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Some commercial services sell certificates to manuscript authors. Frequently these certificates are marketed to authors in developing countries where English is not widely spoken. These services claim that the certificate indicates that the manuscript meets a certain standard of quality. Often the certificate states that the manuscript is written in correct English. The certificate may be accompanied by editing services.

Should I pay for a certificate and send the certificate to a journal?

This is a general question is inspired by this one to avoid talking about a specific service.

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    Good call on making this a general, canonical question. I added this here. – Wrzlprmft Apr 4 at 8:15
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    @Count Iblis: From my experience, at least, there are a considerable number of native English speaking authors whose written English isn't all that great. – jamesqf Apr 4 at 17:52
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    @CountIblis "reviewers typically don't bother with the quality of your English" I disagree. I have seen reviewers critique the spelling and neglect the science, which is very disappointing. – Anonymous Physicist Apr 4 at 22:12
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    The inspiration link seems to redirect back to this question, which makes it somewhat pointless. – Josiah Apr 5 at 20:12
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    @Josiah wrzlprmft got tired of deleting comments on the quality of my English from people who didn't realize I posted a question to help others, rather than myself. The inspiration link is to prevent those comments. – Anonymous Physicist Apr 5 at 21:24
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No (reputable) journal is going to give any weight to such a certificate when assessing a paper. If the editor/reviewers aren't satisfied with the quality of the English, they will reject the paper.

Thus, paying for a certificate for its own sake is a waste of money. Of course, if the certificate is issued in conjunction with editing services, there may (or may not!) be value in the overall package.

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    Echoing this answer emphatically: no serious journal cares about any such "certificate" (and you'd just look foolish for providing it), but, conceivably, English-language critique could be helpful to you. Still, don't rely upon it too naively, because most of those (already dubious) services are not in tune with specific technical English usage. – paul garrett Apr 3 at 23:03
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    Absolutely correct. Pay for a service that actually improves the manuscript if you have the money and think that it's useful. Don't pay for a certificate that nobody cares about! – Wolfgang Bangerth Apr 4 at 3:19
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    +1, I've once collaborated with someone from a research hospital where that hospital had a policy that manuscripts need to go to an English translation/editing service before submission with whom they had an ongoing contract. With such a long term relationship, one can know that the contractor is up to the technical English of the field. – cbeleites unhappy with SX Apr 4 at 8:53
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    @user111388 This is not field-dependent. – Anonymous Physicist Apr 5 at 21:25
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    @user111388 Sending a paper to many journals at the same time is always wrong because it is wasteful. The fact that some people usually do it is irrelevant. – Anonymous Physicist Apr 6 at 22:33
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Absolutely no!

I believe as you are preparing a manuscript, you have a good knowledge of English. Technical writing is different from normal writing and you will 'feel' it by reading more papers. The more you read, the more your writing skills will evolve. Take the help of your seniors, colleagues, supervisor. But paying just for English is a waste of money.

Remember, the editor and reviewers will scrutinize your manuscript primarily on the basis of science, not language. They will comment on the language if it's too bad and impossible to understand.

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  • Indeed, a Ph.D. student publishing his/her first article or preparing for the first conference presentation will occasionally get feedback about the use of language that goes contrary to what the student learned in school from English teachers. What matters is how well a reader is going to pick up the important points made. To do that in the best way, you may need to violate the rules for good English writing. – Count Iblis Apr 4 at 8:40
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    Not a downvoter, but I suspect they’re from people who’ve had to suffer through reviewing papers written in terrible English... – avid Apr 4 at 10:32
  • I have reviewed papers with excellent English with poor technical discussion and somewhat okay (but clearly understandable) English with outstanding discussions. It's technical paper, not newspaper or business report. The technical discussion must be top priority here. – metastable Apr 4 at 13:43
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    I didn't downvote, but the second sentence stating that OP has a good knowledge of English since they are preparing a manuscript is dubious. I've had native English speakers with degrees send me emails in such terrible English that they got caught in my spam filter. Some people don't have much experience with English, some are just terrible writers, and surely some of those people attempt to write a manuscript. – Kat Apr 4 at 20:59
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    @Paul An additional reason for downvoting is that most of the answer is irrelevant to the question, which is about certificates, not editing services. – Anonymous Physicist Apr 5 at 1:26
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As said by the other members, forget about the certificate. If the language is particularly bad in terms of language you may get one of the following:

  • Desk reject
  • Reviewers refuse to review until the language is fixed (I did this)
  • Reviewers complain about the language

Unless you got one of these, even the editing service is not warranted. Even in one of these cases, you are not rejected permanently. You can fix and resend. Thus, do as best as you can, send the paper, read the reply, and act accordingly. Do not waste money on a service that you may not need.

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Some commercial services sell certificates to manuscript authors.

Some commercial services prey and steal from unsuspecting authors who can afford it the least.


They use a common ploy to make their offering seem legitimate by optionally bundling some purported editing services. It's not bona fide at all.

There is nothing redeeming about such certificate offers. Such activity is unethical and at least a scam, but possibly just a plain old daylight robbery.

I'm aghast at the circumspect language proffered in other answers. Let's call things what they are. Abominable, abhorrent preying on the unsuspecting - in the same class as phone scams that target the trust of elderly people. Scum. Waste of air.

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These services claim that the certificate indicates that the manuscript meets a certain standard of quality.

If the English in your paper really meets the appropriate standard of quality, then the editor and the reviewers will be able to see this for themselves.

In more than a decade of publishing and reviewing articles in many different fields, I have never see a manuscript come with this type of certificate, and had never even heard of such a certificate until seeing this question.

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