How to Hire a Freelance Scientific Writer

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A freelance scientific writer can help businesses and organizations develop authoritative and reliable technical documents. Here’s how to hire the best-suited freelancer for your project. 

Scientific writing forms the basis of several different kinds of science communication: publishing results of research, applying for grants, outreach activities, and more. While the more general ‘science writing’ refers to content related to science, scientific writing is classified as technical writing and is usually written for other scientists or specialists. A scientific writer plays an important role in several industries ranging from pharma and biotech to engineering.

Where does a scientific writer work?

Scientific writers play a key role in: 

  • Pharma, biotech and medical companies: Writing clinical trial protocols, research papers and outcomes, literature search reports, product information, drug composition, etc. Several life science companies also require the support of technical writers to produce content that is technically sound, such as blog articles, emails and press releases, so that they can communicate effectively to all stakeholders. 
  • Research labs: Writing grant proposals, communicating the results of research via journal papers or conference proceedings, creating white papers
  • Medical device organizations: Regulatory writing for approval of a medical device in compliance with FDA, EU MDR or other guidelines
  • Foundations, NGOs or government bodies: Writing about research studies, epidemiological studies and public health programmes
  • Small businesses: Small organizations and SMEs often do not have the resources or need to hire someone full-time, however, they might need external help to prepare technical documents for product launches. Working with freelance scientific writers makes it easier for them to access this expertise. 
  • Online publishers: Publishers of medical and scientific content need to have authoritative and reliable writers who can prepare content that’s factually accurate and technically sound. Google’s algorithms (the Medic update) rewards content written and reviewed by experts with the right educational qualification and credentials.

Why hire a freelance scientific writer?

Within research and academia at large, scientists themselves are usually the persons writing up scientific manuscripts, grants, and protocols. However, as the process of publishing a research paper or developing these documents can be painstaking and time-consuming, scientists may look for external help with preparing a paper for their journal of choice.

Small businesses, in particular, benefit from hiring freelance scientific writers as they may not afford to hire full-time, in-house technical writers. Working with a freelancer can help:

  • Save time and energy: Outsourcing scientific writing to the experts can help save precious time and energy, which is especially important for a small business or organization
  • Save costs: Working with a freelance technical writer can help you have more freedom and flexibility with your budget – you can hire only when necessary and hire someone who can work within your budget.
  • A scalable solution: Working with a team of reliable and trusted freelancers makes it easier for you to access expertise, on demand. You don’t have to spend time looking for full-time staff.
  • Access the best expertise: Hire the specialists you need, irrespective of where they are based. You don’t have to compromise on talent when you’re hiring remote workers or freelancers.

Read also: How to hire content writers in pharma/biotech organizations 

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

As scientific writing is a form of technical writing, it requires a certain level of qualification or subject matter expertise. A freelance scientific writer might charge a basic hourly rate in the range of USD 30-50. The project fees will vary depending on the requirements and complexity of the project. Scientific writers on Kolabtree are able to customize deliverables according to the project requirements and charge either a fixed fee or hourly fee.

Hiring a freelance medical writer is much more cost-effective as working with a medical communications agency. Speaking directly with the freelancer who will work on your project gives you better control and clarity of the scope of work.

Writing a job description

Writing a job description for a freelance scientific writer should clearly state the end goal, the target audience and deliverable(s) expected. Here’s what you should include:

  • Project title: Define what you need to get done in a short, clear sentence.
    Examples:
    -Need a medical writer to write an NIH grant proposal 
    -Looking for immunologist to write a series of articles for our online science website 
  • Project description: Provide comprehensive details of the work that you want to get done. Mention any specific skill sets you’re looking for, file formats, etc.
  • By when you need to hire:  State whether you need to hire someone urgently or whether you’re willing to wait. Waiting for at least a week will ensure you get the best proposals from freelancers.
  • Budget: Define your budget and whether you’re hiring on an hourly rate or fixed fee. You can edit the details once you discuss with freelancers.
  • Skills required: Pick the skills and subject matter expertise required for your project. Try to be as specific as possible to improve your chances of getting the perfect match.

The more time you spend on the job description, the easier it will be to find a suitable freelancer.

Hiring: Making the decision

The main questions to ask yourself while choosing the right expert for your project are:

  1. Are you confident that the freelancer has the skills and expertise you’re looking for? Are they able to demonstrate experience and authority in the field?
  2. Have you seen their previous work experience, portfolio and any relevant projects they may have worked on?
  3. Has the freelancer been reviewed and rated by other clients?
  4. Is the freelancer happy to work within your budget and deadline?
  5. Have you interviewed all freelancers thoroughly and shortlisted the best ones?

Kolabtree makes it easy and risk-free for you to speak with multiple experts to ensure they understand your requirements, before you choose the best-suited expert.

Ready to hire a freelance scientific writerPost your project on Kolabtree and get quotes from expert writers for free.

Related experts: 

Scientific writersfreelance medical writers,  literature search experts,  systematic review experts, technical writers


Kolabtree helps businesses worldwide hire experts on demand. Our freelancers have helped companies publish research papers, develop products, analyze data, and more. It only takes a minute to tell us what you need done and get quotes from experts for free.


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About Author

Ramya Sriram manages digital content and communications at Kolabtree (kolabtree.com), the world's largest freelancing platform for scientists. She has over a decade of experience in publishing, advertising and digital content creation.

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