I am a published academic, and I have a commercial for-profit website asking me to volunteer my some original work (that has not been published anywhere) for publishing with them on their site. They have stated that they will ensure that I am given credit for my work with my name and credentials after my articles. I am concerned that I am being taken advantage of. Are there questions that I should be asking?

  • 3
    Publish on this website? Why? What do they offer? Sounds like spam. – Alexandros Feb 18 '16 at 21:39
  • Sorry, I should have been more clear. I was approached by the CEO of a company by text asking me to write research-backed articles (I am a PhD Epidemiologist) for her health website on a volunteer basis. I do write occasionally and get paid for by health websites. However, they own the material once they put it up there, and having been paid as a writer with the proper credentials for the material, I am ok with that. I think what is bothering me is that she's trying to frame it like its a non-profit, public health service. – Melissa Feb 18 '16 at 21:46
  • Ask to keep the copyright on your text, give them a license to publish it (and perhaps negotiate not putting it up on your homepage or such). – vonbrand Feb 19 '16 at 1:33


Or clear evidence that "Credit for your work and your name after your articles" will manifest itself as a benefit to you in some clear way.

While the currency of academia is published articles, these won't really count for that (which you clearly know already). You're being asked to supply a commercial entity with product (content) for free. There needs to be some benefit to you.

What you have essentially just been approached with is the classic "It will look good in your portfolio" line that companies use to try to get free writing or art out of creative professionals. They shouldn't do it, and neither should you.

That being said, it's possible just being there is a benefit to you if you want your name out in the public sphere (for example, if you want to work mainly in public health communication, enjoy outreach, etc.) But it doesn't sound like that's true at the moment.

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