Technical style

Editorial aspects that can be handled without reading the text

Styling journal manuscript elements

Course details

Suggested timeline: 1-2 months into editing

Total time: Approx. 9 hours


Course description

This course covers all the elements that may be present in a journal article. The simpler aspect of identifying the basic elements of a manuscript can often be learned within a week or two of starting to copyedit. But understanding the theoretical background and handling the complexities associated with the content of many of these elements can take a couple of months.

This course on journal manuscript elements will cover the following:

  • Document types and publication types
  • Journal sections (or TOC categories)
  • Background information relating to almost elements in a journal manuscript, including
    • mechanics and implications of author–affiliation linking (or nonlinking)
    • grant information, disclosures and disclaimers
    • footnotes to the article title (categories, their sequence)
    • author-related footnotes
    • title-page footnotes (types, logical order, preferences)
    • running heads/feet (purpose, content)
    • supplementary material
  • Callouts and their importance, renumbering of display elements, passing citations
  • Complications and practical problems relating to journal elements, particularly author names, affiliations (components, complications, placement of components), titles (two-part titles, part titles, subtitles), running heads

After taking this course you will be able to

  • assess the various elements present in any manuscript and visualize how each one will have to be set (styled/coded and marked up) for any given journal
  • handle with confidence and ease many of the complexities that may be associated with the content of these elements
  • ensure that every manuscript element is handled per the expectations for (and standards of) the journal
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Editorial markup of text

Course details

Suggested timeline: 2–3 months into editing

Total time: Approx. 16 hours


Course description

This course will focus on the nitty-gritties of technical/mechanical style within the text.

First, this is a continuation of the mechanical aspects of style. References was a specific area of the manuscript; and citations in the text, although spread all over the text, have a pattern that the copyeditor can watch out for. But editorial markup of text deals with a variety of editorial decisions that have to be taken successively, each decision based on the context of the area where such decisions have to be taken. In short, this area of editing sharpens the focus of the copyeditor by a greater demand on the concentration required to take these decisions.

Second, the need for repeated decision-making can be daunting for a new copyeditor, as he or she may have to think carefully before taking each decision. Different decisions may have to be taken despite similar contexts—spelling out a number in one place and using a numeral in another is a common example—and a learning copyeditor can easily get a little mixed-up with the concepts. The good news is that once mastered, almost all such decisions may become simple and almost mechanical to the copyeditor.

So this is naturally the next step in the learning process: focusing on tougher mechanical things before starting to look at language. Editorial markup of text also contributes to having a strong foundation for a career in editing.

The course will help you understand the following:

  • Traditional number style and modern scientific number style
  • The variety of things in a manuscript that may be associated with numbers
  • Principles of number handling that do not change with style (or preferences)
  • Number-handling aspects that can vary with style (or preferences)
  • Scientific conventions (those involving and not involving numbers)
  • The innumerable style-related decisions you may be able to take without actually reading the text

After taking this course you will

  • be more at ease handling numbers in any manuscript, be it the traditional style or the modern style
  • know what questions to ask to be clear about editorial markup of a journal or book project
  • understand the importance of scientific conventions in scholarly manuscripts and know where to look for when you need subject-specific help

The general approach to this particular aspect of copyediting may be very different from the way it is generally taught. But it will help you to handle a huge chunk of editorial markup mechanically and reserve your analytical reading time purely to understanding the content (and not be distracted or bogged down by the mechanical aspects).

Let me know when the course is launched

Handling tables and figure legends

Course details

Suggested timeline: 3–5 months into editing

Total time: Approx. 27 hours


Course description

Table editing is the most logical thing to learn once you are sure how numbers are to be handled.

Copyeditors find it interesting to edit tables, but many do not realize that tables can have so many different types of errors that quite a few can be missed. It might surprise you to know that over 175 things can go wrong with table editing alone! This course uses about 25 examples to let you know the various things to look for in table editing.

The figures in a manuscript are actually artwork–legend pairs. You have to always remember this pair concept as well as the intricacies connected with that pairing before attempting to learn the structural and stylistic aspects of handling figure legends. Language does play a role in editing figure legends, but you can learn those things as soon as you take the course on basic language editing.

The figure legends part of the course will discuss artwork–legend analyses, styling and editing of figure legends, principles of artwork-sizing, and a copyeditor’s role in the digital artwork era.

Let me know when the course is launched

Editing math manuscripts

Course details

Suggested timeline: 3–5 months into editing

Total time: Approx. 6 hours


Course description

Math manuscripts belong to a different genre altogether, and this warrants a specific course for handling math manuscripts alone.

It is common to have some math elements (e.g., variables and subscript/superscript labels not defined in a formal way) in any scholarly manuscript, and so it may be good to take this course to have a rounded understanding of the technical aspects of editing.

Nevertheless, some may not want to venture into this at all, simply because their work may not involve much math. For this reason too, math editing is kept as a separate course.

This course will help you understand all the basic and specialized conventions in math. Specifically, it will cover the following:

  • 22 typographic principles involved in math markup
  • Four possible approaches to marking up math manuscripts

After completing this course you will also learn how to approach a manuscript based on its presentation of concepts (its adherence or nonadherence to standard math conventions).

Let me know when the course is launched

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