Basic Copyediting

Basic copyediting is typically sufficient for manuscripts that already have been reviewed and revised by the author, possibly with the assistance of other readers or editors. Depending on the condition of the manuscript, basic copyediting may include any or all of the following tasks:

  • correcting spelling, grammar, punctuation, diction, and syntax, while preserving the meaning and voice of the original text;
  • checking for and imposing a consistent style and format;
  • preparing a style sheet that documents style and format;
  • reading for overall clarity and sense on behalf of the prospective audience;
  • crosschecking references, figures, tables, equations, and other features for consistency with their mentions in the text;
  • noting permissions needed to publish copyrighted material;
  • querying the author about apparent errors, inconsistencies, or other problematic elements;
  • drawing the author’s attention to potentially confusing constructions or claims requiring a degree of revision or rewriting that would exceed the copyeditor’s mandate; and
  • preparing a manuscript for the next stage of the publication process.

The tasks above are based on those listed in the Editorial Freelancers Association Code of Fair Practice, 3rd ed.

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