I help with typesetting of one scientific journal: I recieve the articles in the form in which they were finally accepted, and I re-format them etc. to make them ready for publication. Currently, my title in the journal colophon says: "Graphic Design and Typesetting: M. Name".

However, I get the impression that this position is in the scientific jargon usually called "Copy Editor", which would suit the colophon quite well since there are other "Editors" listed there (Language, Guest, Editor-in-charge, etc.). I want to make sure whether this is appropriate or not.

So: Who am I?

  • 6
    Hmmm. I'm not convinced this question is on-topic here; it seems better suited for Workplace. But for what it's worth, I think your current title is both more descriptive and more attractive.
    – JeffE
    Feb 27, 2013 at 22:30
  • 3
    @JeffE There is a large difference between "on-topic elsewhere" and "off-topic here" I think.
    – yo'
    Feb 27, 2013 at 22:33
  • I agree completely!
    – JeffE
    Feb 28, 2013 at 0:17
  • Who do you want to be?
    – StrongBad
    Feb 28, 2013 at 9:48
  • @DanielE.Shub That's a good question. I don't like the current title so much, and I wanted an unbiased opinion on it...
    – yo'
    Feb 28, 2013 at 9:50

3 Answers 3


In order to answer your question, let me explain my view of copy editing and typesetting

In my field, after an article is accepted it is copy edited and then typeset. The role of the copy editor is to check for consistencies with the journal style, find grammatical and typographical errors, and provide guidance to the typesetter. The copy editor often produces a short list of "author queries" where the copy editor has found "inconsistencies" (often unused references or undefined abbreviations). Generally I receive a copy of the double-spaced manuscript with the copy editors markup and the typeset article. We are then expected to make sure the typeset manuscript is "correct".

I don't think there is a difference in prestige between copy editor and typesetter, they are really different roles (or different perspectives of the similar roles). You say in your comments that you do not like the title, I would talk to the publisher/editor-in-chief about changing it. You can either approach this from a graphic design vantage (the list will look better) or from a professional prospective (I edit I don't do graphic design). The key is you need to know what you want to be called.


A copy editor is usually the person who runs through the manuscript checking that it adheres to the style of the journal. this includes checking references, checking figure numbering but also spelling and language, in short almost everything. The copy editor improves the paper from these formal/technical points of view. It is not usually the copy editor that typesets the paper because that is usually done by a typesetter involved with the printer. Having said that, with purely electronic publication it is more likely that this task would also end up with a copy editor. Thus the old demarcation lines between copy editor and printer may be less and less clear.

The editors usually handle scientific content and managing contacts between reviewers and authors on matters of the scientific content as well as making decisions. The name for this varies a lot between journals.

So who are you? Your current "title" may be OK but if you also improve the formal and technical quality of the paper, copy editor would be most appropriate.


According to Wikipedia,

Typically, copy editing involves correcting spelling, punctuation, grammar, terminology, jargon, and semantics, and ensuring that the text adheres to the publisher's style or an external style guide [...].

You say that you "re-format" articles. I assume you mean things like changing font and paragraph attributes. If you do not change the text (e.g., correct the errors), then perhaps the title "copy editor" is not the best fit for you.

However, Wikipedia states that

The role of the copy editor varies considerably from one publication to another. Some newspaper copy editors select stories from wire service copy; others use desktop publishing software to do design and layout work that once was the province of design and production specialists.

The last statement supports Peter Jansson's comment that "the old demarcation lines between copy editor and printer may be less and less clear."

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