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What can an editor do?

An academic editor may assist with identifying where there are errors or problems within your work, but editors should not make substantive changes to students’ work. According to Royal Roads University’s (2014) Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy for Students:

Authorship of all published work must be limited to those who have materially contributed to, and share responsibility for, the contents of the publication. Publications must also acknowledge the work of editors, including their roles in the process of publication. (“Misconduct”, para. 5)

As the author of the work, it’s ultimately your responsibility to ensure that the writing:

  • Is free of any academic misconduct, as defined by RRU’s Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy for Students
  • Meets the expectations of the assignment
  • Has the appropriate structure
  • Is clear and easy to understand
  • Uses correct grammar, sentence structure, and spelling
  • Is correctly formatted, including citations and references

If you work with an editor, remember to keep copies of the editor’s work in case you are asked to provide them to your instructor or supervisor.

Talk to your instructor or supervisor

If you are writing a course assignment, please contact your instructor to ask if it is acceptable for you to work with an editor.

If you are writing your capstone project, thesis, or dissertation, please consult with your supervisor or program head before working with an editor so that he or she can advise you. The Editors’ Association of Canada’s Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Theses provides suggestions on how to approach working with an editor, as well as a checklist for discussion by students and supervisors on the scope of the edit.

Choose wisely

If you choose to hire an editor, please be thorough in your decision-making process to ensure you’re working with a qualified editor who is a good fit for you and your document type. For more information, please refer to the Editors’ Association of Canada’s Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Theses.


Royal Roads University. (2014). Academic integrity and misconduct policy for students. Retrieved from

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