When Language Is an Issue: Dealing with Editorial Feedback | Tips on How to Get Your Research Published
Rejection is rarely easy to accept, and when that rejection comes from the acquisitions editor of a scholarly journal or press, it is always unwelcome to the busy academic or scientist. Such news can be extremely discouraging, and when the reason for rejection is ineffective or incorrect language, there is often an element of insult added to the injury. Scholars are highly educated, after all, and deeply informed in their areas of specialisation, and in many academic and scientific circles there is an assumption that excellent writing skills are naturally akin to the scholarly temperament. It may come as a comfort, if a mixed one, to recognise that they are not, and to accept the fact that writing well, especially when reporting sophisticated research and ideas, is a difficult task, even for those who are masters of language.
The essential thing to remember is that any comments an acquisitions editor may make about your writing style and use of language are professional, not personal and certainly not an insult. Indeed, the very fact that he or she bothered to offer the information that your language is problematic instead of sending a form letter that gave no reason at all for the rejection suggests that your efforts to communicate, if not always the results of those efforts, have been understood. If that editor has also included specific information to point out exactly where the problems lie – marginal comments on your document, for instance, or mentions of particular constructions or elements that are confusing – this is a sign of interest, not a reason to despair and feel offended. Instead, congratulate yourself because there are practical ways to improve your paper and turn rejection into successful publication.
Increase Your Chances of Getting Published
Before making decisions about changes in your manuscript, give yourself a little time to absorb the news and pass over any initial responses of an emotional sort that are unlikely to be helpful as you work. As much objectivity as you can muster should then be applied to reading carefully through the editor’s comments with your document in front of you. Attend to specific examples and try to identify every instance of larger trends. In each case the goal is to determine exactly why the editor has indicated a problem or potential confusion. Is it a simple typing error, a missing comma, a poor vocabulary choice, a grammatical mistake, a failure to communicate the required complexities and subtleties or something else entirely? Once you have determined exactly what the problems are, ask yourself how you would correct or improve your prose and achieve greater clarity. If you firmly believe that you can move ahead with revisions that will address the editor’s concerns, respond with a formal and well-written message indicating that you understand the problems, are working to correct them and intend to resubmit your work as soon as possible (mentioning a reasonable deadline is often a good idea).
If, on the other hand, you discover upon reflection that you do not fully understand the problems identified by the acquisitions editor and are therefore unable to make the corrections necessary before you can resubmit your writing, it is best to seek some qualified assistance. Colleagues and mentors can be recruited to read your work, but do keep in mind that, while they will probably be able to help with matters of content and may be able to offer you advice based on their own publishing experience, they may not be any more qualified than you are to correct and improve formal English prose. Your best choice may therefore be the services of a professional proofreader or editor who specialises in academic or scientific writing. Choosing one who is familiar with your discipline and field of study will produce the best results because he or she will be better able to determine what you are trying to communicate and to help you do so successfully while observing the necessary standards and conventions. He or she will probably also be able to help you perfect the letters you write to the acquisitions editor as you polish and resubmit your manuscript.
Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services?
At Proof-Reading-Service.com we pride ourselves on our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. Our proofreaders and editors are highly educated native speakers of English and their areas of specialisation range so widely that we are able to help our clients improve and perfect all kinds of research manuscripts for successful publication. Many members of our team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, ensuring that formatting and references conform to author guidelines with precision and correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling and simple typing errors so that our customers are able to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions editors and earn publication.
Our editing services for authors of scientific papers and books are especially popular, but we have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit books in every scholarly discipline as well as beyond them, and some of our carefully trained proofreaders and editors work exclusively on helping students improve the formatting and language of their theses and dissertations. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation or publication, polishing a professional report to share with your colleagues, or tackling the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of academic or scientific document, a qualified member of our expert team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work. Our translation services for scientific and academic documents have also proven immensely helpful for many of our international clients.