Asia’s leading academic editing partner

Learning more about the specialists who actually edit your manuscripts will help boost your confidence in a successful outcome. With that in mind we’re pleased to launch “Meet the Team”, where our hard-working, gifted editing team will share more about their backgrounds as well as thoughts on editing and academic writing.

In this interview our English Literature expert, Dr David Mulrooney, tells us about his experience, views and suggestions for authors.

Could you tell us a little more about your background?

I’m originally from Dublin, Ireland and currently living in Vienna, Austria. I completed my undergraduate degree at Trinity College Dublin and Ph.D. at Harvard, both in English literature. As a graduate student, I served as a Teaching Fellow in literature and other subjects in the Humanities at Harvard. I also studied Chinese at Tsinghua University and spent several years as a Beijing-based researcher of international affairs with a European think tank.

How long have you worked in the academic editing industry? Why are you interested in this line of work?

My involvement in academic editing goes back to my undergraduate days in Dublin, when I started proofreading manuscripts and checking references for my professors. I continued to do this type of work on a part-time basis for faculty at Harvard. During my graduate school years, I also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Asia Quarterly, an academic review of international affairs, a position that involved a fair amount of hands-on copy-editing as well as commissioning articles. I also did some editing of conference proceedings and other scholarly publications during my time as a researcher of international affairs. I decided to start editing on a full-time basis about a year and a half ago. What interests me about this line of work is the chance to work with scholars across a wide variety of disciplines – this means constantly being exposed to new and often exciting ideas.

What are your views about the general quality of research coming out of Asian universities?

Speaking about China in particular, the quality of research coming out of the universities is rising rapidly. There has been a massive investment in higher education and research in China over the past couple of decades, and it’s obvious looking at the international rankings of universities that it has paid off, with an impressive number of Chinese universities now regarded as world-class. There is also a huge push for internationalization at the moment, meaning that a great deal of research is being published in English.

Do you have any suggestions for non-native English authors to enhance their chances of successful publication?

Yes, hire a good copy-editor! (obviously, I’m somewhat biased). Even for native speakers of English, getting all the details of a research publication right before sending it off for peer-review is challenging, and this is even more true for authors whose first language is not English. Submitting a well-edited paper means that the reviewers will be free to focus on the research findings and judge them on their merits. Increasingly, journals expect submissions to have been professionally edited.

What are the most common grammatical errors that you come across when editing journal papers?

Issues with subject-verb agreement are incredibly common. These can be tricky – for example, should “data” be regarded as singular or plural? Most speakers of English nowadays would instinctively feel it should take a singular, e.g., “the data was collected using a survey.” In academic writing, the original sense of data as the plural of datum is generally preserved, so this should be corrected to “the data were collected using a survey.”


We will be speaking with another member of our editing team in the next issue. Do keep an eye out for it!

Meanwhile if you are looking for a professional editing service to improve your chances of publication success, check out our academic editing service which is trusted by many leading academics!

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