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Help Them Help You

While she genuinely enjoys editing other's manuscripts — "it's very satisfying to help them turn their drafts into a more polished, submission-ready paper," she says — blogger Cath at VWXYNot? says that there are certain "common courtesies" one ought to observe when asking a colleague to review an article. Among other things, Cath says it's not a good idea to "hand over a 'close to final' manuscript that 'must' be proofed and edited 'by tomorrow,'" since submission deadlines are rare for scientific papers, and "everyone enjoys the adrenaline rush of a sudden tight deadline on top of an already heavy workload," she adds, sarcastically. A typo in the file name for a digital manuscript sets a poor tone in the eyes of the peer who volunteered to proof your paper, Cath adds. Again she facetiously says "your friendly local manuscript editor will be so excited by receiving a file called 'reserach_outlien.doc' that they will barely be able to contain their excitement to open the document and see what treasures lie within." At the very least, she suggests, "run a spell check" and read the manuscript through to make sure that the "name of the gene and/or the disease you work on as well as common scientific words such as lysate," are spelled correctly. And, as always, be sure to "include YFLME [your friendly local manuscript editor] in your acknowledgements section," Cath adds.