On refusing unpaid work

nicely timed in relation to my recent excursion on the dangers of open-source

Progressive Geographies

I was recently asked to write an entry on a topic I’m very interested in, for another multi-volume Encyclopedia. I’ve written about my doubts about yet more of these ventures before here and here. This one wants a 4,500 word entry, and because that is below a certain word-count threshold the only recompense is free-online access to the Encyclopedia itself when published. Effectively I’m being asked to work for free (see a previous related post here). As I said in my response, having written on related topics for other encyclopedias, dictionaries, companions, etc.

I’m left with two thoughts – there is an over-proliferation of these kinds of reference tools, often with the same people writing related entries for the different ones; and that the work that goes into writing them is disproportionate to the benefits. I note that in this case I’m being asked to write an entry…

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