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Introduction

Copyediting is a process of reviewing and modifying written content to improve the correctness of text and readability, establish suitability for its purpose, and also ensure it is free from basic errors like grammar, repetition, and inconsistency of text. Generally, copyediting is completed before typesetting in publishing[3].

The role of a copywriter is to ensure that whatever appears in public is accurate, easy to follow, fit for purpose, and free of error, omission, inconsistency, and repetition[4]. Copyeditors will correct embarrassing mistakes, ambiguities, and anomalies, alert the client of possible legal problems, and analyze the document structure for the typesetter[7].

Levels of Copyediting:

Copyediting can be classified into three levels: light, medium, and heavy. Depending on the language of the paper submitted and the scheduling of the publication, the publisher will inform the copyeditor of which level of editing to employ.

 

Types of Copyediting:

Though the term copyediting is often used broadly to refer to reviewing written content, there are many styles of editing. Each type has its place in the content development process[8], and one or a combination of these could be used in their respective industries. The different types of copyediting styles are as follows:

  • Mechanical Editing
  • Line or Language Editing

Mechanical Editing

Mechanical editing is the process of checking the grammatical accuracy of written content. It involves ensuring all spelling, capitalization, punctuation, formatting, noun-pronoun agreement, verb usage, and sentence structure is correct. Mechanical editing covers the following topics [6]:

  • Abbreviations
  • Capitalization
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Hyphenation and double hyphenation
  • Numbers and numerals
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling

In the writing process, mechanical editing is often neglected, although it is essential in establishing credibility with an audience. Even the smallest oversight can cause a reader to question the validity of work. To achieve successful mechanical editing, the writer should either be fluent with the rules and mechanics of grammar or have a professional editor proofread the content before publishing.

Line Editing

When most people talk about copyediting, they likely mean line or language editing. Line editing is the process of assessing the work as a whole, gauging its tone, accuracy, clarity, consistency, and overall effectiveness. Line editing helps ensure the argument and critical points are clear, concise and well-supported within the content[8].

A line edit considers the creative content, writing style, and language used at the sentence and paragraph level. While the process is refined, the purpose of a line edit is not to comb through the manuscript for errors, but to focus on the way language is used to communicate the story to the reader[9].


Copyediting Process

In the copyediting process, there are several necessary procedures that every copyeditor must follow:

  • A good system for marking and tracking changes to the author's text
  • A suitable process for querying the author and the editorial coordinator
  • A method for keeping and monitoring editorial decisions

The copyediting process has adapted over time to optimize for the digital landscape.[3]

Copyediting in the Academic Industry

In the academic industry, articles and books are published across the world daily. All these materials are submitted through a copyediting process and are refined to the highest level based on their requirements. Although the content is refined, the subject of the article will not be altered. For accelerated publication speed, commercial publishers can provide copyediting and mechanical editing. A typical article goes through the following process before being published:

Author Manuscript Structuring and Copyediting Typesetting as per the style Author review Corrections incorporated Publish online

  • Abbreviations
  • Capitalization
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Hyphenation and double hyphenation
  • Numbers and numerals
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling

In the writing process, mechanical editing is often neglected, although it is essential in establishing credibility with an audience. Even the smallest oversight can cause a reader to question the validity of work. To achieve successful mechanical editing, the writer should either be fluent with the rules and mechanics of grammar or have a professional editor proofread the content before publishing.


Limitations of the Current Process

A copyeditor can manage both mechanical and various levels of line editing as per the requirement of the publisher or the journal’s office.

Some typesetting companies automate or semi-automate the process of mechanical editing, helping the copyeditor to focus more on line editing and sentence structure. For example, if the journal is to follow the British English language, one could convert all the American English words into British English words using an application embedded in the Word document. Similarly, capitalization of certain words can be checked using a program attached to Word.

The copyediting process for each industry varies based on the requirements of the journal office and publishers. One might opt for mechanical editing, while another might prefer line editing. Depending on the needs, a manuscript can be copyedited by an on-shore team or an off-shore team. In cases where work is sub-contracted to a vendor, the copyeditor might not have access to the necessary tools and applications. In this case, the consistency of copyediting across platforms is compromised. The following are limitations of the copyediting process used in the industry:

  • Accessing tools and applications
  • Protection of intellectual property
  • Manuscripts submitted in different platforms
  • Customizing, changing, or adding a new workflow

Accessing Tools and Applications

Many tools and applications in the market help copyeditors simplify work. However, each publisher has a set of individual rules and styles to be followed, making the job tedious to the copyediting personnel.

