Singapore-based academic ghostwriting services are increasingly rampant, as reports by Channel News Asia and mothership.sg reveal in intimate detail. What these articles describe, apart from the low-level quality of the work commissioned, is that ghostwriting is illegal and representative of an underground black market.
What was particularly painful to read was the very skewed and biased reporting standards. By any standard, ghostwriting (wiki) is actually a perfectly legal profession that is pervasive in almost all nooks of society: ranging from autobiographies, journals, books, memoirs and speeches to medical, academic or religious journals, to more pop culture categories such as digital art, music, blogs, webpages and comics.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was paid to ghostwrite music for wealthy patrons! Think about the subtle underlying extent to which ghostwriting is intertwined with our society–who actually writes article content, terms and conditions acknowledgement forms and the instructions manual for any item you purchase!
Ghostwriters will often spend from several weeks to a full year researching, writing, and editing works for a client in order to create a piece of writing that is as representative of the client’s thought process and goals as possible.
Talentapestry’s writers have been meticulously selected and thoroughly vetted to be able to assume the voice and perspective and writing style of others, and to generate pieces of writing in a frame of mind and perspective that represents this alternate voice (read more about our freelance writers here). The writers have also been trained by years of writing in various specialized writing fields to be able to create stylistically appropriate content.
There are ghostwriting companies that sell entrance essays, term papers, theses and dissertations to students. Such services are sometimes offered by what is referred to as essay mills and transacted through two sided anonymous online interfaces. That is, both the clients and the writers are unknown, and the guarantee that work is plagiarism free is suspicious and unverifiable. What happens more often than not is a database of previously written work that is resold and resold over and over again. There is also the unknown element of who your purported writer is. There is a disconnect because the writers stand to profit short term by reneging on any writing contract as they are anonymous.
As opposed to cases of plagiarism that stem from a copy-and-paste reuse of previous work, essays and assignments that are obtained through ghostwriting services as a rule have the originality of their text confirmed by plagiarism detection software packages or online services that are widely used by universities.
Despite being considered unethical and leading to repercussions if detected by universities, academic ghostwriting does not represent illegal activity in the United States and United Kingdom (Professor turned ghostwriter story). It however, is less favorably looked upon in Singapore, and as a freelance writer marketplace, Talentapestry is pointedly against any illegal services.
Although ghostwriting academic essays involves the sale of academic texts that are written on demand, it cannot be equated with plagiarism, since it does not involve an undisclosed appropriation of existing texts. Ghostwriting in wider society is accepted as a form of convenience and a method of outsourcing manual work.
Universities have developed strategies to combat this type of academic services, detailed in the Channel News Asia article, which can be associated with academic fraud. If a student is unfamiliar with the content of an essay that he or she has submitted, then the student can be charged with academic fraud. However, academic ghostwriting is diametrically opposed to the illegal act of plagiarism, as is demonstrated by the widely accepted and applied practice of legal ghostwriting.