Friday, 22 April 2016

Academic Proofreading / Copy Editing Samples

With the PhD wrapping up this summer, I can't default to 'do a higher degree' and have to go find a real job.

One option I've been considering is work in scientific, academic publishing. As a job, or just as a source of supplemental income, it seems ideal to me.  It's the kind of job where I could actually add value to research by making it more ready to disseminate. Also, I have research experience in statistics, health science, molecular biology, and education. I write habitually. I'm a native English speaker who can also check the mathematical, and especially the statistical assertions in an academic paper for correctness before it goes to an editor, or to the public.

Copy editing work can be done without leaving Vancouver, in fact it can be done from a houseboat, or a houseboat city. Reading technical reports and academic papers would keep me actively learning and discovering. The work can be done at any time of day, and the amount of work can be adjusted to fit other, more time-specific activities.

There are companies like ManuscriptEdit and Scribendi that dispatch editing work to their own academics on contract. Many of their editors are PhDs with established careers and long publications records. These companies ask for, understandably, a proven record of copy editing ability and writing experience. Blog posts probably don't count.

There are a couple of certification programs, like the one from the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BELS) internationally, and the Editors' Association of Canada (EAC), whose scope is editing and proofreading in general. A certification would be great because it's a shorthand for proof of ability. For the BELS exam, the most convenient exam is this November in Florida, and I doubt I could be ready for that even if I could go. The EAC exams are probably doable locally, especially since their annual meeting is in Vancouver this summer, but it's a multi-year process.

So, I tried something with a smaller commitment. I selected short articles from open access journals, specifically ones with grammatical mistakes in their abstracts. Then, I printed out these articles, copy edited them as if they had been given to me before publication, and sent the results to the journals' editors, each with a request to be considered for future contract work.

I copy edited four articles that I can share here. The first three are recently published open-access articles, to which I received two 'no' responses. The last one is one of mine that was recently submitted, but I have permission from the other authors to share it here. Even though I didn't get a positive response, I wasn't expecting one, and 2/3 responses to a cold request at all feels pretty encouraging; it means I'm getting attention. I also got an invitation to be a volunteer peer reviewer for future papers, so there that for connections too.

I'm still reading about the copy editing process, so I think the last two are better than the first two.

Paper 1: Open Journal of Statistics - Predictive Modeling of Gas Production, Utilization, and Flaring in Nigeria...

Paper 2: American Journal of Computational Mathematics - Self Similarity Analysis of Web Users Arrival Pattern at Selected Web Centers

Paper 3: Journal of Data Analysis and Information Processing - Role of Feature Selection on Leaf Image Classification

Paper 4: Submitted - Tactics for Twenty20 Cricket.