NASW completes 2022 Freelance Science Writer Compensation Survey

The National Association of Science Writers and its Freelance Committee have completed their latest survey of freelance science writer historical compensation. Conducted and reported by a third-party consultant, Gary Heebner of Cell Associates, the effort follows similar compensation survey efforts in 2014 and 2002.

NASW members can access the 2022 Freelance Science Writer Compensation Survey by using their member login at:

The 2022 effort was led by several NASW member volunteers: Jeff Hecht, chair of the compensation survey subcommittee of the NASW Freelance Committee; current Freelance Committee co-chair Sarah Scoles; committee member Jennifer Huber, who helped develop the survey and reviewed the results in detail; and former committee chair Kendall Powell, who served as an adviser. Esther Landhuis and Robin Meadows also contributed.

In designing this survey effort with Cell Associates, the Freelance Committee wanted to explore freelance science writing income from perspectives such as rates paid by different types of clients, hours worked, and average gross income. They also sought to assess how income changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, soliciting respondent’s historical data for both 2020 and 2021.

“It’s important for freelancers to have a view of the whole field of science writing, so they can make informed decisions about future work and career directions and understand their standing in the present landscape better,” said Sarah Scoles. “We hope it helps science writers plan their paths.”

Likewise, the study results will help inform future NASW programming and committee priorities. Among other feedback, NASW member freelancers expressed interest in accessing professional development resources on business management topics spanning insurance, networking, and legal advice.

NASW Freelance Committee members will be presenting select insights from the new report at the ScienceWriters2022 annual meeting in Memphis in October.

“I hope these survey results help inform and guide NASW members who work as freelancers or who are contemplating this kind of work,” said Jennifer Huber. “The survey is just one of the ways NASW is trying to support our freelancers. Being part of this supportive community has been critical to my career, especially during the pandemic when I had to retool my sole proprietor business.”

Disclaimer: The National Association of Science Writers, Inc. (“NASW”) supports practical measures meant to help freelancers build and sustain a thriving business, from compensation surveys that offer a historical look at the field to tip sheets on matters like how to approach contract negotiation. These measures are not intended to and should not be used by members to establish, suggest, or agree on prices or rates that are “too low" or “too high,” which is not permitted under NASW’s Antitrust Policy. In offering these educational resources to support our members, and in all our activities, NASW is committed to compliance with all applicable antitrust laws. NASW members are reminded that they must exercise their independent business judgment in pricing their services or products, dealing with their customers and suppliers, and choosing the markets in which they will compete. Antitrust laws stipulate that members may NOT agree with other NASW members or writers on prices or terms or on any other matter which is inconsistent with exercising their independent business judgment in pricing their services or products, dealing with their customers and suppliers, and choosing the markets in which they will compete. NASW members are always free to accept any assignment at any rate they choose. For further information, please see our Antitrust Policy, available here.

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