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The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: February 23, 2018

"Writing is amazing! When I write I am empowered by my thoughts, entertained by my imagination, and enlightened by my wisdom." ~Theresa LewisIn this week’s collection of noteworthy articles from around the web, we share discussion on stuck points and writer’s block, identifying when enough is enough, and a focus on writing for the reader. Additionally, there are tools and resources on open textbook self-publishing, open access technology options, publishing options for early career researchers, and instruction and datasets on focus groups. Finally, we find discussions on the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), university presses, and the continued life of print publishing.

Theresa Lewis said, “Writing is amazing! When I write I am empowered by my thoughts, entertained by my imagination, and enlightened by my wisdom.” As you write this week, be empowered, entertained, and enlightened so that your words can empower, entertain, and enlighten those who read them.

PhD stuck points

The good news is that PhD stuck points are generally only a temporary change of pace,  even if they seem interminable at the time. That’s because these are points where really serious thinking time, and a lot of playing around with possibilities, are needed.

Write your way out

Most graduate writers who are struggling with their writing are actually struggling with their thinking. That isn’t just a semantic quibble: it matters that we grasp what exactly is inhibiting our writing processes. When we diagnose ourselves as having writer’s block, we can start to believe that we aren’t currently able to write.

When is it ‘enough’?

While most PhD problems have solutions – a pep talk, a whiteboard diagram, a book or suggestion for a new strategy – others don’t. The hardest, most intractable PhD problem-theme is how do I know when it’s enough?

Write for your readers

When I’m teaching writing to doctoral students and early career academics, I tell them over and over again to think of their readers. Figure out who your audience is, I say, and make life easy for them. That gives great value to your work. Whether you’re writing for supervisors and examiners, or journal editors and reviewers, or commissioners and service users, or commissioning editors and the general public, the same rule applies. The easier you can make your readers’ lives, the more they will value and use your work.

B.C. Campus Open Education:  Open Textbook Self-Publishing Guide

B.C. Campus Open Education:  Open Textbook Self-Publishing Guide is a practical reference/development tool for individuals or groups wanting to write and publish an open textbook. This guide provides details on the preparation, planning, writing, and publication of an open textbook as well as the importance of editing and proofreading, Copyright, open copyright licenses, and the differences between citation and attribution are discussed.

Open access technology options

Although many societies and associations offer hybrid options within their journals, launching a fully open access journal, or “flipping” an existing journal to fully open access, presents an organization with questions, challenges, and opportunities. The breadth of the decisions to be made cover a wide range of activities from editorial selectiveness to pricing models to process and technology choices, and more.

Giving a voice to early career researchers

In 2015, a small group of emerging researchers — mostly recent graduates from the University of Melbourne — came together to create Lateral, an online magazine written and edited by early-career scientists.

Focus groups: How-to + practice datasets

Ever thought about conducting a focus group? Wonder how to analyze data you collect? This month’s free method’s dataset from SAGE is: Analysing Focus Group Data: Higher Education Lecturers and Their Thoughts on Seminars.

A failure to COPE: One academic’s experience with the Committee on Publication Ethics

As an ethics body, COPE’s first loyalty is to ethics. But as a membership body, its first loyalty is to its members. Since individual scholars who approach the Committee on Publication Ethics will always do so in relation to the actions of one of its members, COPE will always be conflicted. And scholars will not know whether to trust its actions and judgments.

Institutional alignment: The university press redux

Regardless of whether you publish in or from the UK, the recurrent theme of institutional alignment in university presses has never been more important. It seems absurd to suggest that a press might adjudge its raison d’être to be one thing and a President/Vice-Chancellor to think it another, or worse still not to realize it has one at all.

Publisher’s story shows that pulp is not dead

Digital books peaked three years ago, at about 20 percent of sales, compared with about 80 percent for print and audible, he said. Digital’s share has since declined to about 15 percent of sales.