"Any historian of economics knows that having a paper published in History of Political Economy represents a strong academic achievement. Paul Dudenhefer, as its managing editor, did not only provide corrections but acted as an additional referee, pointing to inconsistencies and style infelicities and helping rewrite full paragraphs. In the field of history, these are important matters, especially for a nonnative English-speaking scholar like me." --Yann Giraud, Université de Cergy-Pontoise
Author queries. Author queries are questions from a copyeditor or proofreader to an author. (Note: In the world of magazines, “query” has another meaning: a letter from an author proposing to write an article on a particular subject.)
Copyediting. Copyediting refers to editing “copy,” the version of your document that is one step away from typesetting. Once a document reaches the copyediting stage, it should be close to its final form. At the copyediting stage, sentences and even some paragraphs can still be rewritten; but by and large, the content, and the order of the content, have already been settled.
Copyediting normally involves the following. (1) Correcting errors—spelling, typographical, grammatical, idiomatic, factual. (2) Revising passages in minor ways for ease of reading and the like. (3) Checking reference citations for consistency (although not necessarily for accuracy). (4) Editing for consistency (e.g., making sure terms and names are spelled the same throughout). (5) Editing for house style. (6) Querying unclear or puzzling statements or passages, reference citations, and the like.
Copyright. Copyright grants rights to the use and distribution of a work. The copyright is not necessarily held by the author; in many cases, the publisher holds the copyright. Copyright should be clearly stated in a publication agreement.
Developmental editing. Developmental editing is the process of helping authors work out their ideas and what they want to say. Developmental editing focuses on the major components of a project, such as the following: the argument and supporting evidence; the way in which arguments are introduced and put in context; the appeal of the document to the intended audience; and the extent to which the document conforms to the intended genre.
Edited volume. An edited volume is a single book containing articles on a particular topic. Each article is usually written by a different scholar, and each usually treats a different aspect of the topic. It is called an edited volume because the volume has an editor who decides which articles get published in the book. He or she may also help the authors shape and sharpen their arguments, supporting evidence, and conclusions. An edited volume is often the product of a conference. It is different from a monograph, in which a single argument is stated and developed in a book-length treatment.
Editing. Editing is a catchall term that can mean anything from developmental editing to copyediting to deciding what gets published.
Editor. An editor is responsible for the content that is published in a journal, in an edited volume, or in a book series. He or she is the person who decides (usually with the advice of referees) what gets published and what does not. An editor is almost always a faculty member with a PhD and a scholar in his or her own right. Despite the name, an editor typically does not “edit”; that is, they typically do not request or suggest sentence- and word-level changes. Instead, an editor—a good editor—helps authors shape and sharpen their arguments, supporting evidence, and conclusions.
Fact-checking. Fact-checking refers to checking details and statements for factual accuracy. Although a good copyeditor or proofreader will query any detail that seems potentially inaccurate, fact-checking is not necessarily part of what a copyeditor or proofreader does.
Fair use. Strictly speaking, no portion of a copyrighted work can be reproduced or quoted without permission from the copyright holder. That is where fair use comes into play. Fair use is a component of US copyright law that permits, under certain circumstances and to varying extents, the reproduction of copyrighted material. Fair use is what permits a scholar to quote, subject to fair-use provisions, from copyrighted works. Click here for more on fair use from the US Copyright Office's website.
House style. House style refers to a publisher’s (i.e., the “house’s”) rules regarding such things as the spelling, hyphenation, and capitalization of words, the treatment of numbers, and the formatting of reference citations. For instance, a style guide may direct you to use American spellings (analyze, behavior) and not British spellings (analyse, behaviour); it may tell you whether it should be non-white (with a hyphen) or nonwhite (without a hyphen); and it may tell you whether the art movement should be cubism (lowercase) or Cubism (capitalized). It is a style guide that tells you how to handle the many details of reference list citations. Should titles of articles appear in quotation marks—or not? Should only the first word of a title be capitalized—or all substantive words? Where should the date of publication appear: after the author’s name or at the end of the citation—or somewhere else entirely? What about page ranges? Should it be 232–245, or 232–45? And so on.
Any professionally run publisher should have a house style. Most publishers simply adopt an already existing style, such as that detailed in The Chicago Manual of Style. Others use only certain elements of an existing style, often supplemented with their own rules. Common styles are the Chicago style, the MLA style, the AP style, and the APA style.
Managing editor. The managing editor is usually the person responsible for keeping a journal on schedule and running smoothly. He or she may also copyedit and proofread the articles published in the journal, or hire and supervise freelancers to do those tasks. The managing editor is usually not a faculty member but an employee of the publisher, and is not necessarily a PhD or scholar in his or her own right. See also editor.
Manuscript. Today, manuscript usually means a document ready for copyediting or developmental editing.
