What makes for a quality review? TAA members’ perspectives

In preparation for this week’s Peer Review Week theme of “Quality in Peer Review”, I decided to reach out to several members of our TAA community for insight into the peer review process from either the author’s perspective, reviewer’s perspective, or both. Regardless of the perspective, I asked for the answer to a single question, “What makes for a quality peer review process?” Eight TAA members share their insights: … [Read More]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 20, 2019

This week's collection of articles from around the web is laden with questions. How do I approach an inter-disciplinary thesis? I've passed my comps - now what? How do I plan my first draft and get the right stuff in the right order? What are the ethical issues of working with literature? How can I be a good peer reviewer? How do we support research engagement? How can I deal with the growing complexities of international collaboration? And the theme across Peer Review Week 2019, how many ways can you define quality in peer review? Ernest Hemingway once said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” As we come to the close of Peer Review Week 2019 it is fitting to remember that our peers are apprentices as well in this craft. None of us have all of the answers to the questions above or the countless others that face us as academic writers. We learn from each other and grow stronger in our writing and disciplines as a result. This week, embrace your … [Read More]

Crafting meaningful stories to bring research methods to life

Stories engage readers. We can use stories to show how the ideas or strategies we are discussing might play out in a particular social, cultural, or organizational context. I often write about research methods, and find that stories can help readers see how the pieces of a research design fit together. Stories can be presented in a fully-developed research case, or as an engaging example inserted within an article or book chapter. For my first research book, Online Interviews in Real Time, I thought it was important to include stories. Online methods were new and few robust descriptions were available that showed how they actually worked. I found six researchers who were doing interesting online research, and interviewed them. I crafted a section for each chapter called “Researchers’ … [Read More]

Safeguarding your scholarship in OA: What to look for and what to avoid

As open access publishing matures into an accepted (and in some disciplines, the standard) form of scholarly communication, it is more important than ever to be able to spot what Jeffrey Beall calls “predatory publications”, publications that accept article processing fees but fail to provide essential editorial services.  As academic librarians who have many years of experience helping faculty navigate this new landscape, we recommend using the following strategies for safeguarding your scholarship while pursuing open access options for your work. … [Read More]

10 Tips on getting writing started

Many academics find sitting down at the computer and starting to write to be one of the most difficult challenges facing them. One reason for this, as one of my students put it so well, “if I never start, then I never fail.” Other reasons include getting out of the habit of writing—or never having a writing habit at all. While tough to overcome, these obstacles do have some straightforward solutions. Here I share ten tips on getting your writing project started and moving it toward completion. … [Read More]

Why we write

Why are you writing? Next week is Peer Review Week which makes this a great time to discuss what may seem like a simple question. Perhaps all peer review (or all writing endeavors) should start with Why. To fully understand what drives your effort as a writer, ask yourself why you are embarking on writing that article, textbook, monograph, etc. Here are some reasons that I have heard in the past. … [Read More]

10 Classic and contemporary textbook features you may not be thinking about…but should

During his 2019 TAA Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Textbook Features You May Not Be Thinking About… But Should!”, veteran textbook author Kevin Patton shared details about both classic – not “old” – and contemporary textbook features for consideration when designing a learning experience for your readers. Starting with an exploration of the textbook as part of a learning experience for the student, Patton advised looking at the pain points, how they can be addressed, and what already works in the classroom. From there, it’s a matter of finding the right design elements to deliver the content in a meaningful way for the students using your book. Below are ten features for consideration. … [Read More]

Busy TAA People: Dave Dillon awarded Open Textbook Award

TAA member Dave Dillon has been awarded the Open Textbook Award for Excellence by the Open Education Consortium for his textbook, Blueprint for Success in College and Career. The book is designed to show how to be successful in college and career preparation, and focuses on study skills, time management, career exploration, health, and financial literacy. The Open Textbook Award for Excellence is presented to high-quality innovative teaching and learning materials openly available online for everyone to use, reuse, revise, remix and redistribute. The award is selected by the OE Awards Committee to recognize truly exceptional work in Open Education. "We applaud your dedication to openness, access, high quality and innovation shown by your work and vision," said Marcela … [Read More]

Dear Katy: Tips & strategies on setting boundaries

So many of the questions I am asked by my clients, colleagues, and friends boil down to boundaries. And no wonder, the world continually invents more ways for us to be connected across time and space all while our professional lives demand that we write, write well, and write quickly. To discuss this issue, I’ve rounded up a few questions about boundaries I’ve received to answer here, to both fulfill my lifelong goal to be an advice columnist (😉), and also to illustrate that boundaries are important for all of us, no matter our title, rank, or experience! Q: “I am a newly appointed chair of my department, and my manuscript is due at the end of 2019. I know that campus will not be a useful writing space for me, but I’m also not the best at writing at home, or in other spaces. How can I … [Read More]

Analog contracts in a digital world

College level textbooks and their publishers have been in the news a lot lately, with all of the major higher education publishers emphasizing a shift to a digital first market strategy. The vast majority of publishing agreements for established textbooks were written in a world where print books were the dominating market offering. As the world shifts, there are certain contractual provisions to be mindful of when evaluating one’s royalty statements and in negotiations over amendments. In reality, print sales still dominate, but publishers are trying to move away from the model, and the future of higher education materials is uncertain. … [Read More]

More Posts from this Category