August 04, 2014

Quit driving editors crazy, use Edifix! (A field guide to getting your bibliographic references under control)

Frustrated Editor

Angelica Kerr, Managing Editor of four Elsevier Health Science journals, weighed in on the ElsevierConnect blog this week with some tips for authors by listing six things that most of them are doing wrong. The entire list is funny; it’s also chock-full of helpful information and well-worth a lunchtime read at your desk. What struck us, though, as experts at bibliography-wrangling, is this startling statement from Kerr: "About 75 percent of my time is spent reformatting references." Wow!

Having worked with editors and publishers over the years here at Inera (we make Edifix!), we know what a pain point references can be, but seeing it spelled out so plainly is still sometimes a real jolt. Although Kerr tempers her advice with the acknowledgement that journals could do more to standardize their reference styles, it's no secret that this kind of attention to detail can help get work published, as advised by Kirsten Bell in a Chronicle Vitae article from earlier this year. Bell also sympathizes with authors but, like Kerr, encourages them to pay attention to details like references: "believe me, it’s worth taking the time to redo the references, because nothing is likely to turn off editors more quickly than knowing that we’re receiving some other journal’s discards." So authors can do themselves a favor by formatting their references into a standard style well before submission.

But being armed with this information won't exactly help you deal with all that tedious work! Thankfully, we have years of experience with automating this process so that you can focus on what's important to you: your article content. Edifix is a web-based way to get your references in tip-top shape, whether you're an author, an editor, or anywhere in between. You simply paste your plain text reference list into our form, choose a standard reference style, and we will format your references to that style. Not to mention that we can check the accuracy of your references against PubMed and CrossRef, using these databases to supply missing or damaged information, and append links to help others find the content referenced online. It's pretty robust, pretty fabulous, and nearly guaranteed to help you get published or at least help you quell the vale of tears streaming from your friendly managing editor's face. (Free Trial here.)

But what about Endnote? Both Kerr and Bell make mention of the reference management software, Bell joking that authors may wish they had installed "that EndNote software gathering dust on [their] desk." It's never too late to get started with managing your references more efficiently, either, and Edifix also has a solution for that! You can output your reference lists in RIS format, a standard that managers like EndNote, Mendeley, and Zotero use to organize your information relationally. So someone with a plain text reference list can go from no structure to a RIS formatted list in just a few minutes, and then import it into your favorite reference manager. We've taken care of tagging the little bits of each reference so that you don't have to tediously paste each article title, author, etc. into form fields. It's kind of like magic! Or, it's just Edifix.

To give Edifix a try, start a free trial today!