Critical Tools for Medical Editing

To be a great medical editor, you need great copyediting skills: a sharp eye, attention to detail, and a drive to get things right. You also need to master the special conventions that govern medical publishing. Here are the resources you need to do that.

Style guides
AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors, 10th edition
Primary style guide for editing all manner of medical publications

Publication Manual of the American Psychological
Association, 7th edition

Default guide for editing material in the social and
behavioral sciences

Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for
Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 8th edition

Reference for editors in science and related fields

The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition
Comprehensive style guide that should address any questions not covered in the above guides.

Medical dictionaries
Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary

Two gold-standard dictionaries for the healthcare field, each listing 100,000+ medical terms and their definitions

Medical spellcheckers
Stedman’s Plus Medical/Pharmaceutical Spellchecker
Plug-in for MS Word and other word processors that enhances the spellchecker with some 500,000 medical, pharmaceutical, and biological terms

Inductel Medical Spellchecker
Plug-in spellcheckers for medical content; scientific and technical content; and combo medical, legal, scientific, and technical content

Spellex Universal Medical Spellchecker
Spellchecks medical, surgical, chemistry, and laboratory terms across platforms (MS Word, email, websites, social posts, etc.)

Resources for getting references right
PubMed Citation Matcher
References, abstracts, and DOIs for articles on life
sciences and biomedical topics

Index Medicus
Standard abbreviations for medical journals, such as “N Engl J Med” for the New England Journal of Medicine

Library of Congress Online Catalog
Catalog records for the library’s 162 million books,
periodicals, manuscripts, and other resources

Google Scholar
Niche search engine that allows you to search a broad array of scholarly literature
U.S. National Library of Medicine database of research studies being conducted around the world

General medical references
Cleveland Clinic Health Library


Merck Manual

The Mayo Clinic Patient Care & Health Info

Information on ethics
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors
Recommendations for best practices and ethical
standards in the publication of medical research

Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)
Advice to editors and publishers on all aspects of
publication ethics, particularly how to handle research and publication misconduct

Professional associations and certifications
American Medical Writers Association
Members can become Medical Writer Certified (MWC)

Association of Health Care Journalists

Board of Editors in the Life Sciences
Offers Editor in the Life Sciences (ELS) certification

Council of Science Editors

International Society for Medical Publication Professionals
Members can become Certified Medical Publication Professionals (CMPP)

National Association of Science Writers

Additional resources
AMA SI Conversion Calculator
Enables instant conversions between metric units and conventional units

Listing of standard nomenclature for human genes and gene families

Allows you to scan for plagiarized text

Reference managers
Software tools for managing and publishing citations, bibliographies, and references

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