Scientific editing and translation



ELSS Philosophy

Words are tools used to communicate thoughts from the mind of the author to an audience of readers or listeners.

The communication itself is what is understood in the minds of the audience members. Communication is effective only when the thoughts evoked in the minds of the audience members are the same as those in the mind of the author.
Crafting documents to effectively convey the author''s thoughts is always challenging, even without technical content and language differences between the author and the audience. Through teaching, editing, translation, and consulting, ELSS assists non-native English-speaking authors to effectively communicate complex scientific information. 

Whole Manuscript

Well written documents have a tight focus, compelling content, and structure that links the components into a logical whole for easy understanding by readers. ELSS editors and translators strive to understand the unity and cohesion of each text; understanding the whole story is necessary to achieve an effective finished document. Our focus on meaning challenges our customers to design their content with the reader in mind.  ELSS editors and translators cannot do their jobs well unless each author writes each of their documents as a unified whole and submits it to us finished and with all parts.

Please submit your entire manuscript, including bibliography, figures, tables, and any other accessories to the text. Please include in a single document file (preferably in MS Word or RTF format) the main text, bibliography, figure legends, Table headings and notes, and any other text you would like us to check (e.g. tables or cover letter to the editor). Even if you want to exclude some parts of the manuscript from the requested work, please supply those excluded parts for our information to help us understand the whole. ELSS cannot work on incomplete manuscripts; please do not send us any papers that are still in progress. If something is important for the journal editors and readers, then it is certainly essential for our editors and translators in their efforts to increase the effectiveness of your written communication.

File formats

ELSS can accept a variety of file formats and physical media. We prefer to work in Microsoft Word DOC format because it is popular with most of our clients and includes useful change tracking and comment features. Like many scientific journals, ELSS does not use XML (DOCX) format files; if you send a DOCX file, then we will convert it to DOC format. If you cannot submit an MS Word (DOC) or rich text format (RTF) file, then please send us your file both in the native format that you used to prepare it and also saved as a text file.  

Please do not typeset your manuscript (e.g. Pagemaker Adobe InDesign or LaTex) or insert graphics into the manuscript file before we complete our check. If you have already formatted your text, we can try to work with your format but we do not guarantee the format will be preserved during our edit.

Delivery of manuscripts and supporting information

Please upload the files for your manuscript directly through this web site. Client data entry Form
We discourage submission of files by email. Please never send an email with attachments totaling more than 5 MB. Graphics or graphic-rich files can usually be reduced in size (see our specific suggestions below). If emailing a larger file is essential, then please contact ELSS for alternative instructions.

Acceptable physical media may be sent via postal mail, delivery service, or hand delivered
Floppy disks (HD, Windows or Macintosh), CD, DVD, MO, flash memory (CF, MMC, MS, SD, or XD). Please specify the media format and, if sending from a Macintosh, the file formats. We work on Windows PCs that will not recognize file formats automatically unless they have the appropriate 3-character file extension (e.g. *.DOC, *.RTF, *.PDF, *.JPG, OR *.TIF). Microsoft Word files can be read on both PCs and Macintosh computers without any problem. For editing service, please send an electronic version of your manuscript; ELSS does not edit on paper. We can accept physical manuscripts for translation. 

Figures and tables

If you want ELSS to edit your tables, then please send them in an editable form (not as graphics); Microsoft Word or Excel are preferred. Figures and tables can be submitted for our reference as graphics files (PDF, BMP, TIF, and JPEG are recommended; we can read most Windows and some Macintosh formats). We can read Encapsulated Postscript (EPS), Portable Network Graphics (PNG), Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator files, and some Canvas files (CVS). We cannot read MacDraw files. Also acceptable are most printed figures and tables submitted by postal mail or fax (029 850-2939). Photographs do not transmit clearly by fax; if you need to send copies of photos, then please either mail photocopies or scan them into small, low resolution files and upload to this website [link to file upload]. If you scan your graphics, please use a low resolution (perhaps 150 dpi) and crop unnecessary white space at the edges of the page to keep file sizes small. Line art (e.g. graphs) and tables should be scanned in black and white (or faxed). Photographs do not reproduce clearly in black and white and should not be faxed; please use grayscale for any black and white photographs or index color (system color) with no more than 256 colors for color photos.

