Best Advice for Proofreading Journal Papers

Proofreading journal papers and academic documents effectively can be extremely challenging. It requires insight, sensitivity, precision, flexibility, intelligence, persistence, discernment, exceptional language skills, and an eye for detail. It also involves a willingness to read carefully, as well as critically. Many authors possess many of these skills and qualities for proofreading journal papers, yet, a large percentage of them will not. Rather, they will seek the services of a professional proofreader (What Does a Proofreader Do?).

If you are confident of your own skill, there is no reason why you should or can not proofread your own paper yourself. In fact, you will be able to alter the content and rewrite sentences without seeking permission, but you will also need to be extremely attentive to every detail because it is easy to miss ambiguities and errors when you already know what you intended to write.

If you are working on the documents produced or written by other authors, your job is not to rewrite it but to make corrections and alternations when necessary to allow the author’s writing to convey his or her writing effectively. Your focus should be on observing all the rules and conventions of grammars and removing obstacles such as incorrect spelling, grammar and punctuation that might prevent readers from understanding what the author is attempting to pass across. Although it can be difficult to determine if an author’s language usage is truly incorrect due to variations in writing styles among authors and disciplines.  However, using constructive commentary can help draw the author’s attention to aspects of a manuscript that does not necessarily need correction, yet could be improved.


Almost all scientific and academic documents have discipline-specific styles and conventions that they must all adhere to. Most of them must meet precise and detailed requirements such as the instructions given to the author by scholarly journals or the university or department guidelines for doctoral theses. So, whether you are proofreading journal papers for your own or using an online proofreading service, the main focus of a proofreader should be to make sure that these guidelines are carefully applied with precision and consistency throughout the document.

Any advice on proofreading must include making sure that every piece of punctuation or instance of an italic font is exactly where it should be.

Minor changes should be left best in the hands of the author. However, a professional proofreader from an online proofreading service can provide constructive suggestions and comments that can encourage such revisions. The proofreader can make minor alternations. This can be done with a brief explanation of the reasoning behind the change (Also read where to find online proofreading services).

If you are proofreading or editing your own documents, make sure you go back and check through the instructions instead of trusting your initial arrangements. You must do so with particular care as you are acting as your own second set of eyes with requires a lot of focus.

When proofreading journal papers for other authors, as a professional, you must treat their work with the utmost respect, and you must be extremely committed to ensuring the author achieves his/her goal.

Clear communication about proofreading can help a client perceive the true value of your work. Therefore, be sure to offer suggestions and comments that explain and highlight what you are thinking and doing.

Keep reading our blog

Photo of author

By David Adewusi

David is a blog writer who likes writing about literature, English grammar, and editing methods. He has also worked as a copy editor and proofreader. He has written excellent blog posts for Scientific Editing.

Leave a Comment

Related Posts

What is English proofreading?

What is English Proofreading?

Introduction The term proofreading consists of two words “proof” and “read”, which suggests it is a process of making a written text or manuscript free from errors. Hence, proofreading is a process which ensures the content is error-proof while reading by oneself so that the context can accomplish its purpose. In simple terms, proofreading refers…
Proofreading Strategy

What Is a Good Proofreading Strategy?

When we say proofreading, we refer to the process of examining your text carefully to find and correct mistakes in spelling or typographical errors, punctuation, and grammar. For effective proofreading, the first step is to find ways to experience what you have written down differently than how you originally had it written. What that means…
hire an English proofreading service

Should I Hire an English Proofreading Service for My Online Blog?

As a webmaster or the owner of a website, you might spend a lot of time writing content for your blog. Blogging is a major part of online marketing today, playing an essential role in how we put together content. This is why you should definitely look to focus on getting help from the right…
5 proofreading strategies

5 Proofreading Strategies to Consider Trying out

As a writer, you might find it hard to go back and look over your own content. This is common – many of us have little time to read and edit. In fact, that is why most newsrooms and websites will offer an editorial position on their staff. Having someone who can edit work, refine…
Top 6 Proofreading Mistakes

Top 6 Proofreading Mistakes

When proofreading your own content, you might find yourself running into some pretty common proofreading mistakes. To help you avoid those mistakes, here are the top six proofreading mistakes that you should do everything in your power to avoid making. Do this, and you will notice that your strategy for proofreading improves markedly! Avoid proofreading…