I’ve discussed previously how I don’t do freebies – that is to say additional unpaid academic work. However there are a few exceptions to this, I will for example do a review for a journal if its not for profit and in an exceptional circumstance will do one for the one of the mega-profitable journals if it helps a friend out.
Without repeating myself, saying no to freebies has turned out to be a great way of reducing my workload and simplify my decision making process. However… I often find that I have to explain my position on why I don’t do freebies.
So I’m introducing academic pro bono hours. Hours I’ll ‘donate’ outside what I’m actually paid for.
In many US states, Lawyers as part of their professional practice are required to do pro bono (or free) work to maintain their license. 50 hours per year seems to be the common number. As I am a generous person, I have set my academic pro bono hours to 75 hours per year.
Academic pro bono hours might covers:
- Doing reviews (for non-profit journal, I wouldn’t do freebies for multi-nationals)
- Reading speculative PhD proposals that people send me personally rather than via the University (which is part of my paid workload)
- Giving advise on grants and bids outside internal paid for work
- Advising small business and charities outside of links via the University (my own graduates sit outside of this and I’ll talk to them as much as they like).
By my calculation, I’ve already used up 15 hours this year doing reviews. As a rule of thumb, if someone else is getting paid, then either the University needs to get paid for my time or I need to get paid (within the limits of what I am allowed to be paid for personally).