Table of Contents

ToC3. Editing

The job of the editor[s] is to check that articles are suitable for inclusion in the journal or book, and to prepare them for publication. This means not only reading them to see if the content is appropriate for the audience and subject, but that they conform to the style rules for the journal or book series.

Up to start of section3.1. Editing for content


Up to start of section3.2. Editing for style

This requires strict attention and a careful, disciplined approach. It also needs some knowledge of the demands placed on typography by the various output formats (Web, PDF, eBook, etc).

You must have a thorough knowledge and understanding of your publication's stylesheet. Editing the use of Named Styles is very simple, but it requires the ability to spot what authors intended, and correct their abuse of styles. There will always be those authors who consider themselves above such discipline, and those who have a fixation about the rightness of their personal idea of formatting. Both are entirely wrong when writing for someone else (ie, your journal), and the editor's job is to mend the damage these attitudes causes to the author's own work and to the publication.

Each major style element is known as a ‘paragraph’ style (the ‘character’ styles are dealt with in the penultimate paragraph in section 3.2.3 ‘Back matter’ ). Your journal's stylesheet will contain a mix of compulsory elements and optional elements. The compulsory ones are ‘metadata’ (information about the article)

Up to start of subsection3.2.1. Metadata (‘front matter)’

These elements are compulsory:

  • Title (one only!)
  • Author (one or more)
  • Affiliation (one or more, in pairs with each Author)

The optional elements are:

  • Series (containing the series name, eg ‘Review’, ‘Editorial’, ‘Opinion’, etc, used for classification)
  • Subtitle (immediately following the Title)
  • Abstract (one or more styled paragraphs like this will be grouped together and automatically given the ‘Abstract’ heading)
  • Epigraph
  • EpiCite (for an attribution immediately after the Epigraph)

Figure 1. Editing an article using named styles

Example document - Wordprocessor
Series Article
  • Series
  • Title
  • Subtitle
  • Author
  • Affiliation
  • Epigraph
  • EpiCite
  • Heading
  • Normal
  • Abstract
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
  • BlockQuote
  • BlockQuoteCite
  • Caption
  • Heading1
  • Heading2
  • Heading3
  • ListBullet
  • ListContinue
  • ListLabel
  • ListNumber
  • ListPara
  • Plain
  • Reference
  • Text
  • WebText
  • Citation
  • Footnote
Title The Mathematical Analysis of Logic
Subitle Being an essay towards a calculus of deductive reasoning
Author George Boole
Affiliation University College Cork
Epigraph Έπικοινοῦσι δὲ πᾶσαι αἱ ἐπιστῆμαι ἀλλήλαιϛ κατὰ τὰ κοινά. Κοινὰ δὲ λέγω, οἶϛ χρῶνται ὡϛ ἐκ τούτων ἀποδεικνύντεϛ· ἀλλ᾽ οὐ περὶ ὧν δεικνύουσιν, οὐδε ὃ δεικνύουαι.
EpiCite Aristotle, Anal. Post., lib. i. cap. xi.
Heading Preface
Normal In presenting this Work to public notice, I deem it not irrelevant to observe, that speculations similar to those which it records have, at different periods, occupied my thoughts. In the spring of the present year my attention was directed to the question then moved between Sir W. Hamilton and Professor De Morgan; and I was induced by the interest which it inspired, to resume the almost-forgotten thread of former inquiries. It appeared to me that, although Logic might be viewed with reference to the idea of quantity,* it had also another and a deeper system of relations. If it was lawful to regard it from without, as connecting itself through the medium of Number with the intuitions of Space and Time, it was lawful also to regard it from within, as based upon facts of another order which have their abode in the constitution of the Mind. The results of this view, and of the inquiries which it suggested, are embodied in the following Treatise.
Footnote See p. 43.

To edit with named styles in Microsoft Word you need to a) turn on the Style Margin; and b) turn on the Style List

Up to start of subsection3.2.2. Document body

The body of the article is then made up of ordinary paragraphs, lists, figures, tables, and block quotations, grouped into sections.

Up to start of subsubsection3.2.2.1. Paragraphs

The ordinary paragraphs are usually unstyled or labelled automatically by the author's wordprocessor as Normal, Plain, WebText, Text, or some such similar name.

In the publishing process, all paragraphs with an unknown or non-existent style name are treated as simple paragraphs with no special styling. This means that if an author invents some new style of their own, it will just be ignored.

