Frequently Asked Questions
What are the aims of Academic Knowledge?
Our primary aim with regards to the service we provide is to facilitate a high-yield income to academics such as yourself which also provides learning and education through the use of modern technology to student customers. Secondarily, our aims are to break down the negative stereotypes attached to academic research and writing companies. In respect of the work we do for with you and your customers, our aims are to provide a research service that is efficient, high quality and affordable. If you have concerns about how ethical this service is, please click here.
Who uses your work and the service?
Your customers will primarily be students (studying at undergraduate and masters level) looking for assistance. However, we have also sourced lecturers, members of the general public, companies, and other research bodies. For more details on our customers, see the 'About Us' page.
I have a question that is not answered here, who is the best person to contact?
We are always happy to discuss any problems or queries with our existing or potential researchers. The Researcher Relations team are here to help – we're your first port of call for any problems or suggestions so please do get in touch. Feel free to send us a message through your online account if you're an active researcher with us, or email us at [email protected]. If you would prefer to speak to a member of the team directly, you are more than welcome to give us a call between 9am-9pm (BST) Monday to Friday or between 10am-6pm (BST) on Saturdays and Sundays on 0115 9667950.
How do I know that students/companies don't hand in/pass off work as their own?
Our company has strict policies to ensure anyone suspected of handing in work as their own is blacklisted, meaning that they can't place any future orders with us. All work we provide from you is to help a customer understand the area they are studying, and can give them an idea of what to do when writing their own piece of work. We inform every customer of the fair use policy, and the way in which your work should be used. Unfortunately, some do use the service incorrectly; as with any useful tool it can be misused. For more information on ethics, please click here.
How do I apply?
In order to apply to become one of our freelance writers you must first complete an application via the website. Upon submission, your application will be accepted and if it meets our criteria, you will be accepted onto the system. Upon acceptance, you will first be allocated a paid test brief to assess your written abilities, and then you will be approved for us to source work from real customers on your behalf. Please click here to start the application process.
What access to sources do I need to have to be a researcher?
You need to have good access to sources, as they are very important when completing briefs. We encourage you to sign up to your former University's Alumni association. However, we can also offer a select number of researchers access to sources so please let us know if this is something that would be useful to you.
If I am accepted, how long does it take to get on your books and get work?
Applications are usually processed within 24-48 hours, Monday to Friday; however this can be longer during busier periods. We need to receive proof of ID, proof of address and evidence of your qualifications before your application can be considered fully. Once your application is accepted, we'll issue you with an information pack containing a guide for new writers, and a choice of test briefs to choose from. You can then select a test brief to complete, and you'll have 7 days to complete the piece of work. If we are satisfied with this test order, then we will be happy to work as your agent and source live orders from paying customers for you.
What is my employment status if I join you?
The position we offer is freelance; therefore, you will be responsible for declaring your own income. As all work is carried out at your discretion, you are not classed as an employee. We act as your agent in helping to secure work and facilitating delivery to your customers but we do not arrange your tax and national insurance affairs for you. You must file a self-assessment tax return if residing in the UK, and any equivalent return if you are residing outside of the UK.
Can I ask friends to apply to work with you?
Yes, if you want to encourage friends to apply to be a writer with us then please do so – it's a great way to expand our researcher pool, and we offer a referral bonus for recommending a friend.
Bidding & Orders
What does it mean to bid on an order? What is the bidding process?
We understand and appreciate that the term 'bid' can be quite confusing. As you start to look at orders, if you come across one that you are interested in then you place what we call a 'bid of interest'. This involves scrolling to the bottom of the order and pressing a button which registers your bid on the database. Placing your bid means that you are happy with everything displayed: the word count, the fee, the delivery time, grade & instructions. It means that you are happy to complete the work as displayed if it is assigned to you.
Your bid of interest comes through to the Researcher Relations team, who will take your bid into consideration. At the end of each working day, the Researcher Relations team go through a process called delegation, where each paid order is checked and assigned to a researcher. We receive multiple bids for almost every brief, so all bids will be taken into consideration before a researcher is selected. You can see how many other researchers have bid on a piece via your account – we encourage researchers to bid on as many briefs as possible in order to spread the chance of getting work, but also to take into account that bidding is a confirmation that you can complete the brief if assigned.
The team have to take into consideration the subject and level which the customer has ordered, and alongside this we also look at the last time a researcher was assigned a piece of work and the quality of work done so far. We also appreciate when researchers call in or send us an in-depth message to explain why they feel the job is right for them – we are always happy to register your particular interest.
You are not to start work until a message has been sent to your account to confirm that you have been awarded the order. Placing a 'bid' of interest does not mean that the order has been assigned to you.
What does a completed order look like?
Taking on your first order can be a little daunting, so we’ve put together some example pieces that will help you to understand what a completed order from one of our existing researchers looks like.
