- Can you tell us a bit about your background and your work for Peerwith?
I obtained my PhD in Political Science from Ghent University in 2016. I have lived and worked in Lebanon for five years, where I obtained my MA from the American University of Beirut (in Middle East Studies). My PhD researched the urban transformation of Beirut from an urban geography-perspective. After my completing PhD, I moved back to Lebanon to take up a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at the German Orient-Institut Beirut. During this period, I decided that I wanted to leave the traditional academic career-path and start working for myself. My work for Peerwith, which consists mostly of language editing, is now part of my business as a self-employed researcher, writer and editor, based in The Netherlands. I love my work and have not regretted my decision to leave academia, not even for one second! And in a sense, I have not left academia, because I am working with academic texts on a daily basis and I still write and publish my own journal articles.
- At what point did you get inspired to become an Expert on Peerwith?
I think I first heard about Peerwith on a forum for post-academic women, but it could have been somewhere else. I looked it up, and I registered as an expert right away, securing my first client in a matter of days, if I remember correctly. Peerwith was the perfect service for me at the time (this was back in January): it connected me to clients, it allowed me to share my expert profile on my social media sites, and I gained a lot of valuable experience. Now that I am more established as an editor, I continue to get interesting assignments through Peerwith, next to my other jobs. It has definitely helped me establish myself.
- What is the most interesting piece you’ve ever worked on?
That is a difficult question! Without wanting to compromise the confidentiality agreement, which forbids me from sharing clients’ work, I think I was most fascinated by a piece about ancient underground architecture in an Iranian city that made it possible for the inhabitants to escape from the extreme heat on the ground level. In the modern era, these kinds of traditional solutions to extreme weather were forgotten, as everyone began using air-conditioning and heating. Now that we are forced to look for low-energy solutions again, these traditional building practices offer a lot of opportunities. It was absolutely fascinating to see how inventive these people were when it came to ventilating and cooling their spaces using nothing but the wind and water available to them.
- What do you see as the major benefits of the Peerwith platform? What made you decide to offer your services on Peerwith rather than any other researcher service platform?
Other researcher service platforms either expect me to do a ton of work for very little pay, or they take a very high percentage of my payment. Peerwith has reasonable service terms, and I can agree directly with a client on a fee. Moreover, Peerwith provides a safe environment for me and the client, because they hold the payment for us. If one of us does not keep their end of the agreement, there is always a mediator that we can turn to (not that this has ever been necessary, mind you! All of my clients have been wonderful!).
- Is there anything you want to say to people who are hesitant about getting support, or advice to people who are considering using the Peerwith Platform?
I would of course say go for it! A second pair of eyes makes everyone’s work better, my own included. There is no such thing as an embarrassing paper; almost everyone’s first draft looks bad. Editors want to help you, and I really enjoy improving others’ work. So go ahead and post your request; I’m sure someone will be able to help you!