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, biomedical, 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 copy-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) and on the type of services you require. 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 pay by credit/debit card directly on our payments page, through PayPal (SSL encryption, no PayPal account required), or by bank transfer (we have bank accounts in the UK, Spain, France and Germany).

Q: Can you provide an invoice?

A: Yes.

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 and was funded by XXX.". The funding part is only required if you have not disclosed your funding source already elsewhere in the acknowledgements.

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: Depending on the level of corrections needed, an experienced editor can cover about 1000-1500 words per hour. So if you have seen prices elsewhere that sound almost too good to be true, they most likely are. Ask yourself how much money such an editor would earn by the time the company has paid its overhead and taxes. Then, consider whether you, or any of your colleagues (or even PhD students), would be willing to work for say €8 per hour. Most probably not.

While we may not be the cheapest of services, our prices are still considerably below the industry's top earners, who charge up to €0.20 per word. Also bear in mind, that unlike some of our competition, we do not employ undergrad students from low wage countries to edit 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 much more time consuming and require an editor who understands the science and has the necessary experience and abilities to detect inconsistencies and suggest improvements at this level - and such an expertise does have its price.

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 your approval 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.