Professional Ethics for Freelance Editor Jobs

There is no specified code of professional ethics in freelance editor jobs. A respectable code of ethics that portrays high morals will earn you respect in the field. Businesses often post the code on their websites so that prospective clients can feel connected with them through shared moral values. If the code of one of your clients is publicly available, you should always follow it. It is a more damaging to not follow a publicly available code than to not have a code at all.

Do Not Rewrite Academic Pieces

Freelance editor jobs may involve editing academic articles for students. It is not unethical to accept these jobs, but it is important that you try not to rewrite the material. Students learn to write better through seeing the mistakes they have made. Use the track changes feature of your word processing software so the students must read through your changes and make their own corrections.

Report Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a violation of copyright laws. Freelance editors should include reporting plagiarism in their code of ethics. This is a hard decision to make and may have a degree of personal judgment on the intent of the writer. The governing body that should receive the report of violation may depend on the purpose of the article and if the violator had intended to plagiarize. Ignorance of the law is not a defense and such an offender may still get charged to the full extent of the law if reported, but organizations deal with plagiarism differently.

Universities, for example, will often deal with it within their own administration. If you feel the writer may have done it inadvertently, express that you cannot edit the work without changes, including paraphrasing and proper citations if necessary. If it is obvious that the plagiarized work was created with full knowledge, you should report it to the proper authorities. Stating outright in contracts that you will report plagiarism may help you avoid being put in this situation.

Empty the Trash and Protect Files

The work freelance editors do is not their own, and they should take steps to make sure it is not reused by themselves or someone else without the author's permission. Freelance editors should state that files will be destroyed after a specified period of time and stick to that time period. Files should also be properly protected from intruders.

If It Feels Wrong, Do Not Do It!

Finally, using instincts will help fill in the blanks when it comes to professional ethics in freelance editor jobs. If something does not feel right about the job, refuse it. This may occur with material that is potentially offensive to readers, that may contain sensitive information with risk attached to knowledge of that information, or that may contain information that may be used for an illegal purpose.