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How to create an effective copyediting checklist?

Rajinder is a Manager Copyediting for a prominent e-publishing organization in Noida. He is a husband of a loving wife and father of two.

Elements of a Copyediting Checklist

Whether you are copyediting a journal or a book, consistency is the key to quality and you can ensure this by creating and following a checklist. For managers, checklist becomes a very useful tool to guide experienced and trainee copy editors:

Below is a simple-to-create and effective checklist for copyediting journals:


Left running header: Mention your journal’s style to set short names of authors.

Right running header: Mention your journal’s style to set short article title.

Mention your journal’s style to set history dates. For example - History dates: First draft submitted: xxx; Accepted for publication: xxx; Published online: xxx:

Author byline: Names of authors.

Affiliations: Address details of authors.

Check the first page including front matter very carefully. Ensure that the journal style has been followed for names, affiliations, running headers and email addresses?


A brief summary of the article. Mention your style to set abstract here.


Mention your journal’s style of headings here: whether sentence case or not. Lower case after colon, etc.


Check whether all abbreviations have been correctly defined/expanded or queried?


Share points here on how to set tables in your article comprising table title, table body and footnotes and abbreviations, if any.


Share points here on how to set figures in your article comprising figure title, caption and abbreviations, if any. You can also include copyright information in the figure footnotes.

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Share points here on what needs to be looked at while editing the main text of your article. Spelling and grammar errors, consistency issues, clubbed words, etc. must be picked up and corrected. Various style points related to repetition of units, spelling out numerals, thousand separator style, etc. could be included here. Check text for correct punctuation, grammar, hyphenation, adherence to style, etc. Check and compare all math in the text and display equations in the copyedited document against the author’s original manuscript.


Share your journal’s style to set Acknowledgements. How to write names of authors, organizations, etc.?


Share your journal’s style to set Funding information. How to write names of authors, grant sponsors, grant numbers, etc.


Share several points on how to set references in your article. Journal, books, conferences, patents, website type reference style points need to be included here.


Mention mandatory queries here that should not be missed in any article.


Ask the copy editor to run spell check. This must not be missed in any case.


Ask the copy editor to check the final output of the article, either creating a PDF or by taking a print of the final version. This will ensure that there are no missing items that have been left accidentally while copyediting the article.

Using an effective checklist ensures consistency, accuracy and high level of overall quality in the copyedited article, as the checklist takes care of a number of style points in the article. The copy editor is left with ensuring thorough reading of the manuscript.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Rajinder Soni


Parul Sood from Noida, India on October 30, 2019:

A real value addition for young copy editors. Your article will guide many aspiring editors. I am a writer and I will follow some of your points while writing my articles.

Swapnil Ghosh from Kolkata on October 26, 2019:

A very helpful and insightful article for beginners to learn about copyediting in details.

Aurobindhan S from Chennai on October 20, 2019:

Interesting read about copyediting how it should be done. Reveal your secret how to be a effective journal editor

Rajinder Soni (author) from New Delhi, India on August 17, 2019:

Thank you so much dear Murali. I hope you like this checklist that I have created from my own experience.

Halemane Muralikrishna from South India on August 17, 2019:

A very good practical guide for copyeditors

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