Posts Tagged ‘ethical boundaries’

Academic Writing: Editing vs. Ghostwriting?

Do you Know  . . .

           the Ethical Boundaries

                              of Your Editor?

Good morning colleagues—

Our time together today focuses on the difference between hiring an editor and a ghost writer–to ensure understanding of the boundaries of the role of an editor.  In a previous post, I discussed the different types of editing.  For our purposes here, my goal is to help understand the ethical boundaries of the role of an editor vs. a ghost writer, particularly regarding the integrity of academic editing to include: doctoral dissertation, master’s capstone thesis, and professional faculty journal writing.


Why is this distinction important?  As  a writer, the uniqueness of your writing is important—unique to YOU, YOUR writing style, YOUR intentions, and YOUR signature.  Within the capstone thesis and the doctoral dissertation, one must defend their work as part of the process.  In academic terms, this defense is actually called an Oral Defense.  The writer (doctoral student or master’s student), must defend the integrity of their work, to offer assurance to the university that the student was the author of ALL parts of the dissertation/thesis.  Some universities require an ethical statement where the student must sign that their work is just that–THEIR work.

Editor Boundaries

As a result of these issues of integrity, a professional editor must adhere to ethical boundaries.  As an editor, I may proofread grammar, spelling, adjust format, make suggestions for passive voice, and perhaps adjust details on a references list in APA format.  However, I may NOT rewrite or ghostwrite entire sections or chapters or in any way offer original writing for my clients.  An editor must walk a very fine line to protect the integrity of the work of their clients.  The editor’s personal writing style must NOT come through the writing.  Why? This dissertation, capstone, or professional article is NOT our writing.  I am not the author.  I am the editor ONLY.  I may offer advice; I may not offer original writing.

Ethical Boundaries

Often, I am asked by potential clients to actually write their capstone, dissertation, or professional journal articles.  *sigh* I refuse.  There are many on the Internet who will indeed write the entire study, where many students fraudulently lie when defending their work during their Oral Defense.  I am saddened when many potential clients ask me to do just this and I refuse—often for large sums of money.

My personal reputation is all that I can control.  I cannot control the behaviors of others, nor can I control the behaviors of others in response to my own.  I however can and will continue to maintain the highest standards of integrity, where I will help my clients in every way possible, offering proof reading, grammar editing, and editing in APA format; I however will not ghost write for my clients to protect their integrity, as well as my own.

I welcome the opportunity to talk about this topic further.  Please join me in protecting the integrity of the academic writer regarding Capstone Graduate Thesis and Doctoral Dissertations.  I look forward to your stories.

My best,

Dr. Cheryl Lentz
The Academic Entrepreneur
Professional Editing Services

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May 30th, 2014 by admin