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What Does a Medical Editor Do? Try the Test

Medical editor at work

A medical editor can do much more than eliminate the spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in your manuscript. An editor can help make your scientific writing clear and precise.

A medical editor (or scientific editor) revises scientific language for usage, flow, and clarity. She reduces awkward phrasing, biased language, and jargon that is inappropriate for the audience.

The editor ensures that facts, data, and scientific units have been used consistently. She queries you about problems with logic, organization, and missing information. The editor may also format text to comply with medical journal guidelines.

A good medical editor adopts the reader's point of view but upholds the author's voice.

To find out what it's like to be in a medical editor's shoes, try the following test. Identify errors in grammar and spelling, lapses in clarity, and problems in logic, precision, and consistency.

Instructions: Identify the errors in a sentence (2 in each). Roll your mouse over the sentence to open text boxes that show revisions. Click on the incorrect word or phrase to hold the box open. To close it, click anywhere on the page. No peeking before you make your editing decisions!

Medical Editing Test

  1. The highest percent of reported side effects occurred in Group B (15%), followed by those reported in Group A (12%) and in Group C.

  2. After teaching the principals of physiology online, advanced concepts of physiology were introduced in the classroom.

  3. In other words, the patient's symptomatology diminished within 2 weeks.

  4. The prevalence of tuberculosis infection among hospital health-care workers reported this year (50 cases per 10,000) increased 5-fold from that reported last year (10 per 10,000).

  5. None of the analyses correlates with the preliminary test cores.

  6. There are several reasons why we studied mitochondrial DNA in a population of Drosophila melanogaster (see Table 3).

  7. An Intraocular Lens (IOL) was implanted, but complications necessitated explanation.

  8. We reviewed the patient's past history, diagnostic studies and laboratory reports.

  9. Of the 250 participants in our bone density study, we excluded 10 (5%) who already suffered from osteoporosis.

  10. We had three main goals in this study: the analysis of the relationship between the two variables and to synthesize previous research findings.

How did you do as an editor? Were you able to spot most of the errors and language problems? This test represents a small sampling of what a medical editor looks for when working on a manuscript.

If you are a medical or scientific author, you may find it difficult to step back and notice areas that require revision in your own work (I find the same with my own writing).

My goal as a medical editor, however, is to help make your writing as clear, smooth, and error free as possible—without compromising your voice. If you have any questions about science or medical editing, please contact me online.

For more information about my editing services, please visit the Science Editing Services page.

Thinking of Hiring a
Medical Editor

A medical editor saves you time and allows you to focus on the scientific content of your manuscript.

But if you have the time to self-edit before hiring an editor, try one of these ideas.

Professional Service... Personal Approach
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