How to Become a Freelance Academic Editor

Mar 8, 2021

The gig-economy has shown tremendous growth in the last decade or so.  Most of it has been driven by technology, enabling indie workers to find opportunities across geographic boundaries and in a wide variety of fields.  While Uber drivers is the best known among these workers, most gigs require highly skilled special knowledge workers in areas ranging from professional consulting to software engineering. Academic editing is an ideal candidate for remote gig work as it requires highly skilled editors who do not have to present face-to-face with the client. All that is required is an internet connection and an up-to-date wordprocessor.

Academic editing is ideally suited for retired academic who themselves are not actively publising any longer. This does not mean that active academics should not consider it an opportunity to augment their existing income. You also do not need a language degree to be an academic editor. If you have a keen eye for catching writing mistakes or improper formulation and you have the patience to interrogate someone else's wrtiting, then you are sufficiently prepared to be academic editor.

You must also be in possession of a post-graduate academic qualification and must preferably in academia currenly or before. Teaching experience is a great enabler as it gives the editor much needed knowldge about writing habbits, good or bad. Experienced academics will also have indepth knowledge about style guides prescribed by academic institutions and journals.

Many academic institutions provide language services aimed at assisting students in the preparation of their written work.  A large number of academic editors find editing work through this vehicle.  Some academic editors consult privately, electing to provide services under their own brand.  This means that they have to do all the marketing themselves, including promotions online and in the printed media. This kind of arrangement also relies heavily on referrals and word-of-mouth to generate business.

The number of online editing platforms have increased exponentially with the rise of the internet generally and of social media specifically. Academic editors can find gigs on one of these platforms or even sign up with a few, thereby casting a wide net looking for opportunities. Operating in South Africa with a focus on local academic institutions, DissertationsZA  is one such platform.

DissertationsZA is not just a website.  It is a full function remote working platform designed spefifically for academic editing.  From a client's perspective the platforms allows for:

  • the uploading of draft manuscripts;
  • online payments;
  • online project progress tracking;
  • online querries and enquiries; and
  • downloading edited work

Editors can do the following on the platform:

  • browse available assignments;
  • submit an offer to do work;
  • receive orders of awarded work;
  • track due dates of awarded work;
  • receive reminders about actions required;
  • upload edited work;
  • respond to queries and comments posted by clients; and
  • track payment due

If you are interested in becoming a DissertationsZA academic editor, please register on our website here. Don't forget to check the "editor"option on the registration form.