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How do I Become an Academic Editor?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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Academic journals are popular ways of spreading research findings and data for a variety of scientific and medical fields. Editors for these magazines are responsible for choosing the content and making the text as readable as possible for the audience. If you want to become an academic editor, you will need to be able to balance editing skills with knowledge of your the academic field. The results will help professionals better understand their working world and learn about new information.

In order to become an academic editor, you will need a unique combination of educational and work backgrounds. Your best foundation is a bachelor's degree in journalism in order to learn the basics of publication writing, structure, copy editing and style. In addition, it is helpful to have a second degree or a minor in the academic field in which you want to edit. Many academic journals focus on niches within the scientific and medical fields, so an editor will need to be familiar with the terms and theories within them. It is rare for a new graduate to step into an editor role, so you likely will spend many years as a writer before ascending to an editor position.

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After you have become an academic editor you must learn a variety of daily duties in order to help publish a strong magazine. You must understand the scientific or medical journal guidelines of your publication in order to keep the content consistent with previous issues. Proofreading and making corrections on the academic writing of the articles is another major part of the job. You also must assign stories or take pitches from writers to build enough content for each issue. One job you likely will have to let go of is actually writing and researching articles, because most academic editors focus solely on improving the work of their writers and making decisions about the journal's content.

These jobs are complicated and require a distinct set of skills to perform them properly if you want to become an academic editor. Attention to detail is crucial for checking spelling errors, style mistakes and factual errors. You also must be schedule-oriented, because journals have strict publication deadlines that must be met for printing and distribution. You also must have a strong curiosity for subjects that you don't know about and must be willing to conduct independent research on a topic to better edit an article on that topic after you become an academic editor.

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