How to hire a freelance academic writer


Kolabtree scientific writer Natasha Beeton provides a guide to hiring a freelance academic writer including how much it costs, and how to write an effective job post. 

While researchers and academics are highly skilled in what they do, many of these professionals struggle with communicating their findings clearly and succinctly. However, writing up research findings is, of course, critical for getting research noticed and securing further funds. This is where the expertise of an academic writer can make all the difference.

What does an academic writer do?

The main purpose of academic writing is to impart scholarly information to other scholars and academic stakeholders.

Depending on their experience and skills, academic writing experts can assist with writing the following:

  • peer-reviewed journal articles
  • literature review articles
  • research reports
  • academic web pages on host institution websites
  • academic books or book chapters
  • conference papers
  • theses
  • dissertations
  • academic textbooks and learning materials
  • project proposals
  • article précis
  • grant proposals

Academic writing needs to comply with these golden rules:

  • Must be clear and concise (avoid complicated sentences and poor logical flow)
  • Must avoid unnecessary jargon
  • Must be structured
  • Must be supported by evidence (either by the research results or by literature citations)
  • Must have an appropriately formal tone and style
  • Must follow the conventions of the specific field of research
  • Must comply with the relevant publication guidelines (e.g., university guidelines on how to write a thesis or the author guidelines of a target journal)
  • Must be free of typos and errors of spelling or grammar
  • Must be free of any plagiarism

The tasks that academic writers can perform include the following:

  • Assisting with the literature review and background research
  • Drawing up an outline
  • Assisting with writing the draft
  • Preparing the bibliography
  • Editing and/or proofreading academic writing that is already complete
  • Applying the required editorial style (e.g., APA, Chicago, MLA)
  • Applying the correct style of English (e.g., American, British, or Oxford English)
  • Applying the appropriate publication guidelines
  • Applying the conventions appropriate to the field (e.g., the correct formatting of gene and protein symbols in the life and medical sciences)

Most professional academic writers have at least a master’s degree in English or a field allied with their chosen discipline (e.g., science, business, or the arts), and many have a Ph.D. in their chosen field.

Academic writers work for colleges and universities, publishing houses, academic writing agencies, and journals. Many of these professionals work as freelance academic writers.

The job titles of academic writing experts vary and tend to reflect their chosen area of specialization. For example, their job titles include Medical Writer, Business Economics Writer, Scientific Writer, Academic Editor, Senior Writer, and Editorial Assistant.

How much does it cost to hire a freelance academic writer?

To hire a professional academic writer, the rates can vary quite widely. The typical cost is generally around 20−100 USD/hour depending on the nature of the work required, your timeline, and the skills and level of experience needed. For academic proofreading, a rate of between 20−45 USD is typical, while assisting with writing a research article aimed at a top-tier journal would typically cost you from 60 USD and upwards per hour. Some freelance writers prefer to charge per word rather than per hour, and this may be your preference as well. This should be discussed upfront.

Tips on writing a job post for an academic writer

To attract top academic writing consultants, ensure that your project description is informative and the scope is well defined. You will need to provide information on the following:

  • Skills required (e.g., academic editing and a background in physics)
  • What the project area is (e.g., a dissertation on antimatter research)
  • What the project entails (e.g., editing the thesis for grammar and flow)
  • What the deliverables are (be specific about what you need the outputs to be)
  • Duration of the project (provide an estimate of how many hours work you will need per week/by when you need the project to be completed)
  • By when you need to hire (having more leeway on this will give you more time to choose the best expert for your needs)
  • Your budget (per hour or fixed fee)

If you are unsure what exactly is required, providing as much detail as possible will allow academic writing consultants to still make an informed bid for your project and suggest the best routes forward.

Ready to hire an academic writer? Find experienced scientific writers on Kolabtree for your research paper, clinical trial documents and more. Post a project for free

Related skills

Scientific Writers | Scientific Editors | Manuscript Writing Services | Grant Writers | White Paper Writers | Journal Selection Services

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About Author

Natasha Beeton is an experienced scientific writer and researcher, with a PhD in Molecular Biology. Her services include scientific editing, science writing, science consulting and data analysis.

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