Print your manuscripts before submitting them

September 24, 2019

Years ago, I wrote a tutorial on how to get a “nearly finished” paper over the finishing line in which I said “Do you really need a printed copy for this? YES YOU DO! Can’t you just do it on the screen? NO YOU CAN’T!”

I was so right.

Here is a page from the manuscript for the vertebral orientation project. I thought a couple of days ago that this was complete and ready to submit. But, just for form’s sake, I printed a copy and went through it with a pen, as I recommended in the tutorial.

Well, I found many, many places where I had to mark up the printed manuscript. Some of them were trivial typos that I’d somehow missed in all times I’d read the manuscript on a screen. Others were infelicitous word choices that I could improve. A few were places where I realised I’d not spelled out something that ought really to be made explicit. There are probably more than a hundred in all.

I just finished this process (shortly after midnight). The next thing I will do, when I have a chance, will be to go theough the manuscript fixing all these little errors and omissions. Most of them I will do right away; other will take longer, so I will just leave a comment for myself marked with the “XXX” rule. Later I will come back and search for “XXX”, and fix the complicated ones.

Only then will I submit — once we have made this submission the best we can make it.

3 Responses to “Print your manuscripts before submitting them”

  1. Pete Says:

    Seconded! PLEASE! Also, loving “infelicitous” :)

  2. Mike Taylor Says:

    Thank you, I was quite pleased with that, too :-)

  3. Rugosidens Excelsus Says:

    Bravo! You spoke with such elegant! I only wish I could have said it that well myself.


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