To understand what we expect from an order, take a look at our example orders to see the same question – one for Business, one for Nursing and one for Law – completed at different levels. As your agent, we are here to help you to ensure you meet the requirements of your orders.
When do I have to submit the order?
As your agent, we arrange and facilitate everything with the customer, including delivery. Therefore, we will always specify the time that the written work should be delivered in order for us to get it to the customer on time.
When you are looking at a brief you will see that there are different delivery times based on what the customer has selected. Our standard delivery is 5 days; however, we also offer many other delivery options including much longer (like 19 days) and much shorter - the shortest being 3 office hours.
With a 3 office hour brief, if the brief is paid for we will be looking for a researcher to assist within 3 office hours. On a weekday, this means that the latest we can find a researcher is 6pm, and at the weekend it would be 3pm. If you come forward for a short delivery brief, we will get in touch to ensure that you're happy to take it on and are able to complete it in the time frame required.
On a weekday, delivery falls to 2pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays it will be 12pm, as we close at 6pm.
I am qualified up to a PhD level, will I immediately get access to high level work?
As a new writer with us, we will start off by sourcing undergraduate work regardless of your qualifications. After 3 successful undergraduate pieces have been completed, we can expand your eligibility to include low level Masters work. As you progress through Masters level work we will look to increase this to Masters Distinction, MPhil and even PhD to increase the amount of work we can source for you.
How do I get paid?
Invoices are generated automatically by our system on the 16th of each month. You’ll see an automatic invoice appear in your log-in area underneath the Payments tab from 9am (BST) onwards.
Our invoice dates operate from the 16th to the 15th of each month. The cut off time for each month is 12am (midnight). For example, all work completed between the 16th of January and the 15th of February (before midnight) will be paid on the last working day of February. Any work completed between the 15th of February and the 16th of March would then fall into your March pay packet.
When the invoice has been generated but the payment hasn't been made yet, it gives you a chance to get in touch with us if there are any issues.
Payment is made directly into your bank account or via Transferwise for international payments.
How much will I get paid as a freelance writer?
Almost all of the orders on our system follow a fixed fee structure, so you don't have to worry about supplying quotes or working out payment rates. Orders on the system display a fixed fee which is based on the word count, grade, and delivery options selected by the customer. These desirable rates are secured by us through our marketing and commitment to quality work to ensure that we obtain industry leading fee for the writers we work for. Our fee calculator lets you see exactly how much you could earn while writing for us. For a comprehensive view of our fees, read more information here.
Can I rely on work from you for a primary source of income?
Depending on how much work you take on, you may wish to write with Academic Knowledge full-time. We do have researchers who work with us full time and some who work part-time alongside another job or other commitments. We wouldn't recommend working full time with us immediately, as it depends on how much work we can secure at any given time and how much work you would realistically be able to take on.
It is also worth mentioning that the work is very seasonal so while there is a lot of work for part of the year, there is less during quieter periods, so it may not be a consistent source of income. If you are considering working with us full time, please contact the Researcher Relations team to discuss this further.
How do penalties work?
At Academic Knowledge we will always try to minimise the occurrence of penalties and look to find alternative ways to resolve issues regarding the quality or late submission of work. Ultimately, these discussions and negotiations with the customer on your behalf are what we are here for. However, certain circumstances mean that refunds are, unfortunately, sometimes necessary. Penalties are only ever applied when work is delivered late or is not up to required quality standards, and we have to agree a refund with the customer for you. We will always do everything we can to avoid applying a refund/penalty first.
How often do I get work?
The seasonal period closely follows the academic term, meaning that there are busy and quiet times depending on what time of year it is. For example, from around March to May we are at our peak period for the amount of work we can bring in for you, whereas from late May to July we are a lot quieter, meaning that there is less work to pick up.
Another factor to consider is the subject or subjects in which you are qualified – if it is something quite niche, such as Quantity Surveying, there may not be a lot of work we can secure for you. Topics such as Business, Law and Health tend to be more popular so there is a greater amount of work that we can obtain for you.
We try to be fair in our delegating process to ensure that the work is spread evenly amongst bidders. However, the amount of work that you are assigned also depends on how well you are doing. If we have an issue with any briefs that you complete we will be upfront and clear about what is required, but if you aren't willing to make changes or are obtuse, we are less likely to secure you further work and may even end our agent position with yourself.
What level of quality do you expect?
As an agency that secures very competitive payment rates and an impressive customer list, we expect the best from you. This reputation for high quality ensures that we are able to obtain great rates of pay for you from the customer. Every brief you complete should at least meet the level of the order and be within the word count (we allow 1% under or 10% over, unless otherwise specified). If the customer has provided any special requirements or information that needs to be followed, this should also be done correctly. All essential sources should be used and the work should be referenced correctly using the referencing style selected.
