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Location: Kyoto and Auckland
Work interests: research, editing, ethnobotany, prehistory, plant genetics
Affiliation/website: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka
Preferred contact method: Any
Preferred contact language(s): English, German
Contact: email = researchcooperative-at-gmail-dot-com
Favourite publications: Aroideana, Economic Botany, Farming Matters, PLoSOne

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Work: ethnobotany, plant ecology and genetics, human ecology, agricultural history, archaeology, museology
Affiliations: 1996-present: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka. 1995: Freelance editor, Kyoto. 1994: JSPS Research Visitor, Kyoto University, Kyoto. 1993: Research Visitor, Australian National University, Canberra. 1991: Visiting Researcher, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka.1990: STA Fellow, National Institute for Ornamental Plants, Vegetables, and Tea (NIVOT), Ano, Japan
Contact: National Museum of Ethnology, Senri Expo Park, Suita City, Osaka, Japan 565-8511
Biographical: Established the Research Cooperative in 2001
Favourite Publications: Economic Botany, Ethnobotany Research and Applications, New Scientist, Minpaku Anthropology Newsletter, Archaeology in Oceania

Costs and expectations

2012-11-05
By: Research Cooperative
Posted in: Writing

As writers, we researchers are lucky if we can find sympathetic and understanding colleagues to read and comment on our work in draft form. Sometimes, a coauthor may contribute less to the nuts and bolts of writing than a friendly reader (though the coauthor may have contributed in other ways that are also important).

Even when we pay for an editor to look at our work, it can be a matter of luck if costs and expectations match perfectly.

Finding an editor or editing company that can consistently provide such a match it not something we can expect to happen instantly. The best idea is to have more than one paper go through an editor, and to try different editors, and see if the costs and results are satsfactory.

Giving a draft to an editor is not the end of a writers work, it is really just the second stage in a process that may take several more steps. It is best to plan for a generous amount of time between completion of the first draft, and eventual submission to a publisher.

Some editing companies may offer quick or light editing at lower prices than slow and heavy editing. If the latter is really needed, for the intended use of the written work, than choosing quick and light may end up being more expensive and slower in the end, as the slow and heavy editing will still be necessary.

Writers need to make an effort to communicate openly and clearly with a possible editor or editing company before making a contract. Don't assume that others know exactly what you want or need, or what you can afford to pay.

If you cannot find any person or company to work with here in the Research Cooperative, consider again the people in your own circle of friends and colleagues. Can you ask for help closer to home? Can you offer something in return? Has your institution or department ever discussed how writing efforts can be supported from within the institution or department itself?

The Research Cooperative has been created to encourage a sense of the value of cooperation in academic research and publishing. This includes cooperation outside the confines of our own network, and outside the academic world. Even when commerical editors and translators are involved, it is best to approach them in a cooperative or collaborative way, not to see them as mere beasts of burden.

Most editors and translators who offer to work for academic writers are themselves academically trained to some extent - and often to a great extent. If we look around, and communicate with care and attention, people with a huge variety of interests and skills can be found.

So, to conclude: please expect real costs - in terms of your own time or money - if you wish to engage seriously with an editor, and see good results for your writing.

It is possible to have minimal costs, financially, if you can form or join a network of trusted friends or colleagues, to share work in progress and offer mutual support. But building and maintaining such a network is naturally a long-term and gradual process. It won't happen if you never try or make a start.

It is also possible to have reasonable costs and reasonable expectations, based on experience - and experience is a key word.

For example, if you have never worked with professional editors, learn how to make most effective use of the interaction, in order to get good value for the cost. And by good value, I do not mean just value for the particular work being published. I also mean good value for your experience.

Investing in a good editor can be similar to investing in a training course for a special skill - in this case, the skill of writing. If you can learn from your editors, that raises the value for money immensely.

Finally - weigh the cost needed to get your work published by your target publisher against the costs of:

- doing the actual research and writing, and

- not getting the work published in the place where you want it to go.

Investing (say) a month's salary in the publishing process, for a good piece of research, may eventually help you move into a better paying position in the same institution or another institution. The cost may be high in the short term, but if you have confidence in the research you have done, and a long-term interest in the subject, then it may not be a high cost in the long-term.

Researchers often face very uncertain employment conditions and prospects, but building up a record of original and well-written publications will certainly help in any quest for employment.

The quality is more important than the quantity - not just from the employer's point of view, but also so that we can be happy in ourselves, and confident about our own abilities.

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