Up to start of subsubsection3.2.2.2. Sectioning

Structure is indicated by dividing up the paragraphs by section headings where needed:

  • Heading (unnumbered top-level sections only)

The unnumbered section Heading can only be used where there is no subsectioning at all.

  • Heading1 (numbered top-level section)
  • Heading2 (numbered second-level subsection)
  • Heading3 (numbered third-level subsubsection

All other articles must use Heading1, Heading2, and Heading3 for sections, subsections, and subsubsections as appropriate. Numbering is then done automatically in the published article, so that it will be consistent, overriding any oddities introduced manually by authors. Numbering can be turned off completely in the published journal if required.

Up to start of subsubsection3.2.2.3. Lists

The style elements for lists are:

  • ListBullet (bulleted list item)
  • ListNumber (numbered list item)
  • ListContinue (for second or more paragraphs of a single item)
  • ListLabel (labelled list item topic, each followed by one or more ListPara elements)

Your journal style will determine whether each level of listing is done with digits or letters: authors must conform to your style for consistency. Broken lists (where the numbering is interrupted by some normal paragraphs of text, and then the sequence resumed where it left off) should be avoided, stylistically speaking, but it can be accomodated by arrangement.

Up to start of subsubsection3.2.2.4. Figures, tables, and block quotations
  • Figure (contains one or more images)
  • Table (must be kept simple and not over-formatted: web browsers do not reproduce complex tables well)
  • Caption (the caption goes before a Table but after a Figure)
  • BlockQuote
  • BlockQuoteCite (for an attribution immediately after the BlockQuote, in a similar way to Epigraph and EpiCite)

In Microsoft Word, right-click on an image after inserting or creating it, and pick Caption from the drop-down menu to add a caption. Tables have no such facility: the Caption styled paragraph must be added separately (immediately above the table).

Images for figures should be scaled down if necessary to a maximum of 1024×768 pixels (dots) before adding: do not rely on the wordprocessor doing this for you—​it won't, it will just make it look as if it has. Most modern camera images are enormous and take a massive amount of space (and make them slow to download for readers).

Up to start of subsection3.2.3. Back matter

After the body of the article there may be one or more of the following:

  • Appendix (works like a top-level Heading1 section style but gets lettered instead of numbered; followed by paragraphs and subsection headings as needed)
  • Bibliography or Reference (these will be grouped together at the end, one entry each, and automatically given the ‘References’ or ‘Bibliography’ heading)

⇛ The styles that can be used inside a paragraph are called ‘inline’ or ‘character’ styles. Bold and Italics are the most common, and have no actual style name of their own.

The two epexegetic inline styles most commonly used are:

  • Footnote (using the normal InsertFootnote menu)
  • Citation (either done manually or by using the drag-and-drop mechanism from Zotero, Mendeley, Endnote, etc)

Up to start of section3.3. Copyediting (typographic editing)

Some of these are quite subtle, and are easily missed by the unpractised eye. What follows is a list of hints and tips that will help bring your articles up to publication standard. Remember that authors are not typesetters, and may have very little experience or understanding of consistency, logic, or structure, no matter how famous or authoritative they may be in their own field. Some of the characters mentioned may be unfamiliar to you (see the table ‘Special characters mentioned in this section’ in the list in this section below).

Dashes and hyphens

The hyphen (-) is used to connect two words in a compound, for example ‘a long-held belief’. It should never be used for any other purpose. It is frequently misused for the long dash—​called an ‘em dash’ or ‘em rule’ by printers—​with or without the spaces (an em is a printer's measure of width).

Replace all occurrences of a hyphen preceded or followed by one or more spaces with a consistent dash: either just an em dash alone (no spaces) or an em dash with a non-breaking space before it and a normal space after it (the reason being that when the text is reformatted, you don't ever want a line to be broken at the space before a dash, whereas a line-break after a dash looks OK).

There are two exceptions: aa hyphen between two digits (like ‘87-93’) should be replaced with an ‘en dash’, which is shorter than an em dash but longer than a hyphen, like ‘87–93’. This is the only place that an en dash should be used; and bin mathematics, the hyphen is never used: replace them with real minus signs, as in 87−93=−6.

Some older authors may use a colon followed by a hyphen or dash to precede a list:- like that. Remove the hyphen or dash: the colon alone is sufficient.


This is the three-dot ‘leader’ which is used to indicate an uncompleted sentence, a suspension and resumption of an argument, or [in brackets] an omitted word or phrase.

An ellipsis is a single character, not three separate full stops (periods)…the spacing is different. Most wordprocessors automatically convert three full stops into an ellipsis, but some authors type many more than three, and some systems don't do the conversion properly.

