Thursday, December 18, 2008
What do I do when I'm editing a journal article and I'm unsure of whether a word is spelled/hyphenated correctly?
First check out the journal's website to see if they have a style sheet or submission guidelines. If you can't find them online, send an e-mail to the assistant editor. You can e-mail the managing editor or the editor-in-chief, but they'll probably be busy planning or working on the next issue; you're more likely to get a faster response from an assistant editor.
Most periodicals have style sheets, but on the off chance they don't, scour a few back issues and see if you can find some of the words you're not sure how to spell. Once you have a few, you can make up your own style guide for reference. While you're at it, check out how they do citations, too. And at the very least the periodical should be able to tell you what style guide they follow, so consult that, too.
Finally, if you're fortunate enough to get published and you plan to submit future articles to the same periodical, it's a huge help to compare the version of the article you submitted with the published version. If nothing else, it gives you an idea of how/what they edit.