Ethical Issues in Editing: What the Professional Standards Say

Ethical Issues in Editing: What the Professional Standards Say

Professional editing is about more than fixing grammar and plot holes. Professional organizations like EC, CIEP and IPEd (see the sources list at the end) all convey the standards that professional editors are held to in practice. This post rounds up their expectations as well as some unofficial guidance from other orgs for publishing pros as they relate to ethical issues in publishing. In the coming posts, I’ll round up issues these orgs don’t address, such as promising perfection, cultural appropriation, whether AI can/should be used and how/whether to credit it, and when to reject work you don’t agree with or think is ready.

The standards quoted below are roughly grouped by topic. Click a topic to expand it and see the related standards from professional editing organizations. Wordings have been shortened to fit. It’s a work in progress!

Understanding of Related Laws

Social Justice

Professional Qualifications & Knowledge

Business Practices


In addition to the professional organizations, most style guides (even those aimed primarily at writers or publishers) contain ethical considerations. These are included below.

Image by David “FunkyFocus” from Pixabay

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