Kateproof offers an affordable and efficient proofreading service

Proofreading, proof-editing and copy-editing academic texts

Posted on 29th March 2017

Though I have a lot of detail on my Academic Services page about my proofreading and copy-editing services for students and academics, I thought it would be useful to provide a table here to show the different levels of work involved in either a proofread or copy-edit. I have also included details for my proof-editing service, a relatively new term that seems suitable for authors wanting a one-stage process for their manuscripts.

As I emphasise elsewhere, I only proofread work to be submitted for assessment, but I can proofread, proof-edit or copy-edit PhDs that have passed their vivas and are due to be published, journal articles, book chapters and complete books.

By academic services, I include work for students (predominantly postgraduates), academics and people publishing non-fiction manuscripts.

Proofreading Proof-editing Copy-editing
Correcting spelling, grammar and punctuation Y Y Y
Ensuring consistency (e.g. spelling variations, hyphens, capitals, italics) Y Y Y
Formatting – checking/correcting inconsistencies Y* Y Y
Formatting from scratch N N Y
Checking that a style sheet is adhered to Y Y Y
Implementing a style sheet from scratch N N Y
Suitability for audience, including word choice N Y Y
Flagging missing elements in references N** Y Y***
Dealing with repetition and wordiness N Y Y
Cross-referencing in-text citations with references N Y Y
Highlighting potential issues with plagiarism**** N Y Y

* This is not always included for students submitting work for assessment. As many universities restrict what I can do, I will comment on issues for the student to implement but am rarely allowed to actively correct the formatting.

** As above, this will depend on the remit allowed by the university but where permitted, I will flag issues with missing data in the references for the student to find and add.

*** I can add the service of helping to find and add details to the references but that is an add-on and not part of the standard copy-editing process. The standard copy-editing service includes me highlighting where elements are missing.

**** See this fantastic blog article by Hazel Bird for a more in-depth look at plagiarism and how copy-editors can aim to spot it but in brief, it is not my responsibility to check for plagiarism and I do not have access to software that checks for plagiarism but I will point out if I feel a reference is required or if style/tone of writing changes such that it stands out.

What add-on services can I offer?

I don't like emphasising what my services don't include but since this blog post is hopefully all about clarifying the terms I use, I figure it is best I am clear.

None of the three services include heavy rewriting or fact-checking, unless explicitly requested. If heavy rewriting is required, I would recommend a final proofread after my file has been checked and all queries and new content checked by the author.

Regardless of whether you ask for a proofreading, proof-editing or copy-editing service, I run a series of tests that include checks on consistency of proper nouns. This means I will hopefully spot anomalies in the way someone's name is written and will do an internet search to see which is correct, but I do not externally cross-check all authors' names in reference lists unless this is requested.

Written by Kate Haigh.