I am a researcher in engineering. I made my PhD at the Imperial College in London, so I had to go through the highly illuminating process of writing a thesis of 65000 words good enough to satisfy two people, plus my supervisor (Not Queen English perhaps, but at least Good enough English).
Now, a story:
Say you have gone through a cumulative-experience period of this type, and you continue in the field and write and article from your research, and you find that despite all the effort you put in the writing, there are some sentences that have typos, slight confusions, wrong word order, etc. Minor things, not that relevant perhaps, but say... slightly annoying to find (depending on the day of the revisor, I suppose). The revisors of the article you have sent to the specialised Journal, with their infinite wisdom, ask you to revise it.
But guess what?, you have limited funds to pay a professional proof reader, or your boss considers it is unnecessary, or is really a hassle to go through the paper work to pay and explain why you are paying X amount of money to that person, or choose any other reason for not being fortunate enough to be able to pay for such services.
So, the idea is making a group of people who would be willing to exchange time for time. You check sometime for me during half an hour, and I do the same for you.
Sound good, doesnīt it? but letīs face it, the idea of a proofreading exchange, although romantic, is not that easy. A major problem here is that the efficiency of the job depends of the characteristics and level of English for each person and the quality of the original text. Keeping this in mind, and intending to make things fair enough, a similar level of English should exist between those involved in the exchange, and the intention is to have just a revision of the final final (really final) document.
Right now, 2011, I have an article of the characteristics mentioned above (that was the origin of this idea). So, anybody willing to start with this exchange, please contact me (I would do a similar reading in return). if some time has passed, contact me any way, I intend to continue writing articles!. The idea is getting back to the origins, where money was not all. Regarding the level of English, I have written this in one go, straight forward with the aide of office word, to have an idea. Since my intention is mainly to detect those slight grammatical errors you are not able to see, rather than a technical revision, any person with sufficient level of English would be good enough.
Any doubt, please let me know!.
A few comments:
Multiple proofreadings might be advisable in such a system, which would put a pressure on time
What happens when a non-native speaker corrects something incorrectly to another non-native speaker?
What happens when people are reading texts in areas they are not specialised in?
How would you deal with the problem of people not reciprocating?
I don't want to sound negative as I think there's the germ of a good idea here, but I have taught post-graduate students and think there are some issues that might need ironing out for it to work effectively.