Most reviewers begin to copy edit the article from the start but this may result in well-worded descriptions of experiments
that should not be included in the report. Copy editing is the one type of review that can most easily outsourced. Copy editors
are much less costly than scientists, and can greatly improve the quality of written output without slowing it down. Scientists
who publish in journals will be familiar with this step, which occurs after their manuscript is reviewed and accepted for
Proofing. In the final step before publishing, spelling, numbering and cross-references are checked for errors. Usually, this step
involves the author and a document specialist.
Defining the steps, ground rules, and roles and responsibilities of report-writing helps to achieve high-quality documents.
Try to minimize the number of times a report is sent back to the author for rewriting. Also be sure to reduce surprises by
discussing reports at the outline stage. This will ease the frustration writers and reviewers frequently feel and will help
get reports out on time, and of high enough quality to show the US Food and Drug Administration—or your joint venture partner.
PAULA J. SHADLE, PhD, is principal consultant with Shadle Consulting, 501 McBride Drive, Lafayette, CA 94549; 925.878.5130; SHAD1357@AOL.COM