Yes. If the medical editor does not qualify for authorship (read how the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors [ICMJE] defines authorship here), you should acknowledge her contributions to your publication in the Acknowledgments section. The ICMJE gives examples of contributions such as writing assistance, technical editing, language editing, and proofreading.
My professional organization, the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA), has a position statement on the contributions of medical writers to scientific publications that also encourages acknowledgment. It reads,
The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) recognizes the valuable contributions of medical communicators to the publication team. Medical communicators who contribute substantially to the writing or editing of a manuscript should be acknowledged with their permission and with disclosure of any pertinent professional or financial relationships. In all aspects of the publication process, medical communicators should adhere to the AMWA Code of Ethics.
In January 2017, AMWA, the European Medical Writers Association (EMWA), and the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) released a Joint Position Statement on the Role of Professional Medical Writers. That statement instructs authors who collaborate with a professional medical writer to “acknowledge the provision of medical writing support, including the nature of the support, and the name, highest relevant qualifications (eg, degree or professional credential), and affiliation of the professional medical writer accountable for the support provided, and acknowledge the funding sources for the provision of medical writing support.” The template provided reads in part, “The authors thank [name and qualifications] of [company, city, country] for providing medical writing support/editorial support [specify and/or expand as appropriate].”
The instructions for authors of the journal to which you are submitting your manuscript may also mention who should be acknowledged, usually in conjunction with a discussion of authorship. For example, the JAMA Instructions for Authors reads, “All other persons who have made substantial contributions to the work reported in the manuscript (eg, data collection, analysis, and writing or editing assistance) but who do not fulfill the authorship criteria should be named with their specific contributions in an Acknowledgment in the manuscript.”
When I return an edited file, along with tips on how to deal with track changes, I write,
My professional organization, the American Medical Writers Association, encourages authors to acknowledge the contributions of professional medical writers and editors. Kindly consider acknowledging me for language editing or medical editing.
Acknowledging your medical editor is not just good publishing practice. An acknowledgment is welcome feedback for the editor's diligent work and is sure to engender goodwill.
Are you looking for a medical writer or editor for your next publication? I’ve worked with authors publishing in journals from Biochemical Pharmacology to FEBS Letters to Nature Communications. How can I help you get published? E-mail me today: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published September 2016; updated February 2017.