Elline Lipkin

Summary List Placement

After nearly 15 years as an independent academic, I always appreciate the impact of an eye-opening statement like: “Did you know most adjunct faculty, working full time, even with a doctorate, earn under $40,000 a year?”

Recently, I watched mouths drop during a weekend Zoom seminar on freelance writing when I held up a copy of a book, freshly published by a major university press, to which I’d contributed a chapter, and explained my “payment” consisted of two free copies of the volume. Then I casually mentioned that a recent book review I completed — for a prominent scholarly journal — would yield zero dollars. 

The would-be journalists shook their heads, as most professionals do since payment for their labor, in dollars, is considered standard — which is to say pretty much all other fields. 

Not so in academia.  

To further drive my point home to the freelance writers, I held up the two books I’ve solo-authored and explained that one yielded an advance of exactly $1,000 and the other $4,000, since they were marketed as academic and literary work.

Pulling back the curtain on academic exploitation gets a great reaction every time. And after I began to directly question the gatekeepers of this system, the shock began to come from the other side. 

Simply asking to be paid for your work in academia comes across as heresy

Some people act as if money taints the lofty ideas and intellectual labor of academic work.

“It’s just not done,” one editor said to me when I asked why I couldn’t be compensated for a recent article. “Since we’re an academic journal, we never pay.” 

Another editor moved from initial confusion to outrage at my audacity for even asking to get paid. 

The trouble with this archaic system — where ‘it’s just not done’ — is who it systemically leaves …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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