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Substantive editing

Editing of a text focusing on its structure and argumentation. This phase in the editorial process is followed by copy-editing.

Because of the pressures on publishers’ budgets, in recent years there has been a decline in the amount of substantive editing (structural revisions)  devoted to a manuscript. Instead, quite often the publisher may rely on any concerns regarding structure, argumentation and coherence being raised in the peer reviewers’ reports, and perhaps in additional comments from the commissioning editor (which may have been made after only a hasty reading of the work).

This definition is extracted (and expanded on) from the book Getting Published: A Companion for the Humanities and Social Sciences by Gerald Jackson and Marie Lenstrup. It was first referred to in the blog Getting Published in a post on the requirements and costs of self-publication.

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