For whom do the BELS toll? Today the BELS toll for me! I am not talking about John Donne or Hemingway’s dirge bells; I am talking about gleeful BELS, as in I passed the Board of Editors of the Life Sciences exam. BELS is a rigorous exam that assesses an editor’s skills in editing in these five domains: 1: mechanics 2: syntax, clarity, and organization 3: editorial knowledge and judgment 4: numbers, measures, statistics, and displays of information 5: legal and ethical responsibilities. By passing the BELS exam, I proudly join a group 1,600 BELS-certified editors from around the world. So today I hear the joyful BELS ringing.
I began my quest to pass the BELS exam several years ago, and some milestones on my journey include editing over 1,900 scientific journal articles and a number of NIH grants, monographs, and PhD dissertations; reviewing key concepts in the life sciences from statistics, biology, biochemistry, anatomy, oncology, and epidemiology; annotating much of the American Medical Association’s Manual of Style as well as the Chicago Manual of Style; earning certificates from the UC San Diego Copyediting program (completed) and the Medical Writing program (in progress), and earning seven basic medical editing skills certificates from the American Medical Writers Association.
If I edit scientific manuscripts for you, and you’re wondering for whom the BELS toll, then to paraphrase John Donne, the BELS toll for thee because no editor is an island unto themselves, so by passing the BELS exam, this ultimately improves the quality of work I do for you. So do you hear those joyful BELS ringing?