The NIH Library provides editing services and suggests resources to help you get your draft ready for peer review. We provide, as a free service, light and medium editing for NIH- and HHS-related work. As the writer, you have the option to accept or reject our editing suggestions. In order to serve all eligible staff who request editing assistance, we leave it to you to perform in-depth editing and to make all revisions.
In addition to our free service, the NIH Library offers substantive editing as a fee-based, heavy editing level of service. Also known as in-depth, advanced, or comprehensive editing, substantive editing goes beyond light and medium editing. For the substantive editing level of service, the editor would review a manuscript in-depth to:
- improve the manuscript by such means as suggesting revision of large sections of the manuscript, suggesting changes to the order of text or to sections where the text should be moved according to the target publication’s instructions to authors, and suggesting the addition of text or manuscript sections to improve the evidence or logic;
- verify data by cross-checking data in the body of the manuscript against data in the figures, tables, and supplementary materials; and
- ensure that manuscript suggestions are delivered within the agreed timeframe.
The fee-for-service editing model includes editing of the following: manuscripts, book chapters, protocols, case studies, posters, and PowerPoint slides, as well as the following official-duty types of documents/publications: Alien of Extraordinary Ability "green card" application letters, blog posts, congressional reports, grant applications, website content, and whole books.
To request substantive editing for an NIH work-related manuscript, submit your request online. You will receive a reply by email or by telephone to discuss your manuscript and to receive an estimate for the cost of substantive editing. If agreeable, you will then be instructed to provide a CAN and name of the approving authority.
What We Do
Virtual Access to Writing Resources
Dictionaries, style guides, and more are accessible via the Writing Resources webpage.
Light and Medium Editing for NIH and Select HHS Work-related Manuscripts
NIH Library editors will review and suggest revisions to improve your manuscript, slide deck, poster, and more. We look at spelling, word usage, grammar, punctuation, and table and figure layout; as well as issues with consistency and clarity. Please allow a minimum of 7-10 business days for completion of editing suggestions. Use the Editing Request webform to request editing.
Copyright Resources and Consultation
We can direct you to resources on topics that include permissions, fair use, copyright law, and federal government employee guidelines.
PubMed Central Submission Assistance
Submit your peer-reviewed final manuscripts, accepted for publication, to PubMed Central (PMC) with the help of NIH Library staff.
Writing and Publishing Training
Classes on topics related to writing, editing, and publishing are available from the NIH Library's training program. Look for upcoming classes on the training calendar. Tutorials and customized training by NIH Library staff can also be provided.
Editing Request Details
Light Editing includes:
- Identifying needed corrections in spelling, word usage, grammar, and punctuation
- Cross-checking text with elements such as tables and figures for correct association
- Reviewing text to suggest changes that could improve consistency
Medium Editing includes:
- Suggesting text and heading changes that create parallel structure
- Ensuring consistency of a journal style according to the publisher's instructions to authors
- Noting where passive voice might be changed to active voice
- Flagging writing that could be made clearer for the reader
We provide assistance when preparing documents for reporting or presentation, such as:
- Book chapters
- Case studies
- PowerPoint slides
We are unable to edit the following types of documents through our free service (see the option to request fee-based substantive editing above):
- Alien of Extraordinary Ability, "green card" application letters
- Blog posts
- Congressional reports
- Grant applications
- Job applications
- Manuscripts written for non-NIH related work (other agencies or academia)
- Medical/graduate school personal statements
- Resumes or CVs
- Theses or dissertations
- Website content
- Whole books
Additional Editing Support
Fellows and students have access to other formal writing and editing programs.
Fellows have the option to submit ready-for-publication manuscripts to the Fellows Editorial Board. Submissions are accepted electronically and require a ten-day turn-around. This is a comprehensive editing service provided by volunteer scientific editors.
Postdoctoral fellows, postbacs, and summer interns have writing classes and career counseling support available through the OITE. NIH staff wishing to receive help editing medical school applications, please contact OITE.
Last modified date: Thu, 12/19/2019 - 12:56pm