Journal editors can improve your English

Most high-quality science journals have editors who will proof-read your manuscript before it is printed or published online. While not all journals exclusively employ native speakers as editors, their English is typically very good. Therefore, the proofs you receive should not be regarded as an annoying hurdle on the way to another publication, but can serve as a very useful way to improve your English.

To this end, several years ago, I started a list of errors that I committed and that were corrected by the editors. While it may not make sense to keep track of all errors (this typo only occurred once), I think that you will quickly find that there are some errors that come back again and again. Of course, the list can also include errors that you discover yourself before submitting a paper.

Before submission, I usually go through the list of errors and check the manuscript. Interestingly, after having kept and used this list of mistakes, I managed to permanently avoid many of the mistakes in the first place. This in turn means fewer corrections in the proofs, easier to read papers, and more efficient publishing.

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