I wrote a paper, which I would like to submit to a convention. I've never written a paper before. I'd like it to be thoroughly reviewed, not to say edited, before I submit it. I'm willing to pay for a reviewer. Where can I find a reviewer? The orientation is mathematics related to computer science (specifically formal methods).

  • Could you clarify why apparently you can't ask someone near you (physically or virtually) instead of here? Are you in industry/at home/in academia? – Alchimista Sep 8 '19 at 10:50
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    @Alchimista: Firstly, I think this question might be of wider interest than simply for myself. People write papers. People would like to have them reviewed. People would like to know how to find reviewers. Secondly, regarding your questions, I am a master's student. The paper I wrote is not in the field of studies that's related to my master's. I wrote it alone, of my own initiative. – Evan Aad Sep 8 '19 at 10:56
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    Well, that is why I asked you to clarify. For instance there should be someone at your university who can answer better than me and even having a look on the manuscript. For instance in many instances of self studies, papers can be dismissed easily and quickly. If you are totally alone, try to contact an author that influenced your work. That people write manuscripts and then have to come to SE for this question isn't common at all. Normally authors are relatively competent to feel sure about their manuscripts. For the rest are there discussions with colleagues and journal editors/ referees. – Alchimista Sep 8 '19 at 11:19
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    I don’t quite understand what you expect: you seem to want a “fake” peer review process but what do you expect as the outcome? The reviewer (de facto not necessarily a professional else it will cost you quite a bit) can at best give his/her assessment of your work, neither of which will impact acceptance or rejection. – ZeroTheHero Sep 9 '19 at 0:02
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    How is this a shopping question? Most of the answers don't say "approach this guy, he can help". Voting to reopen. – Allure Sep 9 '19 at 21:41

(Academic editor/copy editor here, though not in your field)

A review will happen after you submit: the publication/conference will check that it fits their vision, which may mean a thorough technical review, and may not, but you don't pay for it.

What you can do to improve your chances is to employ an editor if you don't have access to either tutors or peers you can exchange work with. Many freelance editors/copy editors will be happy to work with individual authors. The best ways to find them are through word-of-mouth in your department, if you have one or through reputable organisations like the EFA (Editorial Freelancers Association or the sfep (Society for Editors and Proofreaders, UK-based). I'm also impressed with the overall quality of editors listed on the CE-L (Copyediting Mailing List) Freelancer directory.

It's still buyer beware, but you stand a better chance than hiring through a service that promises cheap and fast (but which does not necessarily provides the math skills).

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  • Thank you. I've been looking into Kolabtree. Do you know anything about it? – Evan Aad Sep 9 '19 at 13:23
  • I ended up using an editor from sfep and an expert reviewer from Kolabtree. The sfep editor was great and reasonably priced. The Kolabtree expert was meh and very expensive in my opinion considering what I got in return. – Evan Aad Oct 5 '19 at 13:27

Your best bet is offering a graduate student a lot of money. In most cases this is going to be an unpleasant job. In most cases, the paper will be some combination of incorrect, incoherent, and uninteresting, but the author will usually be very resistant to hearing that. (I don’t know you, hopefully this doesn’t describe you or your paper, but whoever you hire also isn’t going to know you or your paper.) So you’re going to have to offer a lot of money to compensate and offer it to someone who doesn’t have a large salary. Something like $100-$150/hour with the first two hours paid up front would probably be enough for a graduate student to overlook that it’s likely to be an unpleasant job.

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    @EvanAad Nope, reviewers don't get paid. But if you want a review before you submit, you will have to. – Zizy Archer Sep 8 '19 at 18:48
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    @EvanAad Tutoring is probably a lot more pleasant, and most graduate students are busy enough that they don't have time to be a tutor. You're trying to convince someone to spend precious time with your work rather than their own. If your work isn't worth at least $200 to you to have someone take a look it's not worth anyone's time. You are not asking for "proofreading" so don't insult anyone by calling it that, either. – Bryan Krause Sep 8 '19 at 20:04
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    It depends a lot on where you are what an appropriate rate would be, but I do think you'd have to pay significantly more than the going tutoring rate. Not only does this run the risk of being unpleasant and/or the author refusing to pay, it's also not going to be steady semester-long work the way that tutoring is. – Noah Snyder Sep 8 '19 at 20:39
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    I should probably add that I actually have experience doing this. I was paid $60/hour ($85 adjusted for 20 years of inflation), but I was also still in college. – Noah Snyder Sep 8 '19 at 20:46
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    It's really impossible to know without knowing what kind of shape the paper is in. But if you pay someone for an hour or two, by the end of that they should have a better idea. – Noah Snyder Sep 9 '19 at 1:34

