The editorial process
Editorial quality has been Encyclopædia Britannica's top priority since the company was founded in 1768. Over these many years, Britannica has developed an editorial process that today is one of the most rigorous in the reference publishing industry. Behind every step of this process are the world's best experts and Britannica's skilled editorial team, which together are the source of Britannica's reputation for accuracy and objectivity.
You will notice many of our articles are attributed in full or in part to the Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. The vast majority of these articles have been written, reviewed, or revised by experts, and this "signature" reflects Britannica's long-standing policy that signed articles were reserved for in-depth treatments. More recently, Britannica has adopted an approach that acknowledges contributions from all elements of our editorial universe---our editors, our contributors, and our readers---and documents how the articles evolve.
Britannica's Editorial division is responsible for developing the content of the company's products, from soliciting manuscripts and editing to fact-checking, copy editing, page composition and design, and indexing. Content editors are experienced editors as well as subject area specialists, many of whom hold a Ph.D. or other advanced degree in their field. Britannica's artists, cartographers, and photo editors, who work in close collaboration with content editors, produce line drawings and maps and procure photographs for all Britannica products. World data experts research and compile statistical information from a wide variety of authoritative sources. All the Editorial division's work is supported by an extensive library---staffed by reference librarians and researchers---that provides access to reference titles, periodicals, and online subscription databases.
Britannica has always had vigorous interaction with its advisers, contributors, and readers. This interaction represents the first step in Britannica's editorial process. For each article, content editors create an editorial plan that combines their own analysis with comments by readers and review by members of Britannica's worldwide community of experts, as well as by supervisory editors, the executive editor, and the editor-in-chief. Prospective contributors are asked to revise or write an article, or several articles, in accordance with that plan and to submit detailed documentation of sources used. Research editors scrutinize every word so as to verify factual accuracy, and content editors ensure that each article fulfills Britannica's goals of clarity, accuracy, and fairness. Supervisory editors, the executive editor, and the editor-in-chief review the article, and copy editors read it for grammar, style, and consistency. It is then sent to the contributor for review, and the content editor incorporates the contributor's responses. Copy editors do a final reading, after which the information management team indexes the article and classifies its contents.
Once an article has been published, the process begins anew, with interaction between readers, contributors, and editors producing refinements and updates that ensure accuracy and timeliness. Editors approach these improvements with the same meticulousness that they apply to a new or substantially revised article, but an abbreviated editorial process allows these changes to be published almost immediately while still being subject to rigorous in-house and external review.