Yes, Proofreading Is Still Important … Perhaps More Important than Ever
Yet another article on the importance of proofreading may seem overkill. Certainly most authors, especially scholarly authors, have been advised many a time that proofreading is an essential part of preparing text for publication and other forms of dissemination. However, among the enormous mass of text produced each day via a wide variety of media, it is becoming more and more difficult to find writing that has been properly proofread and edited. I do not refer here to the odd typing error that can slip undetected into any document, but repeated typing errors that smack of carelessness, and grammatical errors that confuse the meaning for readers and cast doubt on the ability of the author to write in the language concerned.
Academics and scientists tend to do a better job of proofreading on average, but certainly not in all cases, and more care must usually be taken with the type of complex information they communicate. Errors in citations and references can misrepresent the work of other scholars, and errors in data and the explanation of results can misrepresent a scholar’s own work. Proofreading is therefore always essential when writing academic and scientific documents, but never fun. Hopefully the following tips will help you focus your proofreading in ways that will enable you to be one of those rare and admirable creatures – a truly accomplished author.
Increase Your Chances of Getting Published
• Print your text out in a hard copy for proofreading. This gives a different and valuable perspective on your writing and also provides margins for scribbling notes about corrections, changes, additions and the like. Even in our digital age, printed text on the page seems to enable and demand greater precision.
• Read your text out loud, preferably to another individual because that will force you to read more slowly and make you keenly aware of the needs of readers. You may not be able to focus on much more than language and style while reading in this way, but it will be immensely helpful for improving your prose.
• Take special care over your citations and references. Ideally, checking these will be a separate process and involve scanning through the text, checking each in-text citation for accuracy, checking any quotations word for word against their source and checking the full references in the final list as well. Ensure that the information is not only correct and in compliance with whatever guidelines you may be following, but also effectively leads your readers to the sources they may want to consult.
• Proofread any discipline-specific terminology you use very carefully indeed. Ensure that it is in all cases correctly spelling and used in appropriate ways. Generally speaking, specialised or potentially obscure language will require explanation or definition on first use, and clarifying the meaning for your readers will not only serve the needs of any who do not share your specialist knowledge, but also demonstrate to those who do that you understand what you are saying.
• Abbreviations also require special attention. Whenever possible, standard abbreviations should be used, and they do not require definition. Nonstandard abbreviations usually do, however, so each one should be defined when it is first used in the main text. If you use many nonstandard abbreviations, a list of abbreviations may be required, and it is essential that the forms listed there match those used in the text exactly. Remember that the forms of abbreviations must be consistent to be effective, and that abbreviations should normally be avoided in titles, heading and abstracts, so expand them if possible in these situations.
• Finally, one of the primary reasons for proofreading is to ensure conformity with publisher, instructor or any kind of guidelines that may be relevant to your document, so keep a copy of those guidelines at hand while you work and be sure to use the recommended styles and formats with precision and consistency.
Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services?
At Proof-Reading-Service.com we offer the highest quality English editing and proofreading services via our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. All of our proofreaders and editors are native speakers of English who have earned their own postgraduate degrees, and their areas of specialisation cover such a wide range of disciplines that we are able to help our international clientele with research editing to improve and perfect all kinds of academic manuscripts for successful publication. Many of the carefully trained members of our expert editing and proofreading team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, applying painstaking journal editing standards to ensure that the references and formatting used in each paper are in conformity with the journal’s instructions for authors and to correct any grammar, spelling, punctuation or simple typing errors. In this way, we enable our clients to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions editors and achieve publication.
Our scientific editing services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer book editing services and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit manuscripts in all scholarly disciplines, as well as beyond them. We have team members who specialise in medical editing and bioscience editing, and some of our experts dedicate their time exclusively to PhD proofreading and master’s proofreading, offering research students the opportunity to improve their use of formatting and language through the most exacting thesis editing and dissertation proofreading practices. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation, polishing a progress report to share with colleagues, or facing the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of scholarly document for publication, a qualified member of our professional team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work.