Q: What is XpertScientific and which services do you provide?

A: At XpertScientific, we provide two kinds of services:

  1. professional editing and proofreading for authors and publishers of scientific documents, and
  2. scientific consulting services such as numerical modelling, project management, outreach, etc.


Q: Why use a professional editing service?

A: Authors with English as a second language can find it difficult to get their work published. Many scientifically sound papers do not pass the review process, or are largely ignored by the scientific community upon publication, because the scientific message has not been communicated in a sufficiently clear and concise fashion. Even as a native speaker, you may lack the time or experience to produce a manuscript that conforms to the strict standards of scientific publishers. We can help eliminate errors, improve style, logical flow, and readability while relieving you of all those tedious tasks such as checking the manuscript for consistency in style and ensuring that it conforms to the Author Guidelines of the journal. This not only saves you valuable time but also increases your chances of getting your manuscript published. In addition, the improved readability will ensure that your message hits the mark with your audience which in turn provides you with more citations to your work.


Q: Do you only edit articles or also other scientific documents?

A: We edit a wide range of documents, including theses, reports, conference abstracts/proceedings, book chapters, etc.


Q: What if my document is too large to be uploaded/sent by email?

A: In this case, we provide you with access to our FTP server where you can upload your manuscript to a password protected directory. We then use the same directory to deliver the edited manuscript back to you.


Q: What kind of document formats can I send you?

A: We typically work with Microsoft Word (*.doc/*.docx) but can also accept Open Document (*.odt) formats, Rich Text (*.rtf) files, or PowerPoint (*.ppt/*.pptx) presentations.


Q: Can I send you a LaTeX/PDF file?

A: While we could edit *.tex files by opening them in MS Word and using the "track changes" feature, this is not recommended for a variety of reasons: (1) we cannot perform a proper word count, (2) the result is rather messy and will take you some effort to copy-paste the clear text back into your tex file, and (3) as we need to read 2 files at the same time (the tex file which we edit and the pdf file which we use to actually see what the text looks like), we would need to charge a little extra as it is more work for us compared to editing a normal Word or Open Office document. Similar arguments can be made against the editing of PDF files where changes can only be made using the rather cumbersome "sticky notes" which you then need to individually incorporate into your publishing software. So our recommendation is to use a PDFtoWORD converter and upload both the converted Word file (as "main manuscript") and the original PDF (as "supplementary material").


Q: Who does the editing?

A: Our editorial team is composed of scientific experts, all with academic backgrounds and PhDs in natural/environmental, (bio)medical, and social sciences. All team members possess extensive experience in publishing and editing peer reviewed papers, writing and reviewing grant proposals, etc. Before returning the edited manuscript to you, it will be quality-checked by the managing editor or the editor-in-chief.


Q: How do you calculate the word count?

A: We essentially count everything you tell us to edit for you. In a typical manuscript, this would include the title, abstract, keywords, main text, captions, and acknowledgements. It normally excludes the author affiliations and reference list. If you wish to explicitly exclude certain parts or sections of the manuscript, then the word count will be reduced accordingly.


Q: How long will it take?

A: The turnaround time for proofreading and editing depends on the length of your document. For short documents (word count < 2500) the turnaround time starts at 3 days (or 36 hours with our priority service - 30% surcharge). The actual time will be displayed on the manuscript upload form once you have entered the word count of your document. It is also shown on the page containing our quote calculator.


Q: How much will it cost?

A: This depends on the size of your manuscript (number of words), on the level of corrections (Standard vs Premium edit ), and on types of additional services you require (e.g., reference checking, abstract writing, etc.). Please consult our pricing page for a list of services and prices, or you may use our quote calculator.


Q: How do I pay?

A: You can make your payment either on our payments page (SSL encrypted) using your credit/debit card (includes Google/Apple Pay and some local payment methods such as Giropay or Bancontact depending on your country of residence) or by bank transfer (we have bank accounts in the UK, Spain, France and Germany).


Q: Can you provide an invoice?

A: Yes.


Q: How does your acceptance guarantee work?

A: If an article was edited by us and was rejected by a journal solely due to poor English (see this question for why this can happen), we will re-check the article free of charge and help you write a rebuttal letter to the journal. This applies if the following conditions are met:

  1. We edited the entire manuscript (incl. figure/table captions, supplementary material, etc.);
  2. The manuscript did not have any severe language issues that we were unable to resolve as pointed out to you in margin notes (e.g., sentences or paragraphs that were unintelligible and could not be edited);
  3. You accepted all our corrections and submitted the manuscript to the journal as is, i.e., without making any further modifications.


Q: Do I need to put you in the acknowledgements?

