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Cathy McPhalen

A New Gathering Place for Academic Editors

Headshots of Karen Crosby, Letitia Henville, Antonn Park, Amanda Pearson, Akiko Yamagata and Cara Jordan each appear in individual hexagon shapes surrounding the Editors Canada logo in the centre. In the bottom right corner is the Editorial Freelancers Association logo. Text reads: The Academic Editing Special Interest Group. Join us online Friday, September 23, 2022.
Headshots of Karen Crosby, Letitia Henville, Antonn Park, Amanda Pearson, Akiko Yamagata and Cara Jordan each appear in individual hexagon shapes surrounding the Editors Canada logo in the centre. In the bottom right corner is the Editorial Freelancers Association logo. Text reads: The Academic Editing Special Interest Group. Join us online Friday, September 23, 2022.

Editors Canada is launching a special interest group for freelance and in-house editors who work with academic clients: individual researchers, universities, students or academic journals and publishers. The vision for this virtual group is to provide a space to discuss themes and share information around editing in academic realms.

Our academic clients need editors more than ever, as many of them move outside the fabled ivory tower to engage with people other than their academic colleagues. Although academic editors are a diverse bunch in the types of work we do, we have much common ground in supporting our clients as they navigate:

  • expressing research in clear language for non-specialists
  • securing stable jobs or grant funding in increasingly competitive landscapes
  • communicating research so that it can be published, understood and cited
  • incorporating equity, diversity and inclusivity into research and into the overall academic landscape
  • staying current with rapidly changing language around equity-deserving groups

Like many other specialists within our profession, academic editors often struggle to articulate our value and skills to the pool of our potential clients. As our special interest group comes together and discovers our shared experiences and expertise — as well as our diverse professional backgrounds and lived experiences — one possible direction for us to head in is advocacy.

Academics regularly hire untrained and poorly paid graduate students to review their work, and they might describe these reviews as copy editing or proofreading. We may not recognize such efforts as meeting Editors Canada’s Professional Editorial Standards. A collective effort by academic editors, aligned with Editors Canada’s ambassador initiative, could educate researchers on the value of working with a professional developmental, structural, stylistic or copy editor. Academics who have an opportunity to work with an experienced academic editor are usually delighted by the skills and insights that an editor brings to their writing.

This special interest group is still coming out of its chrysalis and unfolding its wings. We anticipate regular online meetings to explore specific topics, an online forum for informal discussions, a home on the Editors Canada website for news and resources, options to be ambassadors to groups of potential clients, and webinars and conference sessions about challenges in academic editing.

To launch this new group, Editors Canada is partnering with the Editorial Freelancers Association and their new Academic Editing Chapter for a joint event on September 23, 2022. Find out more about the panelists and register for the event here. It’s free and open to all.

Our academic clients work and collaborate across international boundaries, and so will we! Future joint events will be held quarterly, and other international editing organizations are welcome to join the collective.

Interested in joining us and growing this group? What ideas or skills can you contribute, so that this group serves academic editors best? Connect in the comments below or email Letitia Henville and Cathy McPhalen at academic.editing@editors.ca.

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The Editors’ Weekly is the official blog of Editors Canada. Contact us.


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