The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving edition: I’m still in shock that we are First Drafts Quotealready in the middle (now almost the end) of November. The Thanksgiving holiday is already next week, which means time to reflect on all the things we are thankful for this past year. Maybe you are thankful to have completed your dissertation, maybe your journal article got published, maybe you got your first post-doc position or gained tenure, maybe your textbook got published, or maybe you made progress on a writing project.

Whatever it is you achieved this year, be thankful for that. Call me nerdy, but one of the things I am thankful for this year is being able to do more blogging for TAA (writing has always been a way to express myself when words have failed me—something about it that I love). I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with overeating and lots of writing 🙂

The Habits of Highly Productive Writers
My favorite blogger is back again with this great—for lack of a better phrase—no b.s. piece, “The Habits of Highly Productive Writers”. Rachel Toor tells it like it is. If you want to be a productive writer you need to stop making excuses. Does it hurt to be brutally honest with yourself about your habits? Of course. But often it is necessary for this honesty to fully realize that you must change in order to really be successful. There’s even a link within her piece for a free download, “How Can You Fix Your Writing?”. A favorite fitness quote of mine is, “it doesn’t get easier you just get stronger.” Toor gives a similar quote for writing, “There are no tricks to make it easier, just habits and practices you can develop to get it done.”

Google Scholar is Filled with Junk Science
Jeffrey Beall has been at the forefront of building awareness and knowledge about predatory scholarly journals. This piece is interesting because it suggests that Google Scholar does not have high enough controls on what type of articles are archived in its database. After reading many of the sixty-five comments below Beall’s post, I’m left wondering how others feel about Google Scholar. Do you share in the concern expressed by Beall? Or, do you think the benefits of Google Scholar outweigh the negatives?

Can post-publication peer review endure?
Explored in this piece is an interesting look at the post-publication review and the ramifications that could result if this process is used. As I’m not an academic I can’t speak to whether pre- or post-publication review is best, but I think there is probably a place for both within the academia realm (as long as these are done professionally). As always, I’m curious how you feel about these processes and which you feel is most beneficial to the academic community.

Finding the right fit for your research: a Q&A with Ben Mudrak of Research Square

What is your process for selecting journals to which to submit your manuscript? How time consuming is that process? What if a tool existed in which you could enter in your title and abstract from a manuscript draft or specific keywords to find relevant target journals for submitting your article? According to Ben Mudrak, scientist and Strategic Accounts Manager at Research Square, JournalGuide will do just that. They’ve also introduced a “Verified” status for journals to help authors recognize reputable journals to publish in versus a potential predatory publisher.

Prioritize your Activities by Gain and Pain
With all the tasks you need to complete on your to-do list on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, life can often feel overwhelming. I found the concept of organizing these tasks by Gain and Preventing Pain to be an interesting one. (I even bought the book because I was so intrigued.) Are you doing enough Gain to-dos? Or are you focusing too much on the Preventing Pain? This article will help you answer those questions.

Typewriters and their owners: famous authors at work – in pictures
Sometimes you need to get off track to get back on track. So this week I’ve included a visual piece for you to momentarily distract yourself. If you’re like me at all, taking a break now and again to just let your mind wander is necessary in order to refocus on the project in front of you.

Happy writing!

About Libby Becker

Libby Becker is the Content & Community Manager for the Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA).