Notice for BELS Supporting Members: Renewals for 2017 are now open! Check your emails for your renewal notice and invoice (sent 3/2/2017). Or, log in to your profile to access your renewal invoice there. Make sure to renew before May 1, 2017 to avoid your membership lapsing. Thank you!

Welcome to BELS!

The Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BELS) was founded in 1991 to evaluate the proficiency of manuscript editors in the life sciences and to award credentials similar to those obtainable in other professions.

Potential employers and clients of manuscript editors usually have no objective way to assess the proficiency of editors. For their part, editors are frustrated by the difficulty of demonstrating their ability. That is why both employers and editors so often resort to personal references or ad hoc tests, not always with satisfactory results. The need for an objective test of editorial skill has long been recognized.

To meet that need, the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BELS) developed a process for testing and evaluating proficiency in editing in the life sciences according to internationally recognized standards. The Board administers two examinations--one for certification and one for diplomate status. The examinations, written by senior life-science editors assisted by testing experts, focus on the principles and practices of scientific editing in English.

Why certification for editors?

  • To provide qualified manuscript editors in the life sciences a way to demonstrate their editorial proficiency.
  • To provide employers and clients of manuscript editors in the life sciences a way to identify proficient editors.
  • To establish a standard of proficiency in editing in the life sciences.
To be eligible for BELS certification, you must usually have a bachelor's degree or equivalent from an accredited academic institution and at least 2 years of experience as a manuscript editor in the life sciences. A manuscript editor is defined here as one who is concerned not only with the form but with the intellectual content of a manuscript.

Find a Board-Certified Editor

Become a Board-Certified Editor

Reach the next level!
Earn your diplomate status.

The diplomate program is designed for BELS-certified editors who have had extensive experience in scientific communication in English and who are highly proficient.

The Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BELS) awards diplomate status to BELS-certified editors who pass the diplomate examination. Achievement of diplomate status indicates that an editor has demonstrated exceptional editorial proficiency, reflecting greater mastery of editorial skills and knowledge than required for certification as an Editor in the Life Sciences (ELS).

To be eligible for diplomate status, the candidate must have been a BELS-certified editor for at least 2 years and be able to document at least 6 years of editorial experience.

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