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With the incredibly fast paced development happening across domains, freelance science writers are crucial to forming the connection between the innovators and the audience. Science writers research and report on innovations and progress on various fronts in science and technology, making sure complex information is broken down in a clear and concise manner that can be understood by researchers, academics, students and the general public.
Typically covering scientific breakthroughs and discoveries for journals, magazines and publications, science writers usually hold a bachelor’s degree (typically in English, journalism or communication), as well as a background in a scientific field. They may or may not hold expertise in the field they write about, but have the innate dual ability of comprehending scientific data and breaking it down into simpler blocks.
What do science writers do?
The primary job of a science writer is to analyse extensive scientific data and the general progress in the field of science. Using this information, the science writer pens detailed articles for publications and journals that are intended for a wide range of audiences. This may include everyone from scientists to academic students and companies operating in various scientific spheres such as med-tech, biotech and pharma.
Science writers typically spend their week interviewing scientists, researchers, doctors and industry experts, and attending in-person as well as digital conferences in the domain they write about. They may also visit research institutions and labs in order to further study the field of science they cover, making sure their pool of information is secure and up-to-date before embarking on their final task – writing the article. This usually appears in renowned digital publications and medical journals, such as New Scientist and Science.org.
You may need a science writer for a variety of purposes, right from making sure people have information about what’s happening in science as well as announcing your company’s latest ideas, innovations and products to a broad audience.
Why do you need a freelance science writer?
Most science writers are employed in-house by medical journals, industrial labs or product development companies. However, smaller publications and startups may also need their expertise for a number of reasons,
- Researching a wide variety of literature, articles and media in order to find and analyse data. This may include anything from press releases, company documents as well as secondary sources on social media.
- `Penning and publishing white papers, blogs and other documents aimed at showcasing the company’s products, ideas and general progress.
- Interact with internal or external scientists operating in the same field, in order to generate ideas for more content pieces that might interest the company’s readers and clients.
Here’s where freelance science writers can help businesses optimize their costs. With writing experts offering their services on-demand at hourly rates ranging between $20 to $100, this offers a chance for companies to explore hiring writers on flexible schedules, enabling them to experiment with topics and content forms in order to figure out what works best for them. Freelance science writers can also be collaborated with consistently, helping you cut costs whilst also re-hiring writers familiar with your company’s products and operations.
How much does it cost to hire a science writer?
According to the BLS, median annual salary for science writers ranges from $60k to $65, with a projected growth of 2-3% over the next ten years.
Freelance science writers are more cost-effective, and usually charge between $20 and $120 per hour. These rates also vary depending on service and project. Whilst a literature review or clinical research might cost around $50/hour, experts hired for advanced regulatory research and complex articles might charge around $85/hour. Scientific writing services such as manuscript editing and research proposal writing varies based on the requirement and level of expertise.
Writing a job post for freelance science writers
Drafting a job post or project description for freelance science writers can be tricky, but getting it right is key to making sure you narrow down on the right fit for your business. Whilst projects with irrelevant or incomplete descriptions may attract proposals from experts in domains you’re not looking for, this might also put off the right expert from identifying and bidding for the project.
Here are some things to consider,
Requirements – The first step is to make a clear and detailed list of your complete requirements. This includes the scope of the project, the audience you want the writer to target, the topics the writer will have to research and elaborate on etc. You might also want to specify the educational requirements you’re looking for (perhaps a degree in English or journalism), as well as the scientific background you want the writer to have. This will help you filter out candidates and hire the perfect fit.
Budgets and Deadlines – The next step is to analyse your requirements and come up with an optimal budget for the task. This will help you avoid proposals from writers who typically charge hourly rates more than what you’re looking to pay. An approximate deadline will also help writers understand how long they have to finish the task, helping you avoid proposals from freelancers whose schedules don’t match your timeline. Specifying how soon you’re looking to hire can also help you find a writer who’s not at the risk of working on overlapping projects at the same time you want to start yours.
This is what your project description might look like:
Looking for a freelance cardiology expert to write an article on different kinds of heart disease and their treatment. The ideal applicant has previous experience penning articles of a similar nature. The article will be used as informational and educational content for medical students.
Proposed Fee – $300 to $350
Hiring Timeline:- Within a month – It will take time to decide on whom to hire or get the work started.