Change all multiple full stops into single ellipses.


The ampersand is the ‘and’ sign (&) and should never occur in normal text. The exceptions are a) some bibliographical citation formats which use it to separate author names; and b) some compound acronyms like AT&T

Change all other & signs in normal text to ‘and’.

In Irish, use a real ocus sign (⁊) not a digit 7. This is also known as the Tironian ‘Et’ or the Insular Ampersand.

Table 1. Special characters mentioned in this section

Character Glyph Code Usage Windows shortcut Mac OS X shortcut Linux shortcut
Em dash 2014 Long dash between phrases Alt+0+1+5+1 Shift+Option+- Shift+AltGr+-
En dash 2013 Range dash between numbers Alt+0+1+5+0 Option+- AltGr+-
Minus sign 2212 Mathematical minus
Ellipsis 2026 Point of suspension Alt+0+1+3+3 AltGr+:
Ocus sign 204A Irish ampersand
Non-breaking space 2423 Normal space displayed, but line will never break here Alt+0+1+6+0 or (Word) Ctrl+Shift+Space
Left single open-quote 2018 Option+]
Right single close-quote 2019 Shift+Option+]
Left double open-quote 201C Option+[
Right double close-quote 201D Shift+Option+[

Other characters can be obtained by pressing your system's Unicode Selector keys and typing the character code.

  • Windows: type the hexadecimal Unicode character code and press Alt+X.

  • Mac: hold down Option (Alt) and type the hexadecimal Unicode character code. You need to enable this first with System PreferencesLanguage & TextInput Sources and Unicode Hex Input keyboard layout)

  • Linux: hold down Ctrl+Shift+U (an underlined u will appear) and type the hexadecimal Unicode character code.

Full stops (periods)

There must never be a full stop (period) at the end of a title or a heading. Delete them.


Remove full stops (periods) from acronyms: that is, use IBM, not I.B.M.

Superscripted ordinals

Never use superscripts for ordinals: use 36th, not 36th. Especially do not allow italics as well as superscripting, like 36th.

Remove superscript and italicisation from all ordinal numbers. You should turn off auto-superscripting on your machine permanently.

Superscripting and italicisation of ordinals was a foible of Victorian typography which persisted until WWII. It lingered longer in the USA and was re-introduced to Americans by Microsoft under the mistaken impression that it looked cute or cool. It doesn't.


Underlining was used in the days of typewriters because italics were not available. It is never used in typesetting.

Replace all underlining in normal text by italics.

There are two exceptions: a) in some disciplines, the underline is used as a special signal in symbolic notations (linguistics and mathematics, mostly); and b) some bibliographical citation formats which use it to indicate the volume, issue, or page numbers in certain types of reference.

URIs (web addresses) should never be manually underlined by an author (they may get automatically underlined by a browser, but that is not the author's responsibility).

Empty paragraphs

Paragraphs containing no text are simply ignored when publishing, regardless of any style name they may have. Space between paragraphs is determined by the web browser and the CSS styles for the journal, not by adding empty paragraphs. Empty paragraphs may interfere with the deductive mechanism of the publishing process, and should normally be deleted.

For example, a figure needs to be followed immediately by its caption. Adding an empty paragraph for spacing (apart from being meaningless and unnecessary, because the web stylesheet will do its own spacing) may prevent the program seeing the caption at all, because it is not the immediate next element after the figure.


Some authors try to force a premature line-break by starting a new paragraph, and giving it the same style as the preceding one. This will not work, because now there are two styled paragraphs instead of one. In the case of a Title, for example, there would now be two titles, which is nonsense.

To force a premature line-break, join the two paragraphs together again, and use the InsertBreakLine break menu item to break the line.

Apostrophes and quotes

Most wordprocessors automatically convert pairs of typewriter quotes '' and "" to curly (typographic) quotes like ‘this’ and “that”.

Beware of unmatched single quotes like “…in the ‘20s” where the wordprocessor has failed to see that it should be an apostrophe like “…in the ’20s”, not an open-quote. Change these to apostrophes.

In Irish surnames, the patronymic marker O’ in the English form must never be followed by a space; in the Irish form Ó it must always have a space after it, preferably a non-breaking space. Similarly, Mc and Mac in English forms must never take a space (whereas Mac, mac, and ó in Irish forms always do), and the Mc must never be represented by M‘ or Mc except when quoting from a source. The other markers Ua, Uí, Í, Ní, and Nic all take a space.

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