Free tools, like Grammarly and After the Deadline, spot spelling errors and suggest grammar corrections. There are even tools tailored for fictions, stories, and dialogues such as AutoCrit and CorrectEnglish. However, some of these tools have limited access and require a monthly charge or annual subscription fee for more advanced features. Not to mention, while these tools provide suggestions on spelling errors, grammar, and sentence structure, they cannot be wholly relied upon for copyediting support.

Nonetheless, these are some of the tools currently available in the market [10]:

  • After the Deadline
  • Auto Crit
  • Correct English
  • Edit Minion
  • Grammarly
  • Hemingway App
  • Paper Rater
  • Pro Writing Aid
  • Slick Write
  • Smart Edit
  • Word Rake

Copyediting service providers also build tools to accommodate for journal and publisher requirements since editing processes vary across industries. Rather than providing generic suggestions, in-house developed tools like these bring-in suggestions as per journal requirements.

The drawback of this approach is that in-house tools are predominantly built as add-ons or plugins in Word and have minimal access outside the domain of the workplace. As a result, extending the application to a sub-vendor or a remote copyeditor would become difficult.

Protection of Intellectual Property

One of the concerns for a copyediting office is the security risk that comes with extending in-house applications out of the domain. Intellectual property can land in the wrong hands as a result of unrefined processes. From there, competitors could easily decode the add-ons on Word and take credit for someone else’s work.

While copyediting developers can add more codes to protect their intellectual property, doing so inhibits the performance of the application. For instance, running the same add-ons from a home network might not have all the relevant support files that would be available on production environment servers. Even after connecting using a virtual private network (VPN), the performance would still be limited due to internet bandwidth and restrictions applied.

Manuscripts Submitted on Different Platforms

Manuscript can be submitted through Word or LaTex files. Submitting manuscripts on different platforms is a significant limitation in the copyediting industry, especially for professional copyediting offices who work in STM Journals Publication.

Because Word and LaTex are separate platforms, each has its own team who develop tools and features. As a result, utilizing both Word and Latex platforms in the copyediting process undermines efficiency because the platforms are not compatible. For example, a team specialized in Visual Basic (a programming language) works on the tools for Word-based submissions, while another team specialized in Perl (another programming language) and LaTeX work on the later portion of the submission. These programming languages have their own set of advantages and limitations, and integrating the tools requires double the effort. As a result, some customizations are left to be done manually, resulting in wasted time and efforts.


Table 1: Total pages copyedited at Katalyst-Nova Techset (Oct-Dec, 2019)

Month Word LaTeX Total
Articles Pages Articles Pages Articles Pages
Oct 3,411 68,885 515 13,925 3,926 82,810
Nov 3,053 66,370 486 13,240 3,539 79,610
Dec 2,731 57,419 371 10,059 3,102 67,478
Total 9,195 192,674 1,372 37,224 10,567 229,898

Table 1 above provides the details of total articles and pages of which Nova Techset, a division of Katalyst Technologies, processed for three months under both Word and LATex manuscript submissions.

As you can see, the total submission of articles processed in LaTex is ~ 13% ((total latex submission / total submissions) X 100) of the total articles received at Katalyst-Nova Techset. At first glance, this may not provide an accurate representation as it depicts that less than 15% of the work falls under LATex workflow. When we explore it further for a particular publisher, ABC (name changed) for example, who publishes Physics journals in America, the data paints a different picture.

Below, Table 2 shows the flow of Word submissions and LATex submissions. The total number of pages copyedited is closer in number (11,825 and 9,161 respectively) than what was originally portrayed


Table 2: Pages copyedited in Katalyst-Nova Techset for a publisher who publishes Physics journals

Month Word LaTeX Total
Oct 5,057 2,835 7,892
Nov 3,234 3,060 6,294
Dec 3,534 3,267 6,801
Total 11,825 9,162 20,987

Figure 1: Percentage of copyedited manuscripts at Katalyst-Nova Techset

Figure 1 shows the total number of pages copyedited at Katalyst-Nova Techset, distinguishing between pages copyedited in Word and LaTeX platforms. The chart reveals that more than 80% of the total manuscripts copyedited are in a Word document. But Figure 2 shows a different trend: the number of pages processed in both Word and LaTeX is almost equal for the same period, meaning the copyeditor must manage to work on both platforms without losing focus on the quality and quantity of total pages.


