Scientific editing

I have been self-employed for many years. My independence (relative neutrality), my eventual departure from my own background in science (geology and marine biogeochemistry) and my ensuing journey into bioethics put me in a good position to be able to assist clients in earth and life sciences (particularly earth, marine, and environmental science and technology).

One of the services I provide is scientific editing. This concerns editing of scientific papers, book chapters and grant proposals. Most often, I edit scientific papers, in Word or in Latex, and use my own 22-item checklist.

Papers come to me in a wide range of conditions and from all sorts of academic authors, via word of mouth. Often in flurries (after fieldwork, modelling runs or during holidays – because of the break in teaching).

Responses I have gotten over the years have included “Holy cow… you did such a great job!” from an American scientist for a geochemistry paper (a long time ago) and “I like to thank you for reviewing our paper. I am impressed by the quality of the improved version.” from a professor in the Netherlands for an environmental technology paper I tackled a few years ago (who also wrote that he did not want to advertise my services at his department otherwise they’d all come running) and “Great job again. Thanks!” from another professor (2019).

Two papers that I remember particularly were one that made me sit up with delight – I knew right away Nature was going to accept it because the work was that good – and a paper started by a scientist who had passed away.

I have also edited a few grant proposals for scientists in the US and in the Netherlands (and a few small ones for artists). This requires good writing skills as well as the ability to understand what the paper or proposal is about, and a grasp of how to convey this to the intended audience. The science proposals in question have resulted in grants totaling around 8 million euros/dollars so far, I think.

Here are examples of journals that I have revised manuscripts for:

  • ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
  • Annals of Glaciology
  • Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research
  • Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry
  • Carbon
  • Chemistry & Sustainability – Energy & Materials (ChemSusChem)
  • Coastal Engineering
  • Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
  • Computers and Electronics in Agriculture
  • Continental Shelf Research
  • Desalination
  • Energy and Environmental Science
  • Environmental Science & Technology
  • European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research
  • Hydrology Journal
  • International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
  • International Journal of Climatology
  • Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA)
  • Journal of Applied Meteorology
  • Journal of Environment and Planning
  • Journal of Food Engineering
  • Journal of Geophysical Research
  • Journal of Glaciology
  • Journal of Membrane Science
  • Journal of Transport and Land Use
  • Marine Geology
  • Nature
  • Ocean and Coastal Management
  • Postharvest Biology and Technology
  • Proceedings of Beyond the Standard Model
  • Proceedings of AIP conference DSU 2010
  • Proceedings of the Twelfth Marcel Grossmann Meeting on General Relativity
  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
  • Remote Sensing of the Environment
  • Reviews in Geophysics
  • Science
  • Science of The Total Environment
  • Separation and Purification Technology
  • Surface and Coatings Technology
  • Tellus
  • Transplantation
  • Transportation
  • Transplant Proceedings
  • Water Environment Research
  • Water Research
  • Water Resources Research

Please note that it can be very helpful to let me know in advance that you’ll be sending me a manuscript, particularly if you want it back in a hurry. There are times, such as the Christmas and summer holidays, when I get flooded with papers because that’s when academics get around to some of their papers. (No teaching.) Similarly, I sometimes get a wave of papers a while after a fieldwork or an expedition when all the data have been processed or after modelling runs have completed.

This can be a handy book to have, by the way:
How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper, 8th Edition

Naturally, the closer the research is to my own scientific background, the better a job I can do.

My first academic publication, in marine biogeochemistry, was a comment in  GCA. It had only me as author and was published as a tripartite discussion. It was accepted without any revisions. In part, it was a rewrite of a shorter article that I had submitted to Science in 1996 and after resubmission was deemed more suitable for a specialized journal.

At around the same time, I convened an AGU conference session in Boston on the role of fungi in the marine environment, supported by a grant from the Dr. Catharine van Tussenbroek Fonds. That got me invited to a conference in Hong Kong, but I was unable to travel to Hong Kong at the time. I did participate in the PICO-III symposium in Plymouth later that year.