Sub-editor’s Guide

After the major structural changes of editing, sub-editing is the process of refining word choice and sentence structure to make the article easier to read, with an emphasis on checking that the information conveyed in the article is accurate and clear; however, at this stage, you may still suggest things like moving a paragraph, adding or removing sentences, etc – use your intuition!

It is important to retain the author’s own voice, so avoid altering sentences because they sound different from how you would say them. If it is factually correct, fits in with the genre, and is not confusing or clumsy, it’s fine to leave it be. A checklist of essentials to look for is below.

The editors and writer will work together on the same document, sending revisions back and forth until they are all satisfied (read all the way to the end for Google Docs instructions).  The version you submit at the end will be the final version, so there will be no more opportunities for the author to edit after this. The EUSci editors-in-chief will be keeping an eye on the process to ensure that the edits stay in line with what EUSci looks for in an article. Editors will also help to mediate any disputes between the author/sub-editor and may add their own comments/feedback as the editing progresses.


  • Does it have a short, snappy title? (Most articles at this stage still have a working title)
  • Does it have a byline in the format “Author name examines subject x”?
  • Is the main body text within a 10% margin of either 700 or 1400 words? 
  • Does the text read smoothly and clearly, without unnecessary repetition or clumsy explanations? 
  • Are all vocabulary choices correct? Are they pitched at the right level, i.e. not too specialist?
  • No references are necessary in the final version! Have all references been removed? If something looks unlikely, however, make sure to check it out. 
  • Is there an author info line? (E.g. Mary is a third-year neuroscience student)
  • If pictures have been submitted, has the file name, caption, and credit information been included at the bottom of the article?

If you are so inclined, you can try to address spelling and punctuation issues at this stage, although they will also be caught during the copy-editing process later on. Use the guide “Copy-Editing Guidelines” for guidance on small issues like commas or whether to spell out numbers.

Google Docs instructions:

Permissions are set so that editors are in change tracking ’suggesting’ mode. This means that if editors delete or add text, their changes will show up in green. They can also add comments by pressing Ctrl + Alt + M or clicking “Insert – Comment”. The author can then accept or reject these edits.