to learn these, or some consistent set, of typesetting marks so you can mark-up text and be understood clearly. Here are examples of my own mark-up of manuscripts that I've been involved with. You can see I have a very consistent style. When I mark-up a manuscript, you can then read continuously and get the final manuscript. Sometimes it gets a little dense, making it more difficult to read. Sometimes, there are details where the author needs to fill something in. But, I try to make it such that my editing takes you directly to final text. Editing is rarely one round. It's usually 2 or 3 or 4 rounds. So, that's a first example. Here's a second example. Notice that there are some serious comments going on here. I then provide some more generic comments. I also do some serious rearranging. This is a manuscript that is not going to be submitted with this set of comments. Notice I say, 'clarify what was done.' The point is, comments should be clear and comprehensive. This is an even earlier draft with pretty big discussions about the general content of the manuscript. But, I'm trying my best to give the author —the colleague or myself— a way of getting closer to final text. I use asterisks where you need to insert that corresponding text. These are just tricks for editing. Much later in the process, we get to something like this where I'm making only minor corrections. At the end, it's really nice to be able to write, 'submit me!' My students probably hate me for this, but one thing that I do a lot of my editing on paper as a way of teaching scientific writing. The student then has to go through and address each correction. So, all of the words to avoid and all of the hints we've been talking about or all of the need for consistency throughout these manuscripts gets repeatedly communicated to the person making the corrections. Again, that's why they hate me. But, the idea is that this is an effective way of teaching the writing process.

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Duration: 5 minutes and 18 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: townpeterson on Jul 5, 2016

Publication Class: How to Publish a Scientific Paper

A. Townsend Peterson, University of Kansas
In English

Academic productivity and effective communication of research results depend critically on publishing scientific articles in scholarly journals. This set of 13 video segments aims to provide an overview of the entire publishing process. It is not specific to biodiversity informatics, but rather can be quite general for the natural sciences at least.

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