Figure 2: Percentage of copyedited manuscripts at Katalyst-Nova Techset for a USA publisher that publishes only Physics journals

The real problem starts here. Copyeditors who work for this publisher or similar publishers must work on both types of manuscripts. In this case, the copyeditor needs to understand the tools used in Word and the tools used in LaTeX. Additionally, certain functionalities only work in either Word or LaTeX, which leads to manual work and increased turnover time, resulting in lower productivity.

On the technological front, all updates and new requirements must be reflected on both platforms. For example, if a feature is achieved earlier in one platform, this must be manually copyedited until the process is automated on the other platform. Doing so requires additional quality checks at every process to avoid any errors from occurring.

Customizing, Changing, or Adding a New Workflow

Typesetting is the composition of text onto a page, which occurs at the end of the publication process. The typesetter arranges the content to create the best reading experience. The traditional flow of typesetting is as follows:

Structuring the content as per the journal style Copyediting the content Conversion to XML and typesetting Author review (online or pdf) Publishing online ahead of print or publishing it in print.

Typesetting an article is mandatory before sending proofs to the author for review. Under the current workflow, generating a typeset PDF could take anywhere between 1-3 days depending on the service level agreed upon. Some publishers may even request a copy of changes made by the copyeditor along with a typeset PDF. In this case, it can be difficult gathering changes made by the copyeditor and those made by the typesetter.

With the advancement of technology and the need for faster publishing times, the traditional workflow can no longer be followed. In fact, new ways of reducing turnaround time have become essential.

Solutions: CASPER

The solution is a platform that can host manuscripts in the Cloud and support both Word and LaTeX submissions. In this application, functionalities could be applied irrespective of the manuscript type. Additionally, the application’s tools and functions would be available for use anywhere, creating a seamless and secure copyediting process.

We introduce CASPER, an online copyediting tool, equipped with the following features:

  • Structuring of content
  • Adding content
  • Auto styling of content
  • Support for both Word and LaTeX submissions
  • Mechanical copyediting
  • Queries
  • Custom workflows

As mentioned, CASPER is a web-based copyediting tool hosted on the Cloud that processes structured articles submitted by either Word or LaTeX. This application is platform-independent, which reduces development and customization efforts. Since CASPER makes all functions available to anyone at any time, the copyeditor can work on all relevant tasks without any issues, and the throughput would be consistent across platforms.

In the end, CASPER increases both the productivity and quality of the copyedited content. Let's take a detailed look at the features of CASPER:

Structuring of Content

An article being prepared for publication in a journal must be structured to meet the journal’s requirements. Articles like these may contain different elements such as an Abstract, a list of Keywords, and distinct Sections, which must be structured according to the style of the journal.

In this scenario, CASPER does the task of delimiting for structure automatically. With its customizable components, CASPER can set up a sequence of one or more characters to specify between separate, independent regions in the plain text of other data streams. In this case, a delimiter would be set to indicate the beginning or end of a specific statement, string or function body set. CASPER correctly selects the delimiter to meet the specified journal requirements.


Adding Content

Adding or deleting content through in-line editing is part of every copyeditor’s tasks. In CASPER, the copyeditor can add new content, remove any existing content, and keep track of everything that was added or deleted in the application. Additions are highlighted in green, deletions in red strikethrough, and changes in the style or format of the text in yellow. You can also add, edit, or delete the following:

  • Equations
  • References
  • Images
  • Abstract text and image
  • Display quote
  • Box
  • Speech
  • Links
  • Tables
  • Lists
  • Notes and Footnotes
  • ORCID
  • Author Query

Reference citation in Number format

The paper intends to cover these gaps in our knowledge by focusing on a country often considered as an exceptional case of internal migration - the United States (US). US citizens have traditionally displayed geographical mobility rates nearly double those of other advanced societies; almost one-third of American-born citizens lived outside their state of birth [4, 5]. The annual geographical mobility rate in the US has historically been about three times larger than that of the EU15, EU27, or Canada and about one and a half times that of Australia [6]. This high internal migration is a legacy of the country's history. Already throughout the nineteenth century almost 60% of the US-born male population over the age of 30 had moved across country-or state-lines [7]. By 1880, more than a third of the US population were American-born internal migrants (own calculations).

Auto Styling of Content

Because there is a complex range of reference styles and requirements, adding the correct reference style to a platform can be a tiresome process. CASPER takes care of this task. Once CASPER places the content in its relevant field, the application automatically styles the references and places them correctly.

