In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:
I am having trouble with copyediting of a paper for publication in a philosophy journal in USA. A ‘Journals Production Editor’ (PE) of X University Press sent me a copyedited version of my paper based on the version accepted by the journal (it’s published by X University Press) and asked me to review/correct it and then send back. The journal is not ranked by Leiter. The problem is that the copyeditor made more than 200 changes in the paper, and I think most changes are unnecessary, such as adding 100 “,”, deleting 20 “,”, changing 10 “;” to “,” and 5 “,” to “;”, “but” to “however”, “which” to “that”, many other optional changes, etc. There’s no explanation for any change. Copyeditor also added in footnotes 10 questions (such as “Explain …”, in order tone) that are mainly due to their not reading my endnotes (the journal doesn’t accept footnotes) carefully or unwillingness to check the cited material and so fail to better understand the content.
PE says if I would like the copyeditor to reverse a change, I should enter ‘STET’ immediately following the change, and asks me to answer the copyeditor’s questions. I objected and argued with PE, write a long email saying that I should have the right to reject some changes without the copyeditor’s understanding, and that the copyeditor does not seem to have the required knowledge of relevant (non-English) language to understand my paper well.(The paper is in English, but cited many translations) But PE just replies with two sentences: “No need to explain. Simply type “[STET]” following the unnecessary change.” I then spent a lot of time type more than 100 “[STET]” and explained why I reject where necessary, and sent the file back to PE; I accepted maybe 100 changes. But after a second thought, I find that only about 15 changes are necessary. So I asked PE again: Should they ask authors to point out only changes they agree? (The copyeditor’s name is unknown and I only know PE’s name and email.)
I signed the copyright transfer contract 2 months before this. But I just transferred the copyright of my accepted paper, not a substantially changed paper, right? I think the copyeditor and PE are a bit rude, do not appropriately respect authors, and the copyediting process unjustly favors copyeditors. I don’t mind if the paper can be published or not, but the journal editor and anonymous reviewer are good and open-minded persons.
Have you had trouble with copyediting before? And what do you think about this case?
Indeed, I have–not just with copyediting, but with the publication of final proofs. My sense is that these problems have gotten especially bad recently, as journals increasingly seem to either use automated copyediting or outsource it to people who really have no business doing it. I’m not sure what’s to be done other, and I don’t know what to advise in this case. Do any readers have any helpful advice?
Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More