Once your papers have gone through peer-review, it is time for copy-editing. This is the final stage of editing and review that a paper goes through. Some important elements of copy-editing are:
Don't worry: you don't have to be a grammar expert to copy-edit! The checklist below will help you catch the most essential pieces, and you can consult the resources on this page to brush up if you need to. Don't limit yourself to only checking for the elements in these lists; they are here to guide you. If you notice other errors or inconsistencies in the paper, mark those as well.
If you are confident in your grammar and editing abilities, skim through this guide to make sure you will catch everything you need to and dive right in!
These are examples of common errors that you should check for.
For ways to edit the three above points, see the tab "Ways to improve sentences."
Subordinating conjunctions: although, since, when, because, if, unless, before, after, until, while, where, etc.
See the resources box for a list of transitional words and phrases.
The list above may seem overwhelming; give yourself enough time to consider these points. This step-by-step process is merely a suggestion to how you can go through the paper. Depending on how you work, you may prefer to go over the paper one time for each item on the checklist, or go through it only two times but very slowly.
I don't recommend editing the paper in Microsoft Word without indicating what you have changed. It's the author's final say about which changes are incorporated into the final product. These are some ways you can make it clear what your edits were:
Just like with the peer-review feedback, any comments you write should be polite and constructive.
Microsoft Word can check for style as well as for grammar and spelling. To set this up, follow these steps:
This will turn on blue underlining under style elements like passive voice, wordiness, and word choices. Just like with the default spell checker, this is just a tool to help you out, not a foolproof way to finish your copy-editing.