Paul Dudenhefer

Paul Dudenhefer

"I’ve known Paul Dudenhefer for about fifteen years, ever since he started as managing editor of History of Political Economy, the main journal in the field. As a nonnative English speaker, I benefited a good deal from his skills as an editor. Paul’s careful work led to significant improvement of my articles published in HOPE over the years, not just from the linguistic or stylistic point of view, but also (and maybe more importantly) in terms of the clarity and objectivity of the argument.  More recently, as president-elect of the History of Economics Society (HES), I profited from his crucial help and support in the organization of the 2016 conference at Duke University. Indeed, at the conference, the HES--representing the whole community of historians of economics--presented Paul with a plaque in recognition of his outstanding work as managing editor of HOPE." --Mauro Boianovsky, University of Brasilia

When working with editors, it is important to have appropriate expectations. A good editor will improve your document by correcting errors, editing for consistency and house style, and pointing out unclear or puzzling passages and even suggesting revisions. 

But let's be real. Editors are not miracle workers. They generally cannot take a poorly written document and easily—or maybe ever—turn it into something publishable. If your writing is unclear, any editor will have to work extremely hard to understand what you are trying to say—and even then, they will still often misunderstand you. And regardless of the circumstances, few editors can quickly devise optimal revisions of your prose. Remember that although you have been thinking about and working on your document for months, maybe years, to any editor it will be new and unfamiliar.

Editing is time-consuming. For copyediting, the industry standard is about four pages per hour. Thus, a forty-page paper will take about ten hours to copyedit. If your paper contains a lot of errors and is poorly written, it will take even longer. The copyeditor may also need to spend three or four hours reading any style guide, if applicable. For proofreading, the industry standard is about seven pages per hour.

Whenever you work with an editor, you should be very clear about what you want the editor to do and how much time you want the editor to spend on the job. It is not enough to simply ask someone to “edit” your paper. Be specific about what service you want the editor to provide and how many hours you want them to devote to your document.