I'm helping a professor with some edits to a paper under review. Comments include advice that a better writing style be used and awkward wording be fixed. The professor is comfortable and expressive in English as a second language but indeed the sentence construction and phrasing is awkward and unsmooth and it sometimes takes a while to see how sequential points connect. I'm not a particularly good writer myself and it reminds me of my first attempts at scientific writing as an undergraduate before I had any experience writing. In this case though, this is likely going to be their fully-developed style.

They are readily amenable to grammar and word order fixes much but less so to paragraph rewrites; "no, that's now how I want to say it" or "...what I want to say."

I sense that further suggested rewrites on my part might not be the way to go, but "objective" advice on writing might still be welcome.

Short of a professional technical writing service, are there dispassionate tools (e.g. websites or programs) that tackle paragraph-scale technical writing construction, and do academic journals every recommend any of these or similar? What other solutions might exist for this situation?

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    No, journals offer their paid editing services instead. – Anonymous Physicist Jan 29 at 2:36
  • @AnonymousPhysicist yes indeed, see comment ;-) – uhoh Feb 8 at 5:25

Yes there are such tools. An example is Grammarly. Caveat: they won't be as good as having a real human proofread your manuscript.

Journals will probably not recommend any tool or service, unless they've formed a partnership with the tool/service (example).

  • This is interesting and aligns with what you say; I attended a talk at a university by some representatives of a (very) large academic publisher doing a "road show" giving general advice how to prepare manuscripts for their journals. During Q&A I asked them specifically about software tools to check grammar before submission, and was taken aback by the answer which was basically, "No, I don't know of any such thing, never heard of it." I was stunned at what I thought was incompetence at the time, but maybe it turns out that it's what they were supposed to say. – uhoh Feb 8 at 5:24

Universities often offer professional writing assistance. This can be courses, seminars, workshops or someone you can send your manuscript to for the exact purpose of proofreading and revisions.

Journals don’t generally offer such services to my knowledge (at least not in my field).

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