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GSS peer review

The GSS Peer Review and Editing program was created to help graduate students and post-docs learn to produce high quality papers.  Your editor will show you what changes can be made to make your document easier to read and understand.  All students, native and non-native English speakers alike, can benefit from this service.  Whether your document needs lots of re-wording or has just a few typos, we can help.

*This service is both free and confidential.*

What does confidential mean?

This means that your document will be handled with the utmost discretion. No one outside of the editing staff will see your document and no editor will discuss your document with anyone outside of the editing staff. Our editors sign a confidentiality statement. This does not mean, however, that your submission will be kept from your advisor. All submissions require advisor consent.

Who can use this service?

Graduate students (both Master’s and PhD) and post-docs are welcome to submit documents to the GSS Peer Review and Editing service.

What type of documents can I submit?

You may submit any document to be edited with the permission of your direct supervisor.  Examples of documents that may be submitted are: manuscripts, grant applications and qualifying exams.  A supervisor authorization form will be sent to you after you submit your document.

Who are the editors?

Your editor is a graduate student currently enrolled at CWRU.  Editors are volunteers who have an interest in scientific writing/editing. Our goal is to eventually have an editor in each of several different schools and departments, so that we can assign your document to someone in a related field. However, while the program is in its early stages, we can’t guarantee this.

What your editor will do:

Your editor will read your document and suggest changes that will improve the readability.  Changes will usually be in the form of: re-wording a sentence, re-ordering sentences in a paragraph or improving word choice. He or she will also correct grammar; however, please remember that the editors do not necessarily have degrees in English, so we cannot guarantee a grammatically perfect document. Your editor will focus more on the flow of your document and the structure of your sentences to make it easy to read and understand. Our goal is for students and post-docs to gain an understanding of how to write clearly and concisely; therefore, you will ultimately decide whether to make the changes we suggest or not.

What your editor will NOT do:

Your editor will not add content to your paper.  Your document must remain entirely your own work; therefore, your editor will not alter the original meaning of the document in any way. If you find that the original meaning was unintentionally altered upon re-wording, please be sure to contact the editor to have the sentence reworked to be both accurate and easy to understand.  This service is meant to supplement the editing process between you and your advisor, by making your document easier to read, your advisor can focus on the content of your work.

How do I submit my document?

1. Send an email, with document attached, to Include your full name, a description of the document and a requested completion date. You can also include any other pertinent information which might help us edit your document.

2. Receive a confirmation email from an editor which will include an estimated time for completion.  This email will include an authorization form that must be completed by your direct supervisor/advisor.

3. Forward the authorization form to your advisor and ensure that he/she completes the form.   While waiting for the authorization form, an editor will begin working on your document.

How long will it take to have my document edited and returned to me?

Every effort will be made to edit your paper in a timely fashion. If you have a requested completion date, please include that in the submission email. We will always attempt to have your document completed by the day you request, but we cannot make that guarantee at this time.  Your edited document will not be returned to you until we have received the authorization form from your supervisor.

What will I get back from my editor?

1. Critiqued version of your document. This is a PDF version of your document that includes MS Word tracked changes and comments. You will also receive a feedback letter from your editor. This letter will provide you with general comments about your document, highlight any common mistakes found and alert you to any changes that the editor couldn’t make. You should review both of these documents in detail.  By reviewing the changes, you will be able to see exactly what you can do to improve your document, this is a great way to learn and improve your own writing.  Because you only receive the PDF version, you will make any suggested changes and verify that the intended meaning of each sentence was not altered.

2. Your editor is also available for follow-up revisions. Should you make changes to the document, simply resubmit it to and indicate that it is a resubmission. We will forward the document to the editor who first reviewed your document or you can request a different editor. Also feel free to contact your editor directly with any questions pertaining to changes he/she made.

3. You will NOT receive the .doc of your edited document. Because one of the main goals of the program is to help students learn to write more clearly and concisely, you will need to review the changes in the PDF and make the changes yourself in your Word document.  This may seem more time consuming, but ultimately, it will help you to recognize places where you can improve your writing and eventually, you will be able to rely less on editing programs in the future. Your editor also spends extra time writing comments that explain many of the suggested changes, so that you can understand why a change makes a sentence better.

Can I leave feedback for my editor?

Yes! We welcome all feedback; as our program grows we want to do our best to improve the service and tailor it to graduate student and post-doc needs.  Please follow this link to access a feedback form. We value your feedback and want to make sure you are happy with your edited document. If you feel that you would NOT recommend our service to a friend, please contact Beth at so that we can resolve any issues/concerns you have.

How do I become a volunteer editor?

If you are interested in academic editing and/or writing after graduation, this is your chance to gain valuable experience while in school!  Being a volunteer editor for the GSS Peer Review and Editing program is a great resume builder.  Please contact for more information.