Being aware of your editing habits can help authors to trust that you’re doing your best during the editing and publication process.

Editors have a huge responsibility in helping authors through the publication process. For authors in the academic world, getting their research published means the difference between staying stagnant and moving up in their careers, likely with the goal of receiving tenure. Consequently, authors want to feel that they can trust and rely on their editors. Editors, therefore, must be aware of how their actions and habits affect the way authors think about editors.


In the article “Author Perceptions of Positive and Negative Editor Behaviors in the Manuscript Review Process,” Marc Street, Dennis Bozeman, and J. Michael Whitfield explore the answers to two questions: “What do authors consider to be ‘good’ editor behavior?” and “What do authors consider to be ‘bad’ editor behavior?” To answer these questions, Street, Bozeman, and Whitfield conducted two focus groups that consisted of faculty members from two southeastern US universities. The faculty members were active researchers and had considerable publication experience. During the focus groups, the faculty members were encouraged to share the good and the bad habits of the editors the faculty members worked with.

“Authors’ perceptions of editor behavior can provide invaluable information on the strengths and weaknesses of editor behavior.”

—Street, bozeman, and whitefield (1998)

In addition to conducting the focus groups, Street, Bozeman, and Whitfield surveyed other faculty members. The survey included statements about negative and positive editor behaviors in five areas: consideration of authors, decision-making, ethics, thoroughness, and editorial intervention. The respondents were asked to respond to the statements about editor behaviors by using a scale of 1–5 (representing answers ranging from “not at all important” to “extremely important”). The resulting scores for the negative-editor behaviors were between “seldom” and “sometimes.” Most of the resulting scores in positive-editor behaviors were between “sometimes important” and “usually important,” suggesting that editors engage in positive behaviors often but that there is room for improvement. 


The results of Street, Bozeman, and Whitfield’s study show that authors view editors fairly positively but that editors can take certain steps to improve authors’ perceptions of editors. According to the researchers, these steps include decreasing editorial bias, improving constructive criticism, and increasing the thoroughness of manuscript review. By increasing positive habits and decreasing negative habits, editors can strengthen their relationships with authors and help authors feel more satisfied with the publication process.

To learn more about how editors can improve their relationship with authors, read the full article:

Street, Marc D., Dennis P. Bozeman, and J. Micahel Whitfield. 1998. “Author Perceptions of Positive and Negative Editor Behaviors in the Manuscript Review Process.” Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 13 (1): 1–22. 

—Rebecca Brown, Editing Research


Find more research

Take a look at Oliver Shaw and Sabrina Voss’s (2017) article for more information on the author-editor relationship: ”The Delicate Art of Commenting: Exploring Different Approaches to Editing and Their Implications for the Author-Editor Relationship.” In Publishing Research in English as an Additional Language: Practices, Pathways, and Potentials, edited by Margaret Cargill and SallyBurgess, 71–86. Adelaide, Australia: University of Adelaide Press.

Read Kenneth J. Smith and Robert F. Dombrowski’s article to learn more about why author-editor connections are important: “An Examination of the Relationship between Author–Editor Connections and Subsequent Citations of Auditing Research Articles.” Journal of Accounting Education 16 (3): 497–506.