Editing at the Annals of
Excerpts from the presentation by John T. Cathey*
Annals of Saudi Medicine accept original articles, brief reports, case reports, special communications, Reviews, Editorials and Letters. In the information provided to the authors, it is clearly stated that maximum length acceptable for original articles is up to three thousand five hundred words while brief reports can have two thousand words.
The format accepted for original articles is based on Abstract (structured), Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion. (AIMRAD).1 The introduction should mention the question the paper intends to answer, what remains unknown and how patients could benefit from the answer.
The Methods section should include details about study design, operational definitions or major variables, description of the patients or subject population, laboratory and statistical methods used.
Results section should cover details pertinent to findings in a logical sequence with tables and figures as necessary. Discussion should have conclusions based on the findings, evidence from the literature that supports the findings, conflicting evidence, and applicability of the conclusions, limitations of the study besides implications for future research or its clinical application.
All the manuscripts go through a peer review process. The authors are informed that before publication their manuscript will undergo final editing and it will be returned to them for approval. In most cases we prefer to redraw graphs and other figures in our own style. The authors are also asked to send us the data if not already provided. If the references are not in Vancouver style 2 the authors are instructed to send a separate word file with references only to firstname.lastname@example.org. In case the authors have any questions, they are asked to contact the office.
Final editing is carried out prior to layout and preparation of “proof” for author review. In case there are some questions/ comments to authors, they are also conveyed. At times the manuscript might undergo substantial editing. There is a minefield of Titles used for those doing editing which includes Technical Editor (EASE), copy editor, proof reader, mechanical editor and scientific medical editor.3
Technical editing covers correcting or standardizing mechanical style, format and language to conform to our style. Substantive editing covers revising to make concise, accurate and informative, examining and improving logic, order and emphasis of text, eliminating jargons, repetition redundancy and irrelevance.4 During language editing, spellings and punctuation, grammar and syntax is checked.4 Language editing addresses the expression of ideas in clear, fluent, concise language that conforms to conventions. Substantive editing addresses the effective development and emphasis of ideas, as well as the coherence, consistency and completeness of information.
Board of Editors in the Life Sciences offers a certification. For this examination tests knowledge necessary to edit manuscripts, focuses on language and substantive editing and to a lesser extent on editing for technical style, or copy editing.5
1. AMA Manual of style: A guide for Authors and Editors. Oxford University Press, New York. Tenth Edition 2007.
3. Iverson C. Copy Editor vs. Manuscript Editor vs. Venturing onto the Minefield of Titles. Science Editor 2004; 27:39.
4. O’Conner M. Copy editing of scientific paper. Science Editor’s Handbook. EASE June 2003.
5. The Board of Editors in Life Sciences. Certification Programme Study Guide. 2001.