The Board was founded by 10 editors who had long been
active in national and international professional
associations in scientific editing and publishing. They
began working on the development of the certification
program in the early 1980s. They were assisted by
consultants in testing and by administrators of
certification programs in other professions. BELS was
incorporated in the state of Maryland on January 23,
1991, and the first official certification examinations
were offered that year. BELS now has hundreds of members
in the United States, Canada, and several European
countries. Three credentials are offered:
- Editor in the Life Sciences (referred to as "certification")
- Diplomate Editor in the Life Sciences
- Honored Editor in the Life Sciences
The BELS Roster, a list of all editors who are members of
BELS, can be accessed through one of two links: BELS
Roster or Search the BELS Database.
The certification examination is a 3-hour multiple-choice
test of scientific editing in English. (The 3-hour period
includes time for instructions.) It resembles the
standard tests used in many professions to certify
practitioners. The program is designed to assure
employers or clients of editors that a Board-certified
editor has established a high level of credibility.
Editors who successfully complete the certification
examination may use the designation ELS (Editor in the
Life Sciences) after their names.
More information about the certification process and the
examination schedule is available on the Want to Become A Board-Certified Editor? page.
The diplomate program evaluates the abilities of more experienced Board-certified editors by means of a formal review of edited manuscripts in a portfolio submitted by the candidate. Editors who successfully complete the review process may use the designation ELS(D) after their names.
We have provided a more detailed description on the
Diplomate Program page.
Editors whose careers in editing in the life sciences
have been so distinguished that BELS has bestowed the
title Honored Editor in the Life Sciences may use the
designation ELS(H) after their names.
Membership in BELS is not limited to those with a degree or editorial experience in the life sciences. Editors who have academic backgrounds in many different subjects have passed the certification examination. If you have experience in editing material published in journals, newsletters, textbooks, or reference books in any scientific or related field, you have a reasonable chance of earning certification.
BELS Freelance Ads
The BELS Freelance Ads, which hosts information about
BELS members who have chosen to post an ad about their
freelance editorial services, can be accessed through Search the BELS Database.
Employers wishing to advertise job openings on the BELS
Web site should contact the Webmaster.