A: Most journals require full disclosure of anyone who has contributed to a manuscript and this includes an editing service such as XpertScientific. We typically recommend to use a formulation like: "Editorial assistance, in the form of language editing and correction [plus add any other service you may have ordered, e.g., reference checking, abstract writing, formulating replies to reviewers, etc.], was provided by XpertScientific Editing and Consulting Services".


Q: Do you offer any discount to authors from developing countries?

A: While we understand that our prices may be high for authors from developing countries, unfortunately we cannot offer any discounts as our business expenses (editor pay, overheads, taxes, etc.) remain the same, irrespective of the country of residence of our clients.


Q: How come you are more expensive than some of the other services?

A: If you have seen prices elsewhere that seem too good to be true, then they most likely are. Unlike some of our competition, we neither employ automated AI systems nor undergraduate students from low income countries to proofread your manuscript.
All our editors are experienced academics with PhD degrees from highly regarded universities who will take the time needed to correct not just simple spelling and grammatical errors, but, more importantly, improve logical flow, awkward phrasing, word choice, and academic tone. These types of corrections are more time consuming and require an editor who not only understands the science but who possesses the necessary experience and abilities to be able to suggest improvements at this level. The many positive client testimonials show that our approach is the right one.


Q: Can you provide an editing certificate?

A: Upon request, we are happy to provide you with a free proofreading certificate to confirm that a document has been proofread and edited by one or more of our expert editors. These certificates can be used when you submit your paper to academic journals and publishers. In order to obtain a certificate, please simply include the request at the same time you submit your manuscript to us.


Q: Can I send you papers from any scientific subject area?

A: No. Based on the composition of our editorial team, we only accept manuscripts for which we posses the necessary professional expertise. This ensures that our editing work meets the high professional standards that you expect from us. We have a portfolio of scientific subject areas that we feel qualified to edit. If in doubt, simply send us your manuscript and we will tell you within 24h whether we can edit it or not.


Q: What is the typical process for an editing job?

A: Please check our Service page for a more detailed explanation of what we check and correct in a manuscript. The process starts by you uploading your manuscript as a MS Word or Open Office file and telling us which services you require. Within 24h we provide you with a quote. Once we receive an official purchase order or advance payment of the quote, the editing process begins right away. Corrections are made using the "track changes" feature. In addition, we use the "comments" feature to provide additional explanations or suggestions where necessary. This allows you to know exactly what has been changed and why, leaving you in control of which changes you want to accept or discard.


Q: Do you also offer translation services?

A: For certain subject areas and languages, we may also be able to provide translation services. Please upload your document using our usual manuscript upload form and indicate in the comment field that you would like the document to be translated. Within 24h we will get back to you with a specific quote.


Q: Why do you levy a service charge?

A: Clients who work at French public institutions and wish to pay through their institution are subject to an additional service charge of currently €35 which reflects the additional amount of work required to handle these types of orders. Our ordering system has been specifically designed to automate and streamline the ordering process, thereby allowing us to offer competitive per-word editing prices. However, if a client is unable to use this automated system (as is the case with French public institutions), we need to process and handle the order manually which means more work for us. In particular, French public institutions tend to outsource part of their bureaucracy to suppliers like us, requiring the exchange of several emails (often in French), the filling out of forms (in French), obtaining bank certificates (for which our bank charges us a fee), registering on online portals to deposit our invoices, etc. We therefore need to charge a small fee to cover the additional time needed to handle these kinds of requests. We sincerely regret having to do this. If you have received a PDF quote that contains such a service charge and wish to remove it, you can do so by pre-paying your order with your own debit/credit card and then reclaiming the cost of your order from your institute yourself. Before paying, simply send us a short email to let us know that you wish to prepay the order and we will remove the service charge from your quote. Thank you for your understanding.


Q: Despite using your editing service, I received a comment during peer review that parts of the manuscript had poor English. Why?

A: This can happen for a number of reasons. For instance:

  • In the original manuscript, particular sentences or paragraphs may have been unclear or outright incomprehensible, which means that we were unable to guess the intended meaning and therefore unable to edit them. When this happens, our editors leave a margin note to draw your attention to the fact that this particular sentence or paragraph was unintelligible and needs revising/rewriting prior to submitting the manuscript to the journal. Unless you send us those revisions/rewrites to have them checked, it is possible that errors are introduced in the process, which may prompt negative comments during peer review.
  • After receiving the edited manuscript, you discover that you forgot to mention something or that you need to change a figure and therefore amend the text. As above, unless you send us those modifications to have them checked, you run the risk of introducing new mistakes to the text.
  • Another possibility is that the peer-reviewer who made the critical comments about the language is not a native English speaker, and may therefore not be qualified to critique the language in your manuscript.

In any case, if you receive such comments and do not understand why you have received them, simply send us both the submitted manuscript and the reviewer comments and we will try to resolve the situation (see our acceptance guarantee).