The following is meant to help clarify some of the misconceptions about professional copyediting and what copyeditors do:
- Editors Canada provides definitions of editorial skills here.
- Wikipedia provides a useful entry on copy editing here.
- Wendy Laura Belcher offers definitions of copy editing terms and suggestions for working with academic copy editors here.
- General copyediting, or technical editing, includes correcting grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors, ensuring consistency or standardization in style, and improving clarity, conciseness, and flow.
- Style editing refers to correcting style in accordance with a style guide such as, to name a few, the Modern Language Association (MLA) or the American Psychological Association (APA).
- Correlation or crosscheck editing includes checking cross-references to pages, tables or charts, captions, etc.; checking citations with references; and crosschecking titles with the table of contents (Belcher).
- Substantive or content editing includes addressing global issues such as structure and organization and logic and clarity (Belcher).
A thorough academic copyeditor will edit from 2 to 5 pages an hour, depending on how many issues a manuscript has (Belcher). One page is defined as approximately 250 words (double-spaced, 12 pt. font).
University students: If you require help with a thesis or dissertation, firstly I suggest that you contact your university’s writing centre for assistance; typically, there will not be any cost involved, and they will help you learn how to copyedit your work, which is ideal. Editors Canada provides “Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Theses / Dissertations” here.
Copyediting (copy editing or copy-editing) services are available for students, individuals, and companies. I specialize in academic (arts and humanities), business, and general non-fiction copyediting. Please contact me for prices and scheduling: firstname.lastname@example.org