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Cactus Communications Freelance Medical Editor Reviews

Updated 5 Sep 2016

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3.2
82%
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Cactus Communications Co-Founder and CEO   Abhishek Goel (no image)
Abhishek Goel
0 Rating
  1. Helpful (7)

    "Freelance Medical Editor"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    Freelance Medical Editor in Leeds, England
    Recommends
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cactus Communications

    Pros

    +Can pick work to fit own schedule +Normally sufficient assignments +Staff generally quick to get back to queries +Simple online system to monitor all assignments +Payments given regularly +Reasonable earning potential (I've earned about $2,500 per month on average)

    Cons

    -Quality of the assignments can vary massively with no difference in the renumeration -Assignments are score on a four-point scale and are used to assess the quality of a freelancer's work. This is applied inconsistently, sometimes refers to assignments that you have not worked on, and rarely takes into account the level of the effort required for the original assignment. -Customer feedback-based productivity bonus. If you have any negative feedback then you're no longer eligible for a bonus. The negative feedback does not have to be justified and is often not related to the quality of the editing but the success of the author in having their article accepted for publication.

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  2. Helpful (1)

    "Good"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Freelance Medical Editor in London, England
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cactus Communications for less than a year

    Pros

    Good way of getting some editing experience. I have had feedback on every piece of work so far.

    Cons

    I haven't had very much work at all. Not feasible as a full time job.

  3. Helpful (11)

    "High expectations, low salary"

    1.0
    Former Freelancer - Freelance Medical Editor 

    I worked at Cactus Communications for more than a year

    Pros

    Cactus demands the very best from their freelancers. Most of the feedback from their reviewers is constructive, and you will become a better editor in the long run. If you are looking to start a freelance career, this can be a good place to get your feet wet and hone your skills before moving on to an organization with a better pay rate.

    Cons

    Most of the manuscripts are written by authors who are not native English speakers and therefore require an incredible amount of editing. Given the lower rate that Cactus pays, I sometimes made less than minimum wage on a manuscript. If an author has questions about your edits, you are required to provide comprehensive answers and you receive nothing additional for providing this service.

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  4. Helpful (13)

    "Unrealistic Expectations for Contract Work"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Current Contractor - Freelance Medical Editor 
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at Cactus Communications for less than a year

    Pros

    The work is flexible, intellectually engaging at times, and can be done from home remotely. One learns quite a bit in the process. Managing editors are fairly responsive.

    Cons

    They seem to treat contractors as if they are employees, but without any of the attendant benefits - chiding you if you turn down an assignment, requiring reasons for unavailability or rejecting an assignment, and attempting to dock your pay after an agreed-upon fee if the work fails to conform to persnickety client standards. Also, some assignments are in such bad shape that no amount of editing can rescue them, and one spends hours in the attempt, only to be given a low assessment, which affects future pay. This does not provide a great incentive for contractors, particularly since high performance (other than sheer volume) does not positively influence pay. While some assignments are relatively straightforward, no distinction is made between those and the ones that are virtually indecipherable, and work on the latter brings pay scale to below minimum wage in most cases. They are quick to scold in the event of error, but slow to praise or reward for success, and in a freelance situation, where there is no career advancement possible, this is not a sustainable model, IMO. The freelance editors generally must be quite talented to perform to expected levels, but they are managed like they work in a sweatshop. If the labor pool is unskilled, this can work out, but educated, high-performing workers have many other options, particularly now in an improving economy.

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  5. Helpful (13)

    "Poor pay; Demands for "High Quality" with little to no Guidance"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Freelance Medical Editor in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cactus Communications for less than a year

    Pros

    Freelance work, able to set own hours, relatively steady flow of assignments

    Cons

    When I started at Cactus, I was told that every beginning editor with the company was given an "orientation" to the house editing style and expectations for the freelance worker. I was never given such an orientation. Assignments were thrown my way and despite putting in hours of time and returning quality work, I was repeatedly given lower and lower grades for the assignments, which of course affects the pay scale. I was given little guidance as to what I was doing "wrong", other than being told, "sorry, we wouldn't word our sentences that way." Having been born, raised and educated in the English language and being a professional in the medical field, I find it hard to believe that my command of the English language is as sub-par as I was being told. However, if an editor repeatedly is given a poor grade, he is paid less accordingly, and I suppose that makes sense from the standpoint of a company's economics. It's a shame, I did enjoy editing the scientific articles I was given. Despite putting in hours of work for little pay and trying to satisfy company requirements I was never given, I received an email out of the blue that my account was being deactivated. Very unprofessional, and after reading several other reviews on this site that ring similarly to mine, I can't imagine this company to persist very long into the future.

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  6. Helpful (25)

    "Not ideal for experienced medical editors."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Freelance Medical Editor 

    I worked at Cactus Communications for less than a year

    Pros

    I was impressed at the company's hiring process. I had to submit my resume like a standard job application. I had to take a copy editing test and provide samples of publications I had worked on. The screening process required me to prove that I was qualified to copy edit medical documents. The screening process was very organized and they appeared to have high standards on who they hired. I was sent consistent work.

    Cons

    I worked for Cactus as a freelance medical editor. I did not freelance for them long. For one, pay is determined according to the word count in a document, not by how many hours it takes to edit the document. This is a significant issue when manuscripts are generally poor quality and require an extensive amount of time to edit them thoroughly. The pay is incredibly low (less than minimum wage) when you do the math. Cactus expects you to be available to freelance constantly. If you tell them you can edit 10 hours a week, they will send you invitations to edit constantly. If you decline an invitation on Tuesday, the next day, you will be invited to edit gain. When you decline a couple times, or select dates of unavailability, you will be sent emails asking "Do you want to continue working for us?" and “We are concerned at your lack of availability” as though being a freelancer for them obligates you to be at their service constantly. I only freelanced for the company for a couple months. The shockingly low pay in addition to the relentless requests to freelance made me quickly realize that Cactus is desperate for good freelancers but cannot keep them because the pay and quality of work is so poor. If you are an experienced medical editor, I recommend going elsewhere for work.

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