Editing the Articles (Editorial Guide)
As you work on an article, remember that the first job of the editorial team is to help every author publish the very best expression of their ideas.
Be friendly. Editing is not a competition. Although many of our authors are old hands at publishing, many are first-time authors. Some are writing in English as a second language. Help their voice come through in a professional way.
Be (constructively) critical. Does the article add something: new information, a new take on practice, teach how-to do something, inspire, amuse, or inform in some way? Is it structured well? Is there a good lead that will engage the reader? Does the article have a clear conclusion?
Help the author write for a magazine, not a journal. Is it written in active voice? Does it avoid jargon and speak clearly? Does it use professional language appropriately. Does it have a professional, engaged, energetic style?
- Use first person when appropriate. (“We interviewed…” not “The authors interviewed..”)
- Discourage unnecessary jargon.
- No footnotes or citations.
- Structure the article for easy scanning with short paragraphs and useful headings.
Write for a global audience
- Places, government agencies and other local references must include the full name and country. For example, we can’t just say “FDA” — it’s “the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)” on first mention.
- Consider whether references to seasons (winter, spring…) are used appropriately.
- Encourage authors to include examples from different geographical regions when this will help show the applicability of an example.
Look for copy editing mistakes, and for good English usage. We edit to US English, using the Chicago Manual of Style.
- Words, spelling, and punctuation. A few of the most common editing guidelines.
Make sure images and other media are accessible, with captions, a
- Illustrations. Write captions and alt text for all illustrations.
- Tables and charts. Write captions and make charts accessible with descriptions
Make sure the article is in the correct format, and has all the information needed for publication.
- Article title. Titles are in two parts with a colon.
- Extracts and Abstracts. Write a 25 word blurb for the home page and a 75-word summary of the article translated into 5 languages.
- Tags. Suggest keywords that will connect this article with others on a similar topic.
- Author bios and headshot. Get an up-to-date bio, headshot and Twitter name.
Managing the files
Each article has a message thread in the issue folder on Basecamp, so all versions and discussion about the article stay together.
- Name messages so they are easy to find. Use the last name of the author and the start of the title in the subject.
- Follow conventions for the filename format. It makes it easier to manage the files online. Add the date and your initials to keep versions separate as you work on the article
- 14-X-Author-Fig#.[jpg or png]