Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Being a Science Editor

It’s not a very common job if you’re a science graduate, but if you’re good at English and if you have a passion for the written word, maybe it’s a career that you would enjoy. Being a science editor or sub-editor may not be the most lucrative job in the world but it’s a place where you gain a vast amount of knowledge and have access to all the latest news in the world of science. If you’re wondering what it takes to make the cut when it comes to becoming a science editor, here are a few tips to help you along:

  • Understand science: It’s not possible to edit an article without understanding it first, so it’s not enough to just be good at English if you want to make it as a science editor. You need to have a thorough knowledge of the subject and also be capable of picking up and understanding new concepts when they’re presented to you in the form of an article.
  • Talk to your readers, not at them: A common mistake that most writers make is to overestimate or underestimate their readers’ intelligence. And when it comes to science, you can’t expect those with the scientific bent of mind to simplify things when they write; all they know is to talk in scientific terms. As a science editor, it’s your job to make the article more in tune with what your readers are likely to understand and enjoy.
  • Learn to identify the passive voice and convert it to its active form: Most scientists and researchers are used to writing in the passive voice, a habit that makes reading cumbersome. When editing a science article, you need to convert what’s written into the active voice so that it’s more readable and because it reduces the number of words and keeps the article more concise.
  • Get your facts straight: Accuracy is extremely important when you’re trying to edit an article that’s based on science. So you need to double check your spellings and information before you pass on the draft to be published. Also, you must remember to stick to the opinion and views of the author, not matter what your personal opinion is. It’s their article, not yours. You’re only the person who cuts, polishes and shapes the rough diamond into the sparkling final product, so ensure that you stay true to the original line of thought no matter how many changes (grammatical and spelling) you make.

This post was contributed by Courtney Phillips, who writes about the cheapest online schools. She welcomes your feedback at CourtneyPhillips80 at gmail.com

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