Can you tell us a bit about your background and your work for Emerald Publishing?
I have always been interested in languages and how to communicate effectively. Having studied French and Russian at The University of Bradford, subsequently deciding against a career in teaching, I travelled extensively around Western and Eastern Europe, picking up extra language and communication skills and generally ‘growing up’. Responsibility, of course, eventually caught up with me, in the form of marriage, children, and a career. I was lucky enough to find a position at H. Charlesworth & Co., a typesetting company in Yorkshire, UK, and learned my proofreading and copy-editing skills there over several years, eventually managing a team of 20+ on-screen copy-editors, providing copy-editing guidelines and checking their work for accuracy for journals published by, among others, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, and Taylor & Francis.
I then spent nearly 20 years at Emerald, a Yorkshire-based international academic publisher, working in the proofreading, copy-editing, publishing, and marketing departments. I had the opportunity to work with thousands of authors, reviewers, and editors and delivered dozens of ‘How to Get Published’ workshops at conferences and universities around the world. I also ran the Literati Awards (Emerald’s best paper awards) for 10 years, gaining an in-depth understanding of what exactly makes a paper ‘outstanding’ and the various interpretations of ‘impact’.
I even managed to become (much to my surprise) a published academic author myself (DOI: 10.1629/20027). While, to be brutally honest, I would not recommend this paper as best practice to follow, I do at least understand how hard it can be to actually get published!
At what point did you get inspired to become an Expert on Peerwith?
Having taken voluntary redundancy from Emerald in 2017, given the knowledge and experience I have gained over the last nearly 30 years, I decided to test the water in freelance copy-editing. I already knew of Peerwith as Emerald recommends Peerwith as the copy-editing service provider of choice for all their journals. However, I wanted to try all available avenues and have worked with a number of copy-editing companies since 2017. Peerwith is, without a doubt, my favourite company to work with and platform to use; almost 100% of my work now comes through Peerwith.
What is the most interesting piece you’ve ever worked on?
I actually enjoy reading, as well as working on, most papers and theses. I invariably learn something new and, by engaging in a dialogue with the authors, I believe I improve my copy-editing skills a little each time too. Some of the papers that stand out for me, from a purely personal perspective based on my interests, have discussed organizational absorptive capacity, the links between mindfulness and leader effectiveness, and Passito wine and its relationship with the island of Pantelleria (the latter possibly because I just like wine). However, if I was forced to pick a favourite, I think it would have to be as series of papers discussing inherent criminogenesis in business organizations, including isomorphism and groupthink, and how to develop effective anti-fraud measures. I always suspected there was something potentially sinister in “working for the man”; now I know why!
What do you see as the major benefits of the Peerwith platform? What made you decide to offer your services on Peerwith rather than any other researcher service platform?
As I have already said, Peerwith is, without a doubt, my favourite company to work with and platform to use; almost 100% of my work now comes through Peerwith. This is because, unlike other major copy-editing-service providers, Peerwith operates on a peer-to-peer basis. Authors do not simply send their work into an online void for it to be edited by a stranger; with Peerwith, authors see exactly who is offering to edit their work and they can pick the best person for the job based on their own criteria. The major benefits of this for authors include: seeing the editors’ skills, background, and reviews/comments left by previous authors; and being able to engage in a dialogue with the editor to ensure the best possible job is done including, if necessary, revisions to the edited work.
From an editor’s perspective, this ability to engage in a dialogue is crucial; it helps me do a better job, based on the author’s requirements, and allows me to improve my skills with every paper or thesis I edit. It also allows me to only offer my services for work that I know I can do well. I’m lucky to have worked with some great authors and I’m delighted to have had such great feedback but this would not have been possible without this dialogue. I know the extent of my knowledge and skills and if a particular job is beyond my ability I can simply say so and suggest other editors instead.
As well the transparency and clarity afforded by the platform, Peerwith also, crucially, provides payment security for both authors and editors. Authors pay Peerwith once a quote from an editor has been accepted, but the payment is not released to the editor by Peerwith until the work is done to the author’s satisfaction. This author knows the work will be done satisfactorily and I, as an editor, know I will get paid and not have to chase invoices. Win-win!
Is there anything you want to say to people who are hesitant about getting support, or advice to people who are considering using the Peerwith Platform?
Anyone looking to get published, seeking help and advice with manuscript preparation, or even needing their work translated really should post their job on Peerwith. The sign-up is quick and simple, with the minimum of details required, and posting a job is free. Someone experienced who can help will almost certainly get in touch very quickly and, even if you do not accept any of the quotes, you will almost certainly pick up some valuable advice, feedback, or tips from those who respond to your request.
Contact Jim directly via his Expert Page