I have recently been involved in managing a special issue in a scientific journal. The chief-editor was somehow appreciative of my work and now wants me to join the journal's board as a copyeditor. I am puzzled by this request since I have no example of an academic being involved in such a task. Usually, being an editor (see Why become a journal editor?) involves more content evaluation.

Would my academic career take advantage of such a duty?


The only benefit you'll get as a copyeditor is clear: money (assuming he offered to pay you).

The downsides are numerous: it takes a lot of time, it will not be considered a plus to your CV (it's a technical job, not a scientific one)… none of the benefits from being a journal editor apply to a copyeditor.

Also, I don't know exactly what you did when you say “I have recently been involved in managing a special issue”, but if you were guest editor, offering you a copyeditor job is clearly not showing appreciation for your job as a scientist.

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    While I generally agree with your answer, isn't this a bit too harsh "...it will not be considered a plus to your CV (it's a technical job, not a scientific one)"? Writing skills are an important part of being a scientist, and being a (good) copy-editor shows that you have strong writing skills and can evaluate texts critically (logical consistency etc). – fileunderwater Oct 31 '13 at 10:39
  • "Technical or scientific job" is a nice way of summarizing the question. The specificity of this journal is that it is both in French and English (usually, an English article with an additional French summary). A copy editor would therefore be involved in the consistency of wording (technical) and concepts/notions (scientific). – marsei Oct 31 '13 at 10:45
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    @fileunderwater I stand by my wording: a great way to show good writing skills is by writing good papers, good research projects and a good application/letters. Being copyeditor is negligible in applications… – F'x Oct 31 '13 at 11:57
  • @F'x Yes, but due to funding, job opportunities and interests people choose different paths, and I do not think that copyediting work for a scientific journal should be seen as completely irrelevant (if coupled to actual scientific work). But I agree that in a direct comparison of CVs more science > copyediting experience. – fileunderwater Oct 31 '13 at 12:12

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