An aspiring early career academic at one of Hong Kong’s leading engineering departments contacted us about journal paper editing in the early 2000s, looking for a publication edge. His research was first class but he knew he needed help with the way he expressed himself to ensure publication in leading peer-reviewed journals. Over the years we worked on papers published in such journals as Accident Analysis and Prevention, Transportation Research Part B and Physical Review E, among many others, honing the writing to ensure it met the stringent requirements of even the most discerning reviewers. We still do so today but the academic is now an internationally recognised researcher and a senior member of the editorial boards of other journals. We’d like to think to we helped a little along the way.