Whether soliciting advice from friends, family, or colleagues, on the receiving end of letters and track changes from journal editors, all authors have received bad editing. Bad editing is part of the writing game. Not everyone who is an editor is an excellent writer, in fact many are not. Although we’d like to think that our manuscripts are read by people with an interest or specialization in the material our articles or books cover, that’s not always the case. Readers can have bad days. Professors can be bogged down by exams; student editors may be more concerned with tests.
I’ve received bad editing from peer reviewed and non peer reviewed journals alike. No journal has a monopoly on good editing nor does any journal have a monopoly on bad editing. As author’s we’re often inclined to dismiss criticism in frustration and then after a little reflection labels ourselves as obviously defensive. I argue that is not necessarily a constructive way to engage the editing process. Sometimes the writer will be correct and the editor will be wrong. But, it is still the author’s job to learn from whatever criticism one receives.