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Do you like being an academic editor?

Honestly, I have many important reasons for a ‘no’ answer.

First, instead of focusing on your fantastic projects of books, articles and revolutionary research, you must deal with doubtful works of people that enjoy a generous scholarship for spending four full years in a nice European capital city or in an American university. Of course, due to a full entertainment schedule, some of them do not have too much time and proper mood to focus on their intensive academic work. Instead, they prefer to do superficial research, hoping that it will not be difficult to find someone happy to help them with the editing and eventually with the full writing of a real academic paper. I am referring strictly to my direct experience, as I am a lesser qualified person in the world to make evaluations about the level of foreign students enrolled in famous human sciences universities of the world.

The second reason for my negative attitude is that I do not know at all what price to ask for such academic work. For most of my life, I never received a penny from my academic activities. In conclusion, I am not familiar with the quotes for various editing services. And anyway, in my humble opinion, academic work in general is priceless and beyond any negotiation. Maybe it is about time to change my perspective dramatically.

But probably one of the aspects that makes me have feelings opposite of love regarding the work of academic editing is in regards to the problematic communication with the author of the respective work. Most of the beneficiaries of such services expect from you more than suggestions; they would be happy that you do perfect writing in their place, including the addition of a rich bibliography. And, if possible, very fast, in less than 24 hours as if the poor paper is a piece of cake that you should gulp immediately.

However, there are also some good lessons learned from my latest experience in the field of academic work. Each moment, I am able to appreciate more and more the merits of quality academic work and the incumbent responsibility of giving the right advice. When I am trying to make suggestions or to outline certain aspects I try to put the problem into perspective: one should not learn for the sake of grades or to make parents happy but because one considers he or she has something to say and share. Otherwise, there are so many simple domains where you can reach easier professional targets. The confirmation of the human value does not come automatically as a result of academic achievement.

Looking strictly from a personal perspective, this new sporadic connection to the academic world gives me some food for thought for an uncertain professional perspective when I would be tempted to be involved at a certain extent in the academic life. Maybe there are many people that need honest advice about their academic future and work. 

Berlin, Germany
Ana Dinescu is a regular contributor to University of Venus and a journalist for ten years for Romanian daily newspapers and is currently a communications consultant, living in Berlin.

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