The role of a copyeditor does not end with checking the spellings, grammar and sentence structure of a document or write-up.
Rather, fact or reference check is an essential part of his or her job. While it is writer’s responsibility to check whether what they have written is factually correct, the copyeditor would also be held responsible if there is a factual error in the printed content. Here are some tips that a copyeditor should keep in mind before the final copy goes for publishing.
- Always check dates, be it historic or the recent ones. Even it is a world famous event and you are sure about the year, go back and get it checked, just to be safe.
- A reference check should be done for the names of famous people. This applies to names of countries, cities, towns or other places.
- If a document refers to be a person as deceased, check whether the person is actually dead. The vice-versa also matters.
- If the title of the content refers to a number of items (for instance: 10 things to do in New York), make sure that the write-up has exactly 10 items.
- If the article has numbers like number of years, percentage, etc. make sure that you check the accuracy using a calculator.
Apart from all this, it is important for copyeditors to trust their guts and check everything that they feel doubtful about. It is possible that you are wrong, but if you are right, you are saving the reputation of the writer and the entire publishing team as well.