The Department of Scientific Publications has been helping MD Anderson authors since 1947. The department currently employs 20 editors (including editorial managers) with up to 25 years of editing experience. The editors are recruited from a wide range of backgrounds, including life sciences, physical sciences, English, journalism, and other liberal arts.
The department's editorial focus is materials written by medical and scientific professionals for other medical and scientific professionals. We edit about 50,000 pages of text per year, including about 1,200 journal articles or book chapters and about 250 grant proposals.
Because of our long membership in the MD Anderson community, we understand and respect the uniqueness of scientific expression. Although it is possible for any editor to introduce distortions and oversimplifications into technically dense documents, the knowledge we have gained from working with MD Anderson authors helps us minimize such errors.
Our editors perform both substantive editing and copy-editing of grant proposals, journal articles, and other materials. We suggest ways to improve the clarity, organization, and persuasiveness of a document; note instances in which references are needed; identify areas with too little or too much information; and ensure that the document fits the scope of the target publication. We also ensure that each document conforms to the publisher's or funding agency's guidelines; check for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, parallel structure, and basic math and percentages; and cross-check tables, figures, and figure legends with the main text and vice versa.
We also help authors with outlines and rough drafts and provide advice on publishing ethics.
The department teaches multiday workshops on writing a research article to faculty and trainees at least 3 times each year. We also sponsor a grant-writing seminar each year and deliver 1-hour talks on a range of writing-related topics. In addition, we teach intermediate-level scientific English classes (covering speaking, presentation, and writing skills) to non-native speakers of English.
Department staff members have presented at local and national meetings of the American Medical Writers Association, Council of Science Editors, and various biomedical professional organizations. Our staff members also helped found the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, which gives certifying examinations to life science editors.
The department also publishes or serves as the editorial office for several periodicals.
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