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Freelance Editor “Auditions”: A CSE Email List Discussion

Abstract

This column is part of an occasional series covering the Council of Science Editors’ email distribution list, in which members ask and answer one another’s questions. It’s a key member benefit and emphasizes the value of our expertise and experience—and provides a platform for members to help fellow members. The question and responses have been lightly edited for clarity and conciseness.   As a freelance editor, the prospect of new opportunities is always appealing to me, especially when that opportunity offers consistent and/or lucrative work. Many excellent and reputable companies are now relying on freelancers to handle the bulk of their editing obligations. But, alas, for every such company there always seems to be another seeking to take advantage of our interest in such opportunities. A fascinating discussion on the CSE email listserv caught my eye recently. An individual who had been freelancing for some time related that a company had asked her to edit a very large, unpublished article as part of her “audition,” and she was quite suspicious of such a large sample edit. Now, freelance editors are often asked to edit a sample from a typical article without pay as part of an auditioning process; most will be relatively short (less than 2000 words) and have generally been previously published. This is not considered suspicious and is a very reasonable way to assess a freelance editor’s skill. However, this individual was given a 23-page article and was asked to edit it in its entirety without pay. The […]

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