Manually converting a named reference to a numbered reference, or vice versa is a challenging task because citation and reference placements are disarrayed. In CASPER, however, the same job can be done with just a single click. CASPER also provides chronological and alphabetical citation ordering in that manner.


References as per the journal style

The next set of screenshots are examples of reference citations that can be changed with a single click of a button within CASPER.


Reference citation in Name and year format

The paper intends to cover these gaps in our knowledge by focusing on a country often considered as an exceptional case of interanl migration - the United States (US). US citizens have traditionally displayed geographical mobility rates nearly double those of other advanced societies; almost one-third of American-born citizens lived outside their state of birth (Molloy, Smit, and Wozniak 2011; US Census Bureau 2016). The annual geographical mobility rate in the US has historically been about three times larger than that of the EU 15, EU27, or Canada and about one and a half times that of Australia (Gill and Raiser 2012). This high internal migration is a legacy of the country's history. Already throughout the nineteenth century almost 60% of the US-born male population over the age of 30 had moved across county-or state-lines (Ferrie 2005). By 1880, more than a third of the US population were American-born internal migrants (own calculation).


Menu to change reference citation in a single click


Support for Both Word and LaTeX Submissions

CASPER is unique in that it can support the same interface for manuscripts submitted in both Word and LaTeX. The copyeditor no longer needs to shuffle between applications and tools to copyedit an article. Instead, they can load the content in CASPER and start copyediting on an interface that is supported by both platforms. As a result, consistency is always maintained and copyeditor throughput increases. The following figures present examples of articles copyedited in different platforms (Word and LaTeX). These have been loaded in CASPER and have a very similar interface.

Figure 3: Shows an article in Tex

Figure 4: Shows the same LaTex article in CASPER

Figure 5: Shows a Word article

 

Figure 6: Shows the same Word article in CASPER


Mechanical Copyediting

In a single click, CASPER can convert UK English to US English (and vice versa), check for double hyphens or misspelled words, and check for words that need capitalization. CASPER can also suggest punctuation and grammar usage as its being populated from our database. This action can also be customized to meet the specified publisher and journal levels.

Queries

Copyeditors are responsible for raising appropriate queries to the author. CASPER provides a straightforward solution to categorizing queries, making it easy to add them to the proper location.


Custom Workflows

CASPER helps customize the workflow of articles. Due to custom workflows, journals that require quick turnaround would highly benefit from CASPER. The workflow introduced on CASPER is as follows:

Author Manuscript Structuring and Copyediting Author review (content + typeset PDF that CASPER can generate) Corrections incorporated Publish online

Within the new CASPER workflow, the typesetting process is automated, thus accelerating the publication of an article. This workflow is leveraged by features like XML conversion, pagination, and layout checks. If there are any changes to the layout, the author can mark them on the automated typeset proof generated via CASPER. In the end, CASPER’s typesetting process reduces the overall turnaround time to 20-40%.

Conclusion

CASPER simplifies the copyediting process by allowing the copyeditor to complete mechanical editing in just a few clicks. Because of its highly-customizable features, CASPER empowers the copyeditor to focus more on inline or language editing. Consequently, the custom workflows within CASPER allow for a faster turn around time for journals.


References:

  • 1. "What Is Copy Editing?". Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  • 2. Stainton, Elsie Myers (2002). The Fine Art of Copyediting. Columbia University Press.
  • 3. Einsohn, Amy (2011). The Copyeditor's Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications, with Exercises and Answer Keys. Berkeley, California: University of California.
  • 4. FAQs: What Is Copy-editing? - Freelances | Standards, https://www.sfep.org.uk/about/faqs/what-is-copy-editing/ (accessed January 30, 2019).
  • 5. "Copy Editing Services in Chennai". www.sparkleweb.org. Archived from the original on 2016-05-28. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  • 6. Einsohn, Amy (2011). The Copyeditor's Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications, with Exercises and Answer Keys. Berkeley, California: University of California
  • 7. Sb Publishing - Publishing, https://sbpublishing.org/publishing.html (accessed January 30, 2019).
  • 8. Here Are The 6 Types Of Copy Editing | Scripted, https://www.scripted.com/content-marketing/6-types-copy-editing (accessed January 30, 2019).
  • 9. What Is The Difference Between Copyediting And Line Editing?, https://nybookeditors.com/2015/01/copyediting-vs-line-editing/ (accessed January 30, 2019).
  • 10. Instantly Improve Your Writing with these 11 Editing Tools, https://nybookeditors.com/2016/02/instantly-improve-your-writing-with-these-11-editing-tools/ (accessed January 27, 2019).