I often get emails where the academic/student client is seeking an editor or proofreader who specialises in their subject. For example, they are looking for the editor or prooreader to be a specialist in business, forensics or psychology. This always rings alarm bells for me because it often means that they want someone who can comment on the content of their document, make suggestions on how the content can be improved, re-write their content to avoid plagiarism, tell them if they have missed out an important reference or even write additional material for them. With complete confidence I can say that these people have almost always come to the wrong place.

There are very few occasions where I, as your editor/proofreader, need to be a specialist in your academic field. The reasons for this conclusion differ depending on where you are in your academic career, but there are some commonalities. For a start, my academic specialism is in biology – cancer, immunology and genetics. Whilst I often work on texts within these subject areas, I also work on texts from many, many other academic subjects too.

The main reason for not needing to be a specialist in your field, however, is that when I work on academic texts I do not write content or stray into development editing (which involves restructuring), rewriting, critiquing or assessing the text. As a result, this means that I do not need to know your subject in order to be able to edit or proofread for you, and it also means that you can be assured that my work meets the high ethical and anti-plagiarism standards of academic institutions.

Graduates and above – You are, as I hope you know, the expert in your field of study. If someone is writing content for you and you are not acknowledging them as an author/contributor of your document, then you are putting yourself (and them) at risk of accusations of plagiarism and collusion. Yes, there are such things as ghost writers but, at this academic level, if they could write your paper/book then surely they would be doing your job.

Undergraduates – If you are looking for someone to write or develop your essay or dissertation, you would be better to discuss this with your academic supervisor who will be able to arrange the support or extra resources that you need to write for yourself and achieve your degree.

As an academic editor and proofreader, I really enjoy the breadth of subjects that I read, support and edit. Topics I work on may swap from fundamental physics to feminism in the Middle East from one day to the next, but common to all of these is the need for clear and concise written English and adherence to grammatical rules and academic convention. That is my specialism, and that is why you come to me.


Looking for a proofreader or editor?

I am Dr Angela Stokes, an experienced academic, proofreader and editor. If you would like more information about how I can help you with your project or more about the editing services that I provide, then please get in touch by emailing: info@acedemy.co.uk.



‘I want an editor who knows my subject.’

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