Let’s go through the purpose of editing:
This is the purpose of editing. What is the purpose of going to the library?
This is where editing begins. The purpose of the work is to make it readable without having to have a lot of knowledge about the subject.
What is not editing?
It is important to highlight where not “doing” editing is not what editing actually is.
Let’s do an example, since I have already said that editing is also not the same thing as being a teacher. When somebody is writing a paper and you just copy-edit something, you are not actually editing.
But let’s say that instead of editing, you are a research expert trying to explain what was just said on a paper to the peer-reviewers. You will be editing the paper to make it legible and readable to the readers.
You are not actually helping the author find out why they should understand what they got wrong, but you are also correcting the wrongness of what the author was saying and presenting the idea that you think that the reader should know. The idea is that the reader can then apply what you’ve written to find the right way to understand the material. So here the “not-doing” part is there because you were correcting the errors you just made while you were editing.
And that’s why I think you should also read in the context of how much editing is actually not doing an editing of a paper.
“Here is the original paper I’ve written.”
“Ok let’s go to the library and check the manuscript. What do we want to do here?”
“I’m not sure. The first three pages of the paper don’t show the paper I wrote so I’ll start looking at it more carefully as I go along.”
“Great. Let’s go to the library now and do a quick review at home.”
“Okay. Let’s go now. Do you think I should edit these first three pages now? And what about any of the rest the manuscript?”
“You can still take the first three pages that are more or less irrelevant. You can just leave them blank and focus on what you should work on afterwards. As you edit, be sure to make sure that you’ve done your own work in a reasonable pace. There’s no need to hurry.” This can be just another way of saying what kind of editing is not doing
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