Monograph. A book in which a single argument is stated and developed. Monographs are usually written by single author. Compare with edited volume.
Open-access publishing. Open-access publishing allows readers to access content for free. Open-access publishers thus do not fund their operations through subscriptions, as traditional publishers do. Instead, their revenue comes primarily from fees (such as publication fees), advertising, and donations or grants from foundations and institutions.
Open-access publications are almost by definition online publications. They used to be viewed with skepticism by many in the academy, and they still are to some degree, especially in the humanities; but they have been gaining in credence, and in some areas they may now be the norm. Even many traditional publishers today designate some content as open access.
People who defend open access often argue that it is in the public interest to make scholarly information readily available to all. They will point out that much of the research has been funded by public money already—so why ask the public to pay again through subscription fees? Traditional publishers argue that they provide professional services (peer review, copy editing, proofreading, marketing, et al.) that add value to the published book or articles that readers should pay for.
Wikipedia has an extensive entry on open access: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_access.
Page proofs. Page proofs are the typeset pages of your book or article. They represent the last version of your document before it is finally printed. Page proofs are prepared by a typesetter after your document has been copy edited. They should closely resemble what your book or article will look like in its final, published form. Historically, page proofs were proofread by a professional proofreader, usually employed by the publisher or hired by the publisher as a freelancer. But today, many presses save money by asking authors to proofread their own pages.
Peer-review process. The peer-review process is the process by which the scholarly quality of a book or article is determined. Peer review is initiated and managed by either a publisher or an editor. It usually involves two or more experts on the subject of the book or article commenting on its quality and recommending it, or not, for publication. Peer review is regarded as a professional courtesy, and as such peer reviewers, also called referees, are usually not paid for the service. It is not uncommon for the peer-review process to take six months or more.
Contrary to a popular notion, referees do not decide what gets published. It is the editor who decides what gets published. Referees simply provide advice and recommendations.
Press. See publisher
Proofreading. Proofreading, or reading “proofs” or “page proofs” or “pages,” is the last reading a document is given before it is finally printed and distributed in published form. Ideally, proofreading is done by a professional proofreader; but more and more publishers, looking for ways to cut costs, now ask authors to do it themselves. Proofreaders read for errors only—errors either introduced by the typesetter or errors missed by the copy editor: spelling errors, grammatical errors, typographical errors, and errors of fact. By the time a document gets to the proofreading stage, the time for making substantive changes has passed. Proofreading differs from copyediting, which involves more than reading for errors.
Publication agreement. A publication agreement is a document signed by an author and publisher that establishes such things as who owns the copyright to the publication, the responsibilities of the author and publisher, and the conditions under which the publication can be reproduced and distributed.
Public domain. A work in the public domain is no longer protected by copyright (or was never protected by copyright) and thus can be legally reproduced.
Publisher. The publisher is the business or organization that publishes your article or book. A good publisher does several things, including but not limited to the following. (1) They establish and ensure the quality of a paper or book by subjecting it to a peer-review process. (2) They provide a range of services: copyediting, proofreading, typesetting, printing, and marketing, sales, and distribution. (3) They manage and protect the copyright of their publications.
Historically, university presses were the main publishers of scholarly works. University presses are small operations with limited budgets. (Two exceptions are Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press, which have grown so large that they now function more like commercial presses.) They are called university presses because they are associated, in one way or another, with a university. The main mission of a university press is to publish research rather than to make money. Contrary to what some people believe, they do not exist to publish the work of their own university’s faculty.
Some of the biggest university presses are Duke University Press, the University of Chicago Press, MIT Press, Stanford University Press, and Princeton University Press. Many university presses specialize in certain subjects. Their revenue comes primarily from subscriptions to journals and from book sales, often supplemented with money and in-kind benefits (e.g., office space) from the university with which they are associated.
Over the past twenty years, university presses have faced increasing competition from large commercial presses, which have grown by purchasing existing journals and founding new ones. Today, they dominate the market. Examples are Taylor and Francis, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer, Sage, and Elsevier. Many observers accuse commercial publishers of leveraging their market share to charge exorbitant subscription fees, especially to libraries.
Authors should be wary of so-called predatory publishers. Predatory publishers take advantage of authors desperate for publication. They charge a fee for publishing a paper and promise—often falsely—quick publication, rigorous peer review, and the like. For more, see the guide prepared by the library at Iowa State University: http://instr.iastate.libguides.com/c.php?g=49622&p=319624.
Referee. Peer reviewer. See peer-review process.
Style. See house style.
Typesetting. Typesetting is the process of taking a copyedited document and turning it into page proofs and, after proofreading, into its final published form. A good typesetter will make sure that the typeset document conforms to the publisher’s specifications (e.g., headings look like they are supposed to look, titles and numbers of tables appear where they are supposed to appear, and the like).