Digital Science portfolio company Writefull is an AI-based language platform which authors can use to help improve the grammar, spelling and specific scientific language in their work. Writefull applies machine learning, trained on millions of published scientific papers, and suggests improvements to grammar, spelling and academic language. These suggestions are based on real-world, context-specific usage rather than on a fixed set of grammatical rules.
In Hindawi’s manuscript tracking system, authors are invited to use Writefull, free of charge, to improve their manuscript. Writefull highlights language suggestions that authors can edit accordingly before downloading a revised version of the document to submit to the Hindawi journal of their choice – ensuring a seamless submission process for the author.
“The idea of automatic language feedback tailored to academic writing is appealing not only to researchers, but also to publishers,” says co-founder Juan Castro.
“Editors often have to return manuscripts because of poor English – sometimes after a time-consuming peer-review process. Letting authors revise the language of their manuscripts at pre-submission saves time throughout the editorial process and helps reviewers focus on the research itself, not the quality of the writing,” adds fellow co-founder Alberto Villar.
The pilot, which began on 9 December, allowed authors to use Writefull prior to submission to Hindawi journals. Uptake, particularly from Chinese and US authors, has been impressive. To date, over 1,600 manuscripts have been submitted for revision to the service.
We will monitor the journeys of these manuscripts through the peer review process to determine the impact of the improved spelling, grammar and language. Initial results suggest that, compared to the usual averages, manuscripts processed by Writefull show a slightly lower immediate rejection rate, lower rate of requested revisions, and higher acceptance rate.
Improving our author, editor and peer reviewer service is at the heart of what we are working to achieve at Hindawi. Writefull has excellent potential as a tool that could help to level the playing field for researchers from non-English speaking countries by ensuring valid research doesn’t fall at the language hurdle.
This blog post is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). The illustration is by Hindawi and is also CC-BY.