Part of every order between yourself and customer is an expectation of completely original work with absolutely no plagiarism. To ensure this is the case, every piece of work is scanned through our in-house software to check this for you, as this is a very important guarantee that you need to uphold with your customers. This policy also prevents researchers from reusing work created in previous orders – this is self-plagiarism and isn't acceptable. All work must be brand new and original. Failure to ensure this would potentially mean we have to refund your customer and you may be liable to them for a £5,000 plagiarism bond. We work for you to avoid any issues such as these but please don't plagiarise so that you are not put at financial risk!
What if my work is late?
Although we understand that extenuating circumstances can arise and impact delivery time, it is very important that work isn't late. The standard delivery time for weekdays is 2pm, and 12pm at the weekend.
If you are interested in taking on a brief but aren't able to submit it on time, please do not place your bid. Instead, send us a message confirming how long you would require and we can approach the customer about this.
You give a guarantee to your customers that your work will be completed on time, meaning that if the work is late they can claim a full refund and receive your work for free. Bearing this in mind, if you are working on a brief and feel you may not get it in on time, please let us know in plenty of time. We can then get in touch with the customer and try to agree an extension – please do not assume that if you ask for an extension, it will be granted. Delivering your work on time is a very important part of being a freelance writer with Academic Knowledge.
Who owns the work I produce?
The copyright remains with you as the writer and the customer obtains an exclusive licence to own a copy and use this for academic purposes. This means that the customer cannot hand it in as their own work and the exclusive licence means that you cannot resell, publish or redistribute the work at all. It is custom-written for the customer and cannot be reused in any way by yourself.
Will you get me work outside my academic area of expertise?
Due to the guarantees that you offer to customers as part of every order you complete, we will generally not give you work outside of your area of expertise. The guarantee provided to your customer is that you (the researcher) hold qualifications in the subject area up to the level of their order. We are, however, more than happy to consider those areas that cross over and into your main area of expertise – we appreciate that there is an ever increasing amount of crossover between subjects.
What sort of work will you offer me?
Once your application has been accepted, we will issue you with eligibility for the subject areas that are associated with your qualifications. You are then able to log in to your control panel as often as you wish to view the available work that is within your direct area of expertise. You may also filter the system to view work that you are not qualified for – you're always able to see all of the work that we currently have available. Once you find a job you're interested in completing, simply place your bid.
There is a great variety of work to choose from – pretty much every kind of academic work. We also occasionally receive requests from businesses, legal firms, and others. To read more about the sort of work we source, please take a look at our example jobs, writer case studies, and our 'About us' page.
Do I have to take on the work you offer me?
No, you will never be assigned a piece of work without you firstly placing a bid of interest on the order. You will only be assigned work which you have registered interest in by 'bidding'. This states that you are able to complete the work based on the details, delivery and fee provided.
The beauty of being a freelance writer with AK is that you can log on when you have opportunity and you can arrange your workload to your benefit. You can pick and choose which assignments you wish to bid upon; however, please only place bids of interest on briefs if you have read the instructions in full and you fully understand what is expected. If you are ever unsure of a brief's requirements, you are more than welcome to send us a message via your account or call us in the office to ask questions. We do advise you not to bid until you have attained the answers that you seek. This is how we support you in securing work that you can comfortably complete and our in-house teams are here to help facilitate all of the admin and correspondence with your customer.
What is the procedure when I do go on holiday?
As this is a freelance position, you are of course allowed to take time off and go on holiday. If you want to go away and continue working this is absolutely fine as long as you have access to your Academic Knowledge account and any resources you need.
Please keep us informed of any times that you will be unavailable and refrain from bidding on orders to ensure that we do not assign you work you can't complete. Please also try to bear in mind any ongoing amendments, as these will be urgent and can't be ignored. We need to be able to get in contact with you regularly; so as long as you let us know, it isn't a problem.
Can I work on holiday or when I am out of the country?
If you do wish to take on briefs whilst on holiday or travelling for work, all we ask is that you have access to your Academic Knowledge account and are able to complete the work whilst away. If you are travelling and aren't contactable by phone or message please get in touch, as we need to be able to get in touch with you if you're actively bidding and taking on work. Remember that your customers will be contacting us about your work for them and so we need to be able to keep in contact with you.
What if a customer doesn't like my work?
We have an Amendments Department who deal with all customer amendments. Although we try to ensure that all of your work is issue-free through our Quality Check process, the customer may not agree with this. Sometimes they will have instructions which differ from the original ones that they supplied when placing the order. Remember that this is your customer at the end of the day and customer satisfaction should be a priority for you. If the customer requests extra or different work, it may be a paid amendment and if you feel this is appropriate, we will be on hand to negotiate a fee and delivery time-scale with the customer for you.
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