Words and typography (text design) for science editors

Tuesday, 16 February 2021 – completed


Helen Sword, Helen Sword Consulting Ltd
Yateendra Joshi, Freelance copy editor and trainer


The workshop is in two parts: part 1 is about effective writing and part 2 is about effective typography.

Part 1 In writing her book Stylish Academic Writing, Helen Sword had an agenda: she wanted to “start a stylistic revolution that will end in improved reading conditions for all.” Based on a path-breaking analysis of 1000 research papers from ten distinct disciplines ranging from philosophy to computer science and published in more than 60 leading journals, Helen distilled the essence of good academic writing in an effort to demolish the myth that journal editors do not “allow” authors to write in a certain way. Both a connoisseur and a clinical observer of academic writing for decades, Helen will take you on a whirlwind tour of resources designed to help academic writers (and their editors) shape up their sentences and sharpen their style.

Part 2 This workshop will introduce science editors – both manuscript editors and journal editors – to good practice in presenting text to their readers, ways that help to convey the authors’ intentions more effectively, based on what the technology has offered in the past and what it offers now.

Download Yateen Joshi’s slide deck.


Part 1

  • Stylish academic writing: an overview
  • The Writer’s Diet
  • The WriteSPACE Studio
  • How researchers can learn to craft stylish academic writing
  • What science editors can do to treat their readers to dynamic prose

Part 2

  • Decoding the act of reading
  • The micro level: typefaces and fonts, glyphs, character spacing
  • The meso level: word spacing, line length, paragraphs, headings
  • The macro level: pages, access structures, title
  • Putting it all together to make your text sparkle

About the speakers

Prof. Helen Sword
Helen Sword Consulting Ltd

Helen is Professor of Humanities at the University of Auckland and runs a private consulting company, Helen Sword Consulting Ltd. Prof. Sword is an international expert on academic, professional, and creative writing across the disciplines, providing consultancy work on scholarly writing and researcher development. Her books, articles, and online tools have empowered writers around the world to write more clearly, confidently, prolifically, and with greater pleasure.

Helen has not only published widely in the intersecting domains of modernist literature, higher education pedagogy, digital poetics and academic writing, but also develops writing and editing tools tool for assessing your own behavioural, artisanal, social and emotional habits as a writer.

Yateendra Joshi
Freelance copy editor and trainer

Yateendra Joshi has been editing technical documents for more than 30 years, a career change he made after working for a decade as a scientist with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (1978–88).

He was with TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) in New Delhi for 15 years, moved to Pune to work with WISE (World Institute of Sustainable Energy) in 2005, and has been freelance since 2007, dividing his time between freelance copy-editing and teaching.

He is one of only 27 editors worldwide to be awarded accredited editor with Diplomate status certified by the Board of Editors in Life Sciences, USA. Yateendra is on EASE Council with special responsibility for training.