Well, the first step would be to get through the basic checklist yourself: is this novel enough; do I follow established order; do I cite the relevant papers (say 20-ish with at least some recent ones). If you are doing it on your own initiative, you have a blind spot regarding first point, believe your flow is better than what is in other papers and almost surely cite (and have read) far too few papers. You should fix that yourself, especially regarding citations.

Once you have basics sorted out, you should call anyone that could be somewhat interested to look at your paper. If you are a researcher in a field not very well covered by your university/faculty, you should find some people from the general subject (say someone from algorithms if you are writing about a novel sorting one). Most likely that will be a professor (that will usually delegate to his PhD student or a postdoc). It could be a friend that went for PhD in a somewhat related area. Don't expect a thorough review, but a lot of people are nice enough to quickly skim through what you wrote to point you in the correct direction for nothing more than a beer.

If you get a response that your approach seems OK and the paper doesn't need A LOT of revision regarding these basic bits, you have 3 main options:

  1. Offer joint paper - they edit it to the best of their ability and get their name there. This is likely the best option for you, as having a name of someone relevant will increase your chances of acceptance, and it doesn't cost anything.

  2. Offer money to review, as in Noah's answer.

  3. Submit and hope independent reviewers give you some "fix XYZ" pointers. Even if you get rejected, this will help for the next submission. If you are unable to solve those comments yourself, revert to options 1 and 2. If comments are along the lines of "incorrect/pointless/trivial/...", options 1 and 2 again. Note that you will almost surely "burn" that particular conference/journal/... and will have to find another one. Plus your paper will be surely worse without assistance and will end up in a lesser journal/conference/...

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If you want an editor who's checking only for English, there are plenty of options available, e.g. American Journal Experts (you can Google for more results as well). I have not used these services, but I did freelance for one of them in the past, and they do what they say they do: they edit your English until the manuscript is no longer being rejected for bad English.

These services do not review the content, however. If you want someone to review the content, you'll very likely have to pay for it. Your best chance is probably to approach someone who's working in the field of that paper - e.g. email graduate students in the field as suggested by Noah Snyder, since they probably have more time + more need for the money.

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  • Thanks. I'm pretty confident about both my English as well as the precision and correctness of my mathematics. What I'm not confident about is the structure, the flow, the style, the clarity, are my contributions sufficiently valuable to merit a presentation in a conference. I could also use advice on how to abridge the content, since currently my paper is 6 pages longer than is allowed by the conference I'm targeting. – Evan Aad Sep 8 '19 at 23:48
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    @EvanAad in that case, you definitely need an expert reviewer. – Allure Sep 9 '19 at 1:05
  • This question was closed. I would appreciate it if you could vote to reopen it. It is clearly a question of general interest. – Evan Aad Sep 10 '19 at 1:13

It seems that you are not in academia. If you are convinced that your work migh be publication worthy but somehow feeling an advice is necessary, then you could contact an expert, preferably in your area.

S/he probably won't edit your paper, but a general opinion is something less time consuming and you could get one. It really depends on the manuscript itself. A minimally known professors might receive garbage from outside, spanning from totally nonsense to rediscoveries. Not that I suspect your manuscript belongs to those categories, but perhaps you could have clarify why your question have raised.

For putting the paper in a final linguistically clear form then look for someone offering translation services and the like.

If you are in academia, then is not particularly easy to answer as the situation would point to an isolated researcher not fully aware of situation / not sure about his/het work.

I wasn't sure to answer also because review and edit can overlap but can be totally different tasks.

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  • This question was closed. I would appreciate it if you could vote to reopen it. It is clearly a question of general interest. – Evan Aad Sep 10 '19 at 1:14

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