TIPS TO AUTHORS

I have a Ph.D. in anthropology specializing in archaeology. I have conducted fieldwork at many prehistoric sites in the Northeast and have been a consultant on many others over the past 40 years. I have been editing professional archaeological publications since 1982. I have been working in a print shop since 1987 doing everything but running the presses to learn all about desktop publishing, camera ready copy, layout, printing, and dealing with printers. I have a very broad perspective on all aspects of archaeological publishing both on paper and digitally..

Editors have a love/hate relationship with authors. We love to have them submit articles that we know that the readership will also love. We hate to deal with their idiosyncrasies. Recent examples are unique ways of creating tables that line up into columns only when a certain font is used; or submitting color photographs which when converted into black and white look all black; or using three different fonts and sizes in the same word; or throwing in extra spaces between words (for emphasis?). Very minor things, just a frustration to change.

The primary concern of the author should be content. The editor's concern is to put the best possible face on that content within the style guidelines of the journal. The graphics and tables must be appropriately sized and placed as closely as possible to where they are referenced in the text. The tone of the article must be adjusted to suit the audience.

If I believe that the manuscript needs more work, then I send the author detailed comments. If I do not feel comfortable in assessing some aspect of a manuscript, then I will ask for advice or research the topic to get another perspective. I do not spend the time on final formatting until the manuscript is ready to go.

If I believe that the manuscript is ready-to-go, then I proceed with the final formatting and editing for consistency. This can take four hours or more for even short articles. All the articles in the same volume should have same font, size, leading, running heads, sub-heads, justification, kerning, captioning, etc. as well as have consistent abbreviations, capitalizations, and print enhancements for certain common terms. All references cited in the text must be in the References Cited and everything in the References Cited must in the text. I also check spelling, appropriate choice of words, and grammar. If there are any problems or missing information, I ask the author only for the missing information.

Authors have the opportunity to read page proofs and to make changes prior to publication. I do not mind correcting my own mistakes and adding words or phrases to clarify the meaning or to update the information. On two occasions, however, authors have then submitted totally revised manuscripts which included none of my formatting and were not keyed to the original to show where the changes were made. I will not accept future manuscripts from these authors.

I once transformed a contract report into a book for a commercial publisher. The production department referred to me as a ghost writer since I had so radically changed the structure of the report to form the narrative. The authors could not understand how a 500 pp. report shrunk to under 200 typeset pages including many pages of graphics. They did not see where I had omitted anything. They never realized that I had created new sections and a summary chapter by literally cutting and pasting paragraphs and including bridging statements copying their own unique styles.

Roger W. Moeller