Our scientific editing services not only involves medical research papers but technical documents as well. While editing a long technical document, it’s nearly impossible to read through the document and evaluate all structural, content, and formatting issues in one go.
This is where a checklist comes in handy. Using this checklist, you can look at each aspect of the document – the structure, the content, and the formatting systematically. This is because the whole purpose of scientific paper editing is to structure your document in a way that the readers can grasp its meaning easily and perfectly.
Compare your technical document with a well-built house; a house with a solid structure, clean, well-organised, and nothing out of place, no visual obstructions, clear windows, and lots of sunlight.
Similarly, your content, tables, and figures must be comprehensible and easy to follow with no areas of confusion. Nothing should distract your readers or keep them from understanding your content.
So here’s the checklist of the items you should take care of while editing your technical scientific papers:
Handy tips for Reviewing your Scientific Document:
- Make a quick and separate pass through the document for each item on the checklist.
- Always view the document with fresh eyes.
Checklist for Scientific Editing:
1) Structural Review:
- Does the document have appropriate sections as per the journal guidelines?
- Are there any subsections and if yes, are they properly organised?
- Is there any duplicate content? (except in the abstract)
- Consistency through the document (For example, same ordering of endpoints in methods and results sections, size of figures, etc.)
2) Substantive Review:
- Have you stated the aim/purpose of your study?
- Do your conclusions meet the desired aim?
- Does the abstract describe the study objective, study design, results, and conclusions?
- Do you give a clear picture of how your study relates to the past studies and why the study is being conducted?
- Are there references for all the statements related to the published findings?
- Have you described the sample size, enrollment criteria (if applicable), material preparations (if applicable), study design, measurement parameters and endpoints, and statistical analyses in the Methods section?
- The logical sequence of the results (For example, from the most important to the least important or chronological order)
- Do the results include the findings of the statistical analysis?
- Do the tables used correspond with the written data? Are they relevant and highlight the written text?
- Are the figures relevant to illustrate the findings?
- Are the conclusions clearly supported by the results?
- If you cite any data to support the conclusion, has it been presented in the results section?
- Are there any shortcomings of your study and are they clearly stated?
- Consistency cross-checks:
- Abstract vs. each subsequent section
- Methods vs. results (results for each stated endpoint/analysis and presented in the same order)
- Results vs. conclusions (conclusions must follow from the results and presented in the same order)
3) Editorial Review
- Any word that could be interpreted in more than one way or is grammatically incorrect
- Run-on sentences (if you have to track back to know the meaning of a sentence, it’s too long)
- Long paragraphs (keep your paragraphs short of 3-5 sentences each)
- Any text that’s in the wrong section
- Too much/too little detail in the abstract
- Inconsistent terminology
- The consistency of the section heading and the section content
- The appropriate numbering of the sections (if applicable)
- Do all subjects/verbs agree? (singular vs. plural form)
- The consistency of verb tense through the document
- All style conventions (For example, numbers, spacing, punctuation, abbreviations, and capitalization)
- Spellings and grammar
- Are all the acronyms used in the content defined clearly?
- Formatting of the “Table of contents”
- Are all internal cross-references correct and working? These include links to the table, figures, appendix, or another numbered section of the document.
- Are figures and tables numbered in the order of citation?
- Are all the referring sources cited properly and in a consistent format?
- Check the page headers and footers
4) Formatting Review
- Check the consistency of font type, size, and formatting throughout the document
- Are there any large empty spaces or blank pages? Pay special attention to tables, figures, or lists breaking across pages.
If you follow this checklist while editing or reviewing your technical document, it will ensure you don’t miss out on any aspect and develop a paper which is ready and worthy of publication in your target journal.