How to publish an article in an academic journal: Avoid rookie mistakes

publishingI have reviewed an insane amount of articles this past year and have noticed that many of these articles should never have been sent out for review, because they were missing key components.

The authors of these articles thus waited three months for someone to tell them that they do not have a clear argument, that there is no literature review, or that they need to describe their ethnographic methods. Sometimes they waited this long or longer only to hear other fairly generic advice.
I frequently am in the process of submitting an article to a journal. As such, I was inspired to write this article both to make sure that I practice what I preach, and to offer some examples from my own writing that might be useful as you prepare your own article. This article is primarily directed at authors of empirical social science articles, but I believe the main points may be applicable to other fields as well. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: January 23, 2014

This week’s most useful posts are a great mix ofbook aisle quote academic, grant, and textbook content—plus a few “fun” pieces. Each week I roam the internet, from Google searches to Twitter feeds, to find articles that I think you all would be interested in. My hopes are that you find at least one or two every week that are helpful to you and your writing. This week is no different other than I have a favor to ask of you (I rarely ask for favors!). If you have a favorite scholarly, academic, or textbook writing blog, share the title or link in the comments section below. Even though I roam the internet there’s still more great bloggers and content out there. To bring you the best content I need your help in finding those hidden gems (a.k.a bloggers)!

Happy writing! [Read more…]

The nuts & bolts of writing a book review

textbook stackAs a scholar and a writer, I am surrounded by books. I buy books at conferences. I buy books online.  A stack of books grows on my desk, and even finds its way onto any horizontal surface in my living room.  I identify them from reading the reference list of journal articles. I get recommendations from peers.

One of the services I can provide my peers is to write a book review on one of my most recently purchased books. A review serves to help my colleagues decide whether or not they wish to read the book. [Read more…]

Tip of the Trade: Be strict about the type of editing that is suitable for each stage of the revision process

Tips of the Trade ImageAdvice about academic writing often stresses the iterative nature of the writing process; the creation of an effective final draft generally requires multiple drafts and extensive revision. A crucial corollary to a commitment to extensive revision is an acceptance that revision mustn’t be allowed to go on indefinitely. Otherwise, a certain mania can set in: any draft can always be other than it is. After a certain point, we have to ask ourselves about diminishing returns and about the very real possibility of messing up what is already working. [Read more…]

How to establish author order when collaborating with multiple authors

collaborateWhen multiple authors collaborate to write a journal article, the task of determining authorship order inevitably arises. In some situations, the order may be obvious, but in many cases, it can be difficult to decide, and having a plan in place to establish author order can help the process go more smoothly.

Collaborating authors are usually listed in order of the relative size of each author’s contribution to the article, but sometimes it can be a challenge to gauge the size or importance of each author’s contributions. One way of facing this challenge is to take a mathematical approach to determining each author’s contribution, and thus author order. For example, Christine Beveridge and Suzanne Morris, the authors of the July 25, 2007 Nature article entitled “Order of merit,” recommend using a multi-criterion decision making approach, which involves the following steps: [Read more…]

Anatomy of a thriving faculty academic writing program

Dannelle Stevens, Ph.D., Portland State University

Dannelle Stevens, Ph.D., Portland State University

What does it take to spark faculty imagination and engender faculty commitment to academic writing? Over the last three years, through the use of research-based strategies, the Jumpstart Academic Writing Program at Portland State University (PSU) has had remarkable success.

The key features include attention to both the text as well as the context of academic writing. The text, of course, is what is ultimately written and submitted for publication. The context, on the other hand, includes opportunities to practice organizational, social, and even creative strategies that foster insight into current practice and boost motivation to change.

The purpose of the program is certainly to increase productivity as well as to help faculty build a solid foundation of new writing practices that lead to a more satisfying and sustainable writing experience in the long run. [Read more…]

Forming a publisher relationship: 3 Steps for submitting your project

high stack of booksIn the first installment of this three-part series, “Forming a publisher relationship: The acquisitions editor”, I provided a perspective on the typical acquisitions editor, also called product manager. Now that you have a sense for this audience, how do you successfully connect with higher education publishers and make it easy for them to understand your project’s value?

Step 1: Target the Right Publishers. Think about your own experiences as a customer and what’s important to you as an author. Among the questions you might explore are: [Read more…]

Featured Member: Supporting a thriving faculty writing program

Janelle Voegele, Ph.D., and Dannelle D. Stevens, Ph.D.,

Janelle Voegele, Ph.D., and Dannelle D. Stevens, Ph.D., Portland State University

As Director for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment in the Office of Academic Innovation at Portland State University (PSU), Janelle Voegele provides strategic direction for educational development programming and campus activities that explore and promote excellence in teaching and learning, encourage practices that respond to changing college environments, and support multiple dimensions of faculty life and work. Janelle has a doctorate in Educational Leadership and has won two student-nominated teaching awards while at PSU.

[Read more…]

How to find and work with an illustrator

artist pallete 1 (2)Illustrations are an important part of many textbooks and peer reviewed papers because they can help explain concepts in ways that photographs can’t.

According to Joanne Haderer Muller, a board certified medical illustrator and Chair of the Board of the Association of Medical Illustrators: “Illustrations have many advantages over photographs. For example, illustrations can show readers an average, rather than a specific, example of a concept, procedure, animal, or anatomical arrangement. They can show detail that may be lost or hidden in a photograph, can help explain things at a molecular or cellular level, and can show how a process unfolds over time to really explain the author’s message.”

[Read more…]

Copyright: Why a memorialized record of good faith matters

copyright collage artThere are few absolutes or bright lines when it comes to copyright matters. So much is left to the judgment of the court or jury in a copyright infringement case, the boundaries so amorphous, the tests so subjective, that ensuring that you are more sympathetic than the plaintiff can go a long way toward moving the case one way or another.

The threshold question of the copyrightability of plaintiff’s work, the credibility assigned to any given copyright registration, the application of the four-factor test for fair use, the [Read more…]