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The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: March 9, 2018

"I like my writing career and its progression, I'd rather be that slow moving tide that turns a mountain into a beautiful beach for all to enjoy, rather than a flash in a pan that yields no heat." ~Stanley Victor PaskavichStanley Victor Paskavich said “I like my writing career and its progression, I’d rather be that slow moving tide that turns a mountain into a beautiful beach for all to enjoy, rather than a flash in a pan that yields no heat.” There are a lot of aspects of writing careers – both textbook and academic – that seem to take longer than anticipated to reach fruition. In addition, over time the rules seem to continue to change – as do our individual goals as writers.

This process and progression is examined in the collection of articles from around the web this week. We examine the processes of pursuing a PhD, trusting your gut in academic writing efforts, the realities of faculty research, contract negotiation, and disclosure practices from an author’s perspective. We also explore systemic ideas related to affordability of course materials, glass ceilings, and stewardship as the publishing industry progresses. As you write this week, continue to write in a way that turns the mountain ahead into a beautiful beach for all to enjoy.

Is your PhD like a kaleidoscope?

I spent a good four months with my soon-to-be supervisor, honing ideas and research questions in order to get the project through the initial enrollment gate and, I thought, set out a road map to completion that would be clear and easy to follow. I’m now four years into a part-time doctoral degree, and what have I learned so far? That every time I reach for that next milestone, my perspective on the subject shifts. It’s like a kaleidoscope.

Academic writing – trust those gut feelings

The academic writing gut feeling. It’s a real thing. It isn’t about finding the writing hard, although that might also be true. It isn’t about being stuck. No. It’s that uneasy sense that the things that you’d planned to do actually might not be working … something is happening and you don’t know what it is …

The realities of faculty research

If professors do not conduct research, the colleges which require accreditation would serve no purpose and hurt the university. Faculty research helps the university keep its status as a productive educational environment.

Why and how to negotiate with academic book publishers

The academics I have met who write books seem to assume one of two things. The first assumption is that publishers are doing authors a favour by publishing their books. The second is that the royalties offered are a set figure. Both of these assumptions are wrong.

Should medical textbook authors have to disclose industry payments?

If you pose the question “Should authors of premier medical textbooks be required to disclose industry payments or patents?,” then an affirmative answer is to be found in a recent study published by the AJOB Empirical Bioethics. Unlike primary literature (like journals) along with clinical guidelines, it is not commonplace to include potential financial conflicts of interest (pCoIs) in biomedical textbooks.

University of Missouri system, McGraw-Hill Education expand access to affordable course materials

The University of Missouri System and learning science company McGraw-Hill Education today announced a new agreement that will increase student access to affordable course materials, lowering the cost of all McGraw-Hill Education electronic textbooks by an additional 38 percent to meet the university system’s definition of low cost. McGraw-Hill Education will offer its entire higher education eBook catalog through the university system’s AutoAccess program. The initial agreement gives students access to content purchased for five years.

Consolidation in academic publishing has a new target

Both strategy and opportunity have now moved into position for large scholarly and research publishers to consider acquiring college textbook publishers, which would reduce the number of publishers overall and result in much greater industry consolidation. The investment thesis centers on the “inclusive access” business model for textbooks and the place libraries are likely to play in facilitating the advance of that model.

Is there a glass ceiling in academic publishing?

Five years ago, Nature — one of the most prestigious research journals in science — published an editorial pledging to improve on the low number of women editors and authors in its pages. For many readers and scientists, that acknowledgement was a long time in coming. Yet with the hindsight of today’s re-examination of the treatment of women at all levels of society, the editorial could seem almost prescient.

A guide to good OER stewardship

Concerned about commercial publishers profiting from open educational resources, a group of advocates wants organizations and individuals that benefit from OER to think about giving back.