The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: January 12, 2018
“Most writing doesn’t take place on the page; it takes place in your head.” says Susan Orlean. This week’s collection of articles is full of resources to improve those internal processes that move your writing forward. Beginning with advice on how to improve your writing practices, considering what types of case studies get published, new approaches by textbook companies, and tips for promoting self-published book series, we open ourselves up to new ideas in the writing industry. With that open mind, we continue to see trends in Open Access, the need for new approaches to style guides, the impact of libraries on the adoption of OER, and the future of the OA megajournal. Finally, we close our list this week with an invitation to an open house hosted by SAGE Research Methods in February and early March.
As you approach your writing this week, open yourself up to new ideas, new practices, and new ways of thinking and be sure to get some of that writing out of your head and onto the page as well.
The amount of bad writing advice out there is astounding. People who have never published anything selling courses on how to make a career as a writer. Terribly written Medium articles telling you how to improve your prose. Marketing books from writers who not only haven’t sold many books — but their own marketing books don’t sell. All this bad advice adds up and makes a harder thing — an already difficult industry to navigate — even harder.
Published advice can be helpful. But it often portrays the research-and-writing process as neutral and predictable, and it hardly takes into account the pitfalls and mishaps that can affect whether, and how soon, you finish. Yet it’s also a mistake to view the dissertation — as many students do — as a challenge so cryptic and clouded in ambiguous idealism that it seems insurmountable.
Case studies emerged as the most popular type of qualitative research published in SAGE journals in 2017. After that broad-brush assessment, I wondered what types of case studies, researchers were conducting and how they defined them. Did they use Robert Yin’s (2014) categories for case study types: single or multiple, holistic or embedded case designs (p. 50)? Did published researchers conduct descriptive, explanatory, or exploratory cases as Yin defines them? Or did they discuss one of the nine case approaches described by Malcolm Tight (2017)?
Professors assign textbooks (or other materials) that they view as required to succeed in their courses, but some students say they go in with a wait-and-see attitude: They delay a week or two into the semester, and then obtain only the materials that seem truly necessary to them.
For publishers and authors, most standard promotion and marketing campaigns are geared toward pushing sales of a new, stand-alone book. But what if the book you’re releasing is the fifth novel in an ongoing series? How do you generate interest in a new release if that interest is predicated on the buyer having already read the entire backlist? Self-Publishing Relief has the answer: Toss out the usual protocol—and promote the series itself.
In the year 1610, Galileo observed a ring-like shape around a distant planet (Saturn). After realising the significance of his discovery, Galileo wanted to record it to be able to claim it as his own contribution once it was announced. To do that, he wrote a letter to a colleague stating the following: “smaismrmilmepoetaleumibunenugttauiras”. That meaningless text was Galileo’s encoding of what he really wanted to say: “Altissimum planetam tergeminum observavi”, which translates to: “I have observed the most distant planet to have a triple form”. At the time, encoding was the only way scientists could guarantee no one stole their findings.
Awareness of open educational resources is slowly increasing, per a new report last month from the Babson Survey Research Group. For many faculty members, though, finding OER remains a daunting assignment.
Many current academic citation and referencing practices are out of date and dysfunctional, especially in leading only to closed-access and paywall sources, or in providing only details of ‘legacy’ print formats. The central principles of this Digital Style Guide are that 1 All citations/ references should lead wherever possible to a digital text, database, or other information source….
Textbook publishers typically deploy sales reps to campuses to convince professors to adopt their titles. But who makes the pitch for free or low-cost alternatives to textbooks known as OER, or open educational resources? Increasingly, the answer is the campus library.
Have I got your attention? Good. Let’s start with a thought experiment.
Elsevier publishes or helps to publish (through arrangements with society publishers) about 2,500 journals. Let’s imagine a world where Elsevier does not exist. In this hypothetical world every one of these journals is independently published. Thus 2,500 journals means 2,500 publishers. In that world, would the cost of these journals be higher or lower than the cost today (IRL — in real life), where Elsevier indubitably does exist and publishes a huge portfolio?
On June 1st, 2011, Peter Binfield, then publisher of PLOS ONE, made a bold and shocking prediction at the Society of Scholarly Publishing annual meeting: “I believe we have entered the era of the OA mega journal,” adding, “Some basic modeling predicts that in 2016, almost 50% of the STM literature could be published in approximately 100 mega journals…Content will rapidly concentrate into a small number of very large titles. Filtering based solely on Journal name will disappear and will be replaced with new metrics. The content currently being published in the universe of 25,000 journals will presumably start to dry up.”
Visit SAGE Research Methods with a special Open House log-in from February 1 to March 18. You will discover an extensive collection of articles, chapters, e-books, cases, and videos. You will have access to everything from the most basic definitions to the newest thinking about qualitative, quantitative & mixed methods research.