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        What is Journal Article Editing? 3 Reasons You Need It

        • calenderMar 16, 2023
        • calender 6 min read

        Journal editing, or journal article editing, is essential if you want any leading journal to accept your article. But how does this work? What processes are involved in editing journal articles? What checks do academic editing services perform on your research article?

        Let’s take a look.

        Journal editor vs. journal article editor

        Before we go any further, let’s clear this up: there is a difference between a journal editor and a journal article editor.

        “Journal editing” is used synonymously with “journal article editing” to refer to the process of editing journal articles. But you should know that a journal editor is different from a journal article editor.

        A journal editor maintains the quality of their journal by accepting only the highest quality of research articles. Scientific journals hire journal editors to establish clear guidelines and judge article submissions with fairness.

        A journal article editor, however, is the person you’ll be hiring to edit your article. They review your article for language or formatting mistakes and suggest improvements based on their experience in the field.

        So, a journal article editor edits your draft before you send it to the journal editor.

        What is journal editing?

        Journal article editing ensures that your research article is free of all errors before you submit it to a journal. An academic editor undertakes various levels of editing to remove different types of errors from your document.

        So, here’s a basic definition of journal editing:

        Journal article editing, or journal editing, is the process of removing language and formatting errors from your article to prepare it for publication.

        Journal editing involves various processes. An academic editor looks for any language, grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors in your article. Aside from this, they also perform thorough checks for the specific journal guidelines on referencing, formatting, and article structure.

        So, journal article editing refines your language and polishes your content. But do you really need it? Is it worth hiring academic editing services for something that you can handle with journal editing software? Let’s take a look.

        Why do you need journal article editing?

        Journal article editing services ensure that your article follows all the guidelines stipulated by the journal of your choice. They employ editors that are skilled at language and have expertise in your subject.

        So, an academic editor is able to spot mistakes that you’re likely to miss. Their experience helps them offer helpful comments and suggestions on how you can improve your article. But there are more reasons that academic editing services are essential to getting published in a reputable journal.

        Here are the reasons why you need to hire a journal article editing service:

        1. Increases your chances of getting accepted

        Poor formatting and language errors are the biggest reason that journal editors reject a majority of articles. For good reason, of course: your article needs to present your research in a manner that is clear and easily understood.

        Editing journal articles is absolutely essential for a journal to accept them.

        2. Makes your writing easy to understand

        Error-free language and proper formatting ensures that your ideas are properly communicated. This is precisely the reason why there are so many academic writing rules that researchers have to follow!

        Various styles like APA, MLA, and Chicago have been developed specifically for this purpose. Proofreading and editing ensures that your article follows these rules and anyone from the scientific community is able to understand your writing.

        Specialized editing tasks like APA editing ensure that your article follows the guidelines perfectly, thus increasing your chances of getting accepted.

        3. Builds author credibility

        Unclear writing and shabby formatting undermine the ideas that you want to communicate through your article. If your article has one too many grammar mistakes, it takes away from the hard work you’ve put into research.

        An editor’s review of the article not only prepares it for publication but also builds author credibility in the mind of the reader.

        Journal editing software vs. human editors

        As for why human editors are better than an A.I. or software, there’s hardly any reason to elaborate. Here’s a simple example: When you’re looking for medical journal editing, would you trust an A.I. over an experienced medical editor?

        In case the answer isn’t clear, no, you wouldn’t. A human being understands the nuance of language and the intricacies of your subject better than a machine ever could. An expert editor understands both scientific and grammatical laws as well as the exceptions to these.

        When it’s a question of being accepted by a reputed journal, why take a software gamble? Academic editing services provide both the experience and the expertise your article needs. Let’s see how they use these to edit your research article.

        What checks do academic editing services perform?

        You can think of scientific editing as three distinct phases: substantive editing, copy editing, and proofreading. The first two steps are part of editing while proofreading is the last step.

        So, we can divide journal article editing into three broad steps:

        1. Substantive editing
        2. Copy editing
        3. Proofreading

        Let’s go through these categories and understand the steps that the article editor undertakes.

        1. Substantive editing

        Substantive editing, or content editing, is the review of your article’s content, structure, and style. The focus is on ensuring a proper flow and structure in the manuscript as well as detecting spaces for improvement in its content.

        The journal article editor pays attention to formatting style, structure guidelines, and other journal specifications in this edit. Here are the issues resolved in this type of editing:

        Format and structure

        Some journals may have specific guidelines on article structure, but most of them follow the standard IMRAD format. This means introduction, methods, results, and discussion or conclusion.

        The editor ensures that your content is ordered into appropriate sections and subsections as stipulated by the journal guidelines. Aside from this, the formatting style also includes your title page, text columns, pagination, fonts, margins, tables, and figures.

