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After reading this post and this post, and after I also encountered a production team that made many unwanted edits in my paper (such as changing words and numbers in the text itself, removing separating lines in tables, etc.), I would like to know if there is any way to prevent this from happening in advance. I.e., after my paper is accepted and before it is sent to production, is it reasonable to contact the production team and say something like:

  • "Please do not edit the text of my paper. If you think there is a grammatical error that must be edited, please notify me in the author queries and I will fix it myself".
  • "Please do not remove the separating lines from the tables, as they convey important information".

?

  • Have you tried the first accepted answer to your first linked question? – Solar Mike Aug 6 at 11:14
  • Answers in comments and extended discussion have been moved to chat. Please read this FAQ before posting another comment. – Wrzlprmft Aug 15 at 8:14
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Generally, publishers will send you a version with the changes introduced by the copyeditors, and ask for your approval. Did they omit this step? If so, if it were me, then personally I would be very upset, enough so to complain to the editor-in-chief. Although standards differ in different disciplines, I concur with Bryan Krause's comment that this was extremely rude of them.

If it is not too late (i.e., if the paper has not yet been physically published), then I would instead recommend that you contact the journal and request that they start over. I would also request a detailed list (or annotated version of the paper) explaining every change that was introduced.

In general, you can't reasonably ask copyeditors to not edit the text of your paper. But you can certainly ask that they send you a copy of the edited paper, complete with a detailed list of changes, and that they await your corrections or approval before proceeding.

  • They did send me a version with the changes, but the changes were not highlighted. I had to read the paper very carefully to spot the dozens of changes that they introduced to the text, and email them (per their request) each change by line-number so that they can fix it. And, I am still not sure that I found all of them. – Erel Segal-Halevi Aug 7 at 15:51
  • @ErelSegal-Halevi You can ask them to send a version with all the changes highlighted -- especially if you find a bunch of mistakes. When I was in a similar situation, I decided that I wasn't willing to do as you did. – academic Aug 7 at 17:26
  • Asking them to send the detailed list of changes seems like a reasonable solution. I will try this. Thanks – Erel Segal-Halevi Aug 16 at 9:08
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Is there a way to prevent the production team from messing up my paper?

Production teams don't want to mess up papers; the ones that do are performing poorly. Unfortunately, poor performance seemingly occurs amongst all publishers, regardless of prestige. So, you cannot prevent the production team messing up your paper.

Requesting that the production team, do not edit the text, makes the team's job impossible. Attempting to pre-empt mistakes, e.g., by instructing that they do not remove the separating lines from the tables, as they convey important information, won't help much, since you cannot pre-empt all mistakes. Moreover, such contact with the production team will suggest that you have a low opinion of them, which isn't in your favour.

Following the publisher's prescribed style may reduce errors, since the production team won't need to make as many edits.

All is not lost, since mistakes can be fixed before publication, albeit this is expensive (in terms of time). In addition, preprints or technical reports (which aren't edited by the production team), can be made public.

protected by StrongBad Aug 9 at 14:48

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