Large graphics files can usually be reduced to a reasonable size with a workable resolution by saving in JPEG format with medium or low image quality selected. If all your files together total more than 5 MB, then please compress, preferably in zip format (we recommend winzip:, before sending as attachments. Please do not send self-extracting archives.

Upon return


After you get the paper back, please check our suggestions carefully, especially those in comments. We add comments to almost every paper we check and your paper cannot be brought up to ELSS standards until all issues raised in the comments have been resolved. Consultation about our changes and suggestions is free, but we do ask that you prepare all of your questions in advance and ask them all at once to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please submit your written questions in English. You can ask as many times as necessary for further clarification of our answers to the questions you have initially asked.

Do I need to respond to the questions ELSS asked in the comments in my edited manuscript?

No. We usually raise questions that we feel a reader or reviewer might ask. We do not know how to resolve such questions; this is why we ask the author in a comment. Please simply revise the text to make the answers to the questions clear in the manuscript itself; you do not need to answer comment questions to ELSS. However, feel free to ask us if you do not understand any comment or need additional advice about how to resolve the issue it raises.

Recheck policy


Can you check my edited paper again for free after I have completed revising it according to your suggestions?

We check papers carefully when they are submitted to us. In almost all cases, papers are edited at least three times by at least 2 native-English speaking scientists/editors before return to clients; our primary professional editor goes through the paper at least twice and sometimes as many as 7 times and then once again by a second professional editor who makes sure that the first editor did a good job on the edit. Our editor-in-chief Rick Weisburd supervises the entire editing process and works to ensure that only highly skilled professionals are allowed to work on papers submitted to ELSS. Since the results of these checks are already incorporated into the document file, a final check by ELSS should not be necessary. Of course you should feel free to ask us any specific questions you have about our suggested changes.

If you want to make additional revisions or add new text before submission to the journal or after review by the journal and want ELSS to check the changes, that is fine but not free. Please mark the revised sections in the text (e.g. with track changes).

When you request that ELSS edit a manuscript for which ELSS has already edited an earlier version but you have subsequently revised, either with or without feedback from a journal, ELSS will always try to assign the same editors who initially edited your manuscript because they are already familiar with the content, they will be able to work more quickly than new editors, and the cost will likely be less. If possible, please reserve in advance editing requests for revised papers, as this will increase the chances that we can reserve the same editors. When preparing the revised version, please use change tracking or mark the changed parts with color. We will edit these revised portions especially carefully.

If you previously dealt appropriately with all comments and questions raised by our editors after delivery of their initial edit of your manuscript, then the portions of text outside the marked revisions should be in good condition and should not require more than a quick read by our editors; in such cases, there is no charge for this quick read and the cost for the edit of the revised manuscript is only that for the marked revised text. However, if errors were left or introduced into the text between our return of the previous edit and the preparation of your revised version, then fixing these errors might require some additional cost beyond that entailed for the marked revised text.

When requesting editing of revised manuscripts, please mark the revised portions of text, but we would appreciate you allowing ELSS to decide the fee after completing the edit. We will try to complete the work for only the cost associated with the marked revised text. But if our quick read of the rest of the whole paper reveals major problems that require extensive efforts to fix, then we would like to increase the fee as necessary for the portions beyond the marked text. If you are uncomfortable leaving this decision to the discretion of ELSS, then you can specify a limit above the fee for the revised text. Our editors would then stop working on the unmarked portion of the text if they reach that limit. 


 ELSS is seeking experienced substantive editors with expertise in earth science, plant science, and chemistry. Click here for details. Further details of the ELSS editorial requirements are here.
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