Issue Date: April 25, 2011
The Scientist’s English
In his letter to the editor, Joseph Jablonski complains of English-language problems in manuscripts submitted to ACS journals by ESL (English as a Second Language) authors (C&EN, Feb. 21, page 4). He suggests that ACS could offer an editing/screening service and charge “a small fee” for revising such manuscripts so that the English is acceptable.
As a professional scientific editor with a master’s degree in chemistry and more than 15 years’ ESL editing experience, I object to the notion that such services are worth only a “small” fee. The ability to efficiently transform mangled syntax into idiomatic English without introducing scientific inaccuracies is a valuable skill that can take years to acquire, and many ESL authors pay relatively large fees for skillful editing. A recent article in Nature (DOI: 10.1038/nj7324-721a) discussed the growth, and value, of manuscript-editing services.
The ACS Publications website provides authors with a list of professional editing services, as well as a list of questions to ask before contracting for such services.
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