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Marc Abernathy

Developmental academic editor, writing coach, & trainer

Simply put, my job is to make my clients' writing better. I dig into a text to find the main ideas and arguments and then revise and rewrite to emphasize the significance and contributions of the research. My goal on every project is for clients to say, "That's exactly what I wanted to say but didn't know how to."

There is no clear career path for a developmental academic editor, but mine began when I worked as a consent form editor for an ethics review board overseeing clinical research to ensure that research subjects were able to make an informed decision about whether to participate in clinical trials. My job was to translate complex medical procedures and terminology into language that was understandable to a wide readership.

Those skills came in handy when a postdoc at the University of Cologne asked me to take a look at a journal article manuscript that was having a tough time getting through the review process. This "client zero" was satisfied, and from there my academic text and training work has come exclusively through a growing network of referrals.

Marc Abernathy

How I help researchers

Every day I work with motivated and enthusiastic researchers to get their work published and funded. Learn more about how I can help you.

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What my clients have to say

They can say it better than I can


Editing Client

University of Mannheim

"Hi Marc, I received a message that the paper about [...] is now conditionally (some small changes) accepted to the A* Journal outlet. So, thank you so much for your great job. Without your support and patience, this would have been impossible! You are awesome...."

Editing Client

University of Göttingen

"Marc, thank you very much for your work, I saw that substantial effort has gone into the manuscript and I think the quality and readability has improved a lot! Also the paragraphs where you had questions made clear that we are not getting our point across, and, thanks to you pinpointing at those parts, we now also improved them. Overall, all remarks were very clear and are now integrated..."

Editing Client

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

“Dear Marc, Thank you so much for your incredible work. I am very grateful for the detailed editing you did. It was all pretty straight forward, so I don't have any open questions and I do agree with all your comments. This has also been a great learning process!"

Editing Client

University of Antwerp

"Dear Marc, Thank you very much for your mail and your work on the paper! I just finished working through your edits/comments, they are all very clear and valuable and no questions remain. In particular, many of your comments asking for clarification helped substantially to improve the paper and better present our work!"

Editing Client

University of Passau

"I went in greater detail over your comments and thought in particular over your general comment in the beginning. Why are you not a professor? Your comments are so right. I completely agree and in theory I know it exactly. This is what I teach my students over and over…"

Editing Client

University of Cologne

“Hi Marc, Thank you for your extremely diligent work with our manuscript. This was very helpful!...I would like to point out that I enjoyed several of your comments (thanks, for example, for teaching me the nuances of “archetypical”!) – I do appreciate the extra effort you invest in explaining your edits!"

Five reasons to work with me


I love the work that I do.

Getting a text to the level that tells readers why your research is important, what's new, and why it matters is extremely satisfying. I love working with intelligent and dedicated researchers who want to make an impact in their field and society. I love that I get to dip in and out of so many different fields and learn about important new research as I work. I like knowing that I'm good at my job and can improve a text that might significantly advance my clients' careers and their field. It's incredibly rewarding.


I specialize in academic writing and scientific communication.

I work only on journal articles and funding proposals: for the Academy of Management Journal, Nature, Science, Administrative Science Quarterly, The International Journal of Hospitality Management, The Drama Review, and many others. On ERC, Humboldt, DFG, Branco Weiss, and Volkswagen Stiftung proposals. On initial submissions, revise & resubmits, and cover and response letters. I know the world of academic publication and funding because I work in it every day.


I know the pressures and demands of academia.

The pressure to publish and secure funding, the heartbreak of rejections and failed experiments, the competition for resources and publication, the (in some cases) lack of help from advisors, unbearably long review cycles. The list goes on, but I've heard it all and work with clients every day facing the same demands you do, so I not only empathize with your situation, but I can guarantee that everything I do will be directed toward making your publishing and funding experience successful.


I'm not a PhD.

A benefit for you. Working adjacent to academia rather than in it gives me an advantage because I'm not a specialist in your field or any others. You have to work harder to explain to me what makes your work special or significant, which makes your text better. You can get advice and help on methods, research design, and statistics from your colleagues; I'm here to help you communicate your work and its merits in the best way possible, which your colleagues might not be able (or have the time or patience) to do.


No outsourcing here.

Before you have an editing service revise your academic text, consider their business model. Many other editing services outsource their work to part-time, contract freelancers, with the business themselves focusing on operations and marketing. If I needed an academic text revised, I would be at least skeptical of someone doing this kind of work as a side job. I'd wonder how invested they are in my success. This is not the kind of work you want a novice to help with. Academic publishing and research funding is high stakes, and publishing a paper in a top journal or securing funding from a major funder can lead to offers for professorships or your own lab or research group. The value of either can be career-changing. Not only do I know the stakes, I make sure that every text that you submit presents your work in the strongest possible light. I am your single point of contact from first draft to publication.

Book a session now to get the help you need


Administrative Science Quarterly (ASQ)
Organization Studies
Organization Science
Journal of Vocational Behavior
Human Resource Management Journal
International Journal of Hospitality Management
Die Unternehmung - Swiss Journal of Business Research and Practice


Freigeist Fellowship
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - German Research Foundation
Volkswagen Stiftung
Academy of Finland
Branco Weiss Fellowship
Emmy Noether-Programm
ERC - European Research Council
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