        If you thought journal editing was easy, think again!

        Quality of the content

        There’s a broad range of issues an editor checks for in your content. They check whether each section of the article is substantial enough. Does the introduction offer enough background information? Can the methods section be shorter? Does the results section offer any concrete findings?

        The editor also performs a fact check to ensure that the information included in the article is correct.

        Use of language

        This language check looks at tonal and stylistic elements of your writing, rather than the mechanical ones, like grammar or spelling. In this step, the editor checks for brevity, objectiveness, and directness in your article.

        Especially in scientific editing, the goal is to ensure that the language is direct, simple, and clear. The editor removes unnecessary flourishes, deletes cliches, and shortens needlessly long sentences.

        • I have observed that Dr. Minshan’s experiment on viral mutation is quite impressive.
        • The findings suggest that Dr. Minshan’s experiment on viral mutations invites further research.
        • It is possible to deduct from the outcome of the study that a geomagnetic storm might occur in the year 2029.
        • The study reveals that there is a high probability of a geomagnetic storm occurring in 2029.

        2. Copy editing

        Copy editing focuses on the mechanical elements of language and style. The chief of this is referencing style, but other important checks include grammar, punctuation, and spelling. If substantive editing raises the quality of your content, copy editing ensures that it reads perfectly.

        At this stage, the editor removes the mechanical errors in writing. They also resolve minor mistakes in formatting and consistency, marking the end of the journal manuscript editing process. 

        Let’s understand the issues that a copy editor looks for in your article.

        Referencing style

        Journal editing services ensure that the references are in keeping with the guidelines being followed. APA editing or MLA editing pays particular attention to the citations, marking any mistakes that may have slipped in.

        Scientific terms

        Branches in science have specific conventions of terminology, and it is the editor’s job to ensure that these are followed. So, medical journal editing will handle all units and terms that you’re likely to find in a medical article.

        A journal article editor makes sure that your article consists of all the right terminology with proper punctuation.

        Grammar errors

        The copy editor removes all grammar mistakes from your writing. They resolve various common grammar mistakes, like errors in subject-verb agreement, verb tense, and pronoun references. Here are some examples:

        • The samples found on the site does not match with the original samples.
        • The samples found on the site don’t match with the original samples.
        • We studied the phenomenon once we locate the source.
        • We studied the phenomenon once we located the source.
        • It is written in the essay that neutrinos are difficult to trace.
        • The essay states that neutrinos are difficult to trace.

        The grammar check is one of the key steps in journal editing because it clarifies your writing exponentially. The reader’s attention is now on your ideas, and not the glaring mistakes in your article.


        Internal consistency is important to all forms of writing, but especially so in a journal article. Copy editing ensures that your use of scientific terms, units, and key figures is consistent throughout the article.

        Spelling and punctuation mistakes

        These relatively minor mistakes can also distract your reader from the content of your article. An editor’s eyes are trained to catch these errors, which may be hard to detect on your own.

        While one or two spelling errors in an article may be forgivable, mistakes in punctuation are not. Aside from hindering the reading experience, punctuation errors can also disturb your formatting and referencing style. So, spelling and punctuation check is an important step in copy editing a journal article.

        3. Proofreading

        Proofreading is the last step in journal editing. It removes all remaining errors from your article and makes it ready for submission. In this step, the proofreader resolves relatively minor errors like spelling and punctuation mistakes.

        You may ask that if copy editing handles all mechanical aspects of language, why is proofreading even required?

        The answer is, proofreading is more than just an editing round. It’s the final scrutiny of your document before it goes to the journal editor’s desk. So, a proofreader checks for not only substantive and language errors, but also anything else that may hinder readability.

        This may involve issues such as the arrangement of tables and charts, or the presentation of data in the manuscript. A proofreader views the research article from both a journal editor’s and the reader’s perspective.

        Plus, the first two steps in journal editing often add little mistakes of their own! Proofreading is the step that removes these errors and ensures that the article is truly ready for publication.

        Do you need to hire a journal article editing service?

        The answer is simple: yes you do.

        Academic editing services maintain stylesheets for specific journals and citation styles. Their expertise and experience benefit you not only by removing mistakes in your article but also through the helpful suggestions they provide.

        So, a journal editing service increases your chances of getting published by refining the language and formatting of your article.

        The cost of hiring a journal article editing service may differ according to the timeline you work on. The sooner you need the edit, the more you’re likely to pay.

        Visit this page to find out how much journal editing may cost you.

        Found this article helpful?


        Prasanna Linkedin

        Prasanna is on a little break from academia and spends his time compiling fiction writing tips. He enjoys poetry, mythology, and drawing lotuses on any surface he can find.

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