Writing and editing

  • I started writing stories and articles in primary school and was on my school’s first newspaper team.
  • As a teenager, I sent a letter to a national weekly, about a play by G.B. Shaw, and it was published.
  • In my early twenties, I sent a letter to one of the writers of women’s weekly Libelle and submitted an item to women’s weekly Viva. Both contributions were published.
  • In my mid-to-late 20s, I sent about a dozen letters to the editor of Dutch daily De Volkskrant, responding to articles in the newspaper. Almost all were published, most of those in the Saturday edition.
  • In my early 30s, I wrote a letter to the editor of an American newspaper. That too was published.
  • More recently, I wrote some quirky flash fiction that is somewhat reminiscent of the work of Spike Milligan and Donald Barthelme. It’s available from various online retailers.
  • None of the above is related to science or technology.
  • I have published lots of bits and pieces on science and technology here and there, and also on feminism/women in science.
  • I was part of the Arcadis Elements magazine team, editor in chief of the newsletter of the Environmental Chemistry (and Toxicology) Section of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society and associate editor for the newsletter of the Geochemical Society, which is based in the US, but spans the globe.
  • I published a bioethics essay at the start of 2017. It’s available from Amazon in print and ebook and as ebook from all other major retailers.
  • See also the home page.

I don’t consider myself a grant writer and don’t handle a lot of grant proposals these days, but the research proposals I have worked on have earned at least over € 7.1 million in grant monies so far, awarded in the US and the Netherlands. Of course, that has a lot to do with the quality of the scientists in question, and with whether their ideas fit the research trends.

More often, I edit papers. (I don’t edit non-stop; I like having a nice variety of projects.)  Papers come to me in a wide range of conditions and from all sorts of academic authors, via word of mouth. Often in flurries. Three to ten at once and then none for months.

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 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.

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.

Journals and other publications that I have revised manuscripts for include the following:
Annals of Glaciology
Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research
Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry
Coastal Engineering
Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Continental Shelf Research
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 Applied Meteorology
Journal of Environment and Planning
Journal of Geophysical Research
Journal of Glaciology
Journal of Membrane Science
Journal of Transport and Land Use
Marine Geology
Ocean and Coastal Management
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 of The Total Environment
Separation and Purification Technology
Surface and Coatings Technology
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 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

One area in which good writing and editing skills are paramount is law. I have worked at Clifford Chance, a top law firm for three year (to top up my income). It is a member of the “Magic Circle” of leading British law firms and among the ten largest law firms in the world (in terms of number of both lawyers and revenue). I have also been a litigant in person; that took about two years.