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When I did my PhD in mathematics, I would proofread my papers maybe 10 times before submission. Moving into computer science has changed my attitude, since reviewers frequently ask for major revisions (regardless of how careful I am). Now also pragmatic matters (e.g. not having enough time before conference deadlines) enters into things.

I'm fairly sure 0 is not an appropriate number of times to proofread one's paper, but I'm not sure how many times suffices. I don't know what is "normal" when it comes to the number of times one should proofread their paper.

Question: How many times should one proofread their paper before submission?

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  • π, e, or maybe φ. – gerrit Sep 26 '17 at 9:22
  • There is no global maximum. – Coder Sep 26 '17 at 13:55
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There is no global constant q such that more than q proofreads are required. It depends on your writing style, the topic, your mood and many many other factors.

A comment though: In my experience, no matter how many times you personally proofread the paper, there are cases where it is not enough and you need a second or a third person to proofread your paper to catch mistakes for which you have a blind spot (i.e., no matter how many times you read you won't be able to catch the subtle mistakes and this is more true if you are not native english speaker or you are younger researcher.)

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    Too add, you may want to (i) leave the paper alone for a few days before coming back to it, (ii) read the paper from back to front, (iii) read it aloud, (iv) print it and comb through it line by line, and/or (v) start reading from random paragraphs. These will help you identify blind spots. – Prof. Santa Claus Sep 26 '17 at 10:06
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    @Prof.SantaClaus Good points and they definitely help. But in my experience there would still be some things that only a 2nd pair of eye would catch. – PsySp Sep 26 '17 at 10:08

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