The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: December 15, 2017

"Writing is something I do everyday. If I waited for inspiration, I'd never get anything done." ~Lawrence C. ConnollyHalfway through the final month of the year, as the fall semester comes to an end for academics, we’re often faced with a mix of emotions related to the satisfying end of one term, the upcoming holiday “break” ahead, and the new challenges that await in the new year. It can be a time of reflection, gratitude, stress, innovation, or a multitude of these and other feelings. Our selection of articles this week reflect all of them.

We begin with gratitude and praise for the family members, especially academic spouses, who support us throughout the year, and tackle the stress of stalls in our progress and ways to break through the doldrums. We then explore some of the concerns facing academic and textbook authors, such as predatory publishers and the consideration of e-books vs. physical textbooks. Finally, we share a number of posts related to innovation and moving forward on your writing projects including: the state of innovation in scholarly communication today, big data, interdisciplinary efforts, finding the gaps for grant funding opportunities, citing “grey literature” such as blogs, and new tools to support your research and collaboration efforts.

Although we hope you find inspiration from this collection to move forward in your own textbook and academic writing efforts, don’t wait for inspiration to get moving. As Lawrence C. Connolly says, “Writing is something I do everyday. If I waited for inspiration, I’d never get anything done.”

In praise of academic spouses

It’s almost Christmas time, when many of us have a bit of time with our families. It seems an appropriate place to pause and think about the myriad of ways that our families provide support for many of us.

Making your way through the doldrums

When your progress stalls before you have started to get to the core of your dissertation, how do you break through the stress and isolation? Victoria McGovern offers some suggestions.

When authors get caught in the predatory (illegitimate publishing) net

Are we losing good articles to predatory journals, with little recourse for unsuspecting authors? Or are authors becoming increasingly complicit and symbiotic in their relationships with illegitimate publishing entities with disregard for the greater good? Maybe it’s both.

Deciding between e-textbooks and physical textbooks: Pros and cons

With the growing popularity of electronic publishing, authors and publishers have moved towards creating e-book versions of traditional textbooks in order to satisfy a new audience of buyers. At first glance e-books seem like a good alternative to physical textbooks, but are they really worth it?

What is the state of innovation in scholarly communications today?

Depending on who you’re speaking with, you’ll hear a different perspective on the state of innovation in scholarly communications. Some judge the state of innovation by value creation (mostly monetary value), other assess the state of innovation by volume (how many innovations, start-ups, etc. there are), or scope (how broad is the potential impact on academics and other participants in the ecosystem), and still others judge innovation by how much is being invested. All of these perspectives fuel interesting discussions, but are we getting anywhere?

The case against the term paper

Students need to read more, talk about ideas and then write shorter papers more often, writes Deborah J. Cohan.

Putting big data to ‘good’ use

Those in favor of ushering in the “big data revolution” believe effective applications can enhance society and improve social policy, but others question the skills gap in the social sciences and point out that there are still challenges with data access limiting the potential for big data to be put to “good” use?

Recognising interdisciplinary expertise: Is it time we established the integration and implementation sciences?

Gabriele Bammer asks whether it might help to define the relevant expertise as a new discipline, one that recognises important skills such as the ability to combine knowledge from different disciplines, determine which disciplines and stakeholders have valuable perspectives, examine how elements of problems are interconnected, assess the likely consequences of critical unknowns, and use research to support evidence-based change. Integration and implementation sciences (I2S) would codify such knowledge and skills, proving especially valuable to teams tackling complex societal and environmental problems.

Mind the gap

There are much more interesting gaps than gaps in literature for grant funding: gaps between theory and practice, between knowledge and implementation, between understanding and acceptance.

Explain your terms – writing a journal article

That picky reviewer. They’ve questioned your words. Asked you to clarify. Suggested that you have things wrong. What’s that about?

Can I cite a blog post?

The question is not about whether you can cite blogs, but how and why. You have to decide with any publication, blog or not, their credibility and authenticity.  And you have to decide with any published source what you want to use it for.

Wiley helps scientific researchers get published with new interactive training program

Encapsulating the entire publishing process, the Wiley Researcher Academy is an important support tool, establishing the skills needed to successfully publish research, collaborate and mentor.

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