Editorial policy

© March 1998 Paul Cooijmans

To demonstrate how I feel about editorial matters regarding whatever kind of journal or magazine, here is an excerpt from the constitution (written by me) of a European-based I.Q. society of which I am the journal editor:

"...It (the journal) will contain, verbatim, copy submitted by members; material by non-members may also be published if the Editor deems it suitable. There will be no censorship and the Editor will make no alterations or revisions. Copy will be reprinted as accurately as possible and not be shortened. Sole restriction to this anti-censor policy is that in no case correct answers to any of the Society's admission tests will be published. This paragraph implies that, apart from the restriction, any member will at any time have absolute certainty that whatever copy that member submits will be published verbatim."

I know by experience that very, very few journals, magazines and newspapers follow a policy like this. Apart from the journal edited by myself, OATH and In-Genius are to my knowledge the only journals that are more or less up to these standards.

I detest editorial changes and manipulations. How foolish you look if, for instance, you send a sharply written and flawless letter-to-the-editor to a newspaper, and they publish it in a shortened and altered form, full of cripple language and with sixteen grammatical errors in each sentence. And THEY think they improved it! Similar things happen in almost all I.Q. journals I know.

Even more horrific - if possible - are those cases where you criticize in your copy someone who happens to be good friends with the editor. The editor shows your copy to his friend and gives him the chance to respond (tear you down) in the same issue (or even the PRECEDING issue). You in turn are never given advance insight in copy criticizing YOU. And worse manipulations occur, but will remain unmentioned here.

People who have so little respect for another's work and are so strongly inclined to extreme misbehaviour should ("burn at the stake" I'd almost written, and perhaps I should) abstain from editorial tasks. The only way to get rid of bad editors is probably to at once stop submitting copy and end your subscription to that journal when something unpleasant happens to your copy. If this be carried out consistently, the good journals survive in the end. Unless... a substantial number of people would LIKE their (or other's) copy tampered with.. But that couldn't be true, could it?