June 19, 2006

The leisurely pace of editing

I spent over half of my worktime today doing editing stuff—sending out most of the disposition e-mails to authors I owed (still have two or three left for tomorrow) and seeing if the new article is up yet (it is, but I'm too tired to vet an e-mail announcement, so that's tomorrow's first task).

Reading manuscripts, whether incoming or after reviews, is one of the more demanding parts of editing, and it's the second-most enjoyable task I have as an editor. Polishing an article's look is detail work, I'm not perfect at it, and it's not about the ideas for the most part. Helping an author improve a piece is definitely the most rewarding part of editing. But after that, the initial read and then the re-read after reviews are returned are a fascinating exercise in listening to perspectives and reading with three lenses on: Would it contribute something? Do I see what the reviewers saw? Am I seeing everything I can here? That attempt to keep multiple perspectives in the air is harder than reading dense prose.

It also means I can't quickly skim the type of article I was going over today—papers where the reviewers were generally positive but mixed. Would it contribute something? became Would it contribute enough, given everything else? Do I see what the reviewers saw? became How do I sort these issues in order of importance? Am I seeing everything I can here? is of course the hardest one, and explains why I spent more than an hour rereading and deciding how to write a revise-and-request letter for the first MS I tackled this morning. That was relatively quick, too.

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Posted in EPAA on June 19, 2006 11:45 PM |