How to acknowledge your editor

Editing is often behind-the-scenes, ‘invisible’ work that many authors may initially prefer does not happen. This can mean that editors are not always acknowledged publicly for their work.

Even when editors are acknowledged, possibly as part of a team of many people involved on a publication, it is not always clear what the editor has done unless the original material and all the drafts are available. A reader of the final publication has not seen the original material before editing, or the brief from the client to the editor, or the final agreement which may have been affected by both time and budget.

In some academic editing work I am acknowledged, and sometimes not. The IPEd Guidelines for editing research theses here state that ‘Editing assistance should be acknowledged at the appropriate point in the thesis, as indicated by university requirements, if any. Unless the university specifically requires that the editor be named, editors may choose not to be acknowledged by name.’

Universities may have their own guidelines on students acknowledging assistance such as editing. Sometimes I prefer not to be named if I have only edited part of a document, had a limited brief, or am not confident about how suggested changes and comments will be addressed.

I was pleased to be recognised in a recent publication on women in mental health reform from the Mental Health Commission of NSW, released on International Women’s Day in March 2022. Download it here. However, it does not mean that I signed off on every word in the document, or checked the layout before print. There were many decision-makers contributing to the final document, including individual authors.

Here are some tips:

  • If you are a client, ask your editor if and how they would like to be acknowledged. If important, include any wording in the contract or agreement.
  • If you see an editor acknowledged and there are typos or mistakes in a publication, don’t assume it was solely due to the editor. There are many reasons why mistakes may occur, many unrelated to the editor.
  • If you are a happy client, share your satisfaction with your editing experience and editor. Editors know their work is valued and appreciated when they have repeat clients and referrals from happy clients.

See also my blogs on:

the who and how of acknowledgements

is there right and wrong in editing?

To work with an accredited editor, please contact me at rhdaniels@bigpond.com

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