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The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: April 13, 2018

"If writing is your passion, write and don’t let anyone else convince you otherwise. You don’t need to quit your day job to do it. Create a realistic schedule and stick with it." ~Bindu AdaiThis week we begin with tips for academic book authors, insight into publishing an open access book, discussions on indexes, and the humbling experience of reviewing a copyeditor’s work on your manuscript. We then found insight into developing the narrative of a tenure dossier, social media concerns for academics and writers, issues of authorship abuse, the impact of article recommendation features, and the value of a master’s degree in Publishing. Finally, there were several industry news articles of note including a student’s perspective on Cengage’s efforts to promote Cengage Unlimited to professors, a win for publishers in a textbook counterfeiting suit, a new collaboration between VitalSource and McGraw-Hill, and changes in Top Hat’s OER Marketplace.

Bindu Adai said, “If writing is your passion, write and don’t let anyone else convince you otherwise. You don’t need to quit your day job to do it. Create a realistic schedule and stick with it.” As you head into a new week of writing, be encouraged by the other authors in and around TAA who share your passion for writing so that you may find greater success.

5 Tips for would-be academic book authors

The realities of academic publishing are changing rapidly, but many of us are still in fields and positions where book-writing is valued–and potentially valuable. Do you have favorite tips and strategies for writing the academic monograph?

Why I published an open access book

In two weeks, Springer Nature is participating in Academic Book Week: a global awareness event that aims to champion and showcase the evolution of academic books. Authors Prof. Owen Davies (History, University of Hertfordshire) and Dr. Roseli Pellens (Macroecology, Institut de Systématique, Evolution, Biodiversité, Paris), who are both participating in a panel discussion on 23 April, share their experiences of publishing an open access book.

How to make an index for your book or dissertation

The index is the elder sibling of the glossary, who has grown up, moved to the big city and started doing drugs. Anyone who has been asked to write one will tremble a little in their boots, at least the first time.

Let’s talk about the index

As a reader, I care a lot about indexes. A good index makes it so much easier for me to use a textbook or a reference book. Even if I’ve read a book thoroughly and taken notes as I went along, there’s almost bound to come a time when I want to look up something I remember reading but didn’t note down.

Copyediting is humbling

There is no more humbling experience in my life as a writer than reviewing the copyeditor’s work on a book manuscript. I almost said “humiliating” instead of humbling, but I’m trying to be kinder to myself, especially in the wake of spending a week in the presence of my errors.

Telling your tenure story

One way that my small private comprehensive university measures such community is by the presence of cohesion, or an integrated narrative thread, across the tenure and promotion dossier. At first, developing a narrative line through the dossier that seamlessly links the areas of teaching, scholarship and service seems like a difficult and unnecessary hoop to jump through.

Social media or blog? New dilemmas for academics & writers

News about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica comes on top of increasing unease with online privacy, hacking and tracking. What are the implications for academics and writers? (See my post on the Textbook and Academic Authors Association blog Abstract for more on this topic.)

Addressing a crisis of authorship abuse

It was always my understanding that those listed as authors made a substantial, direct, and intellectual contribution to the work. In the case of medical authorship, that meant contributing to the conception, design, acquisition of data, and actual writing of the article. This was plausible when 2 or 3 individuals authored scientifc papers, as was the case from the late 1600s until the 1920s. However, in today’s world, in which a paper written by 1 author raises red flags and multiple authors are the norm, how plausible is it that 20 authors substantially contributed to an article?

Do journal article recommendation features change reader behavior?

Unlike recommendations found on Facebook or Twitter, publishers have direct control over how article recommendations work on their primary platforms. For example, each article selected on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform includes three related articles, leading to hundreds of other recommended articles appearing on the platform. In these cases, article recommendations are contextualized within the research activity the user is actively engaged in – reading an article, not socializing – which can better fit into their immediate research workflow.

What is the value of a master’s in Publishing?

I find a Master’s in Publishing to be not only valuable to the individual, but also crucial to the success of our industry.  Historically, publishing may have been viewed as a trade profession, one which individuals learn by way of apprentice-style scholarship; but, should we continue to call publishing a trade profession? Do we pass down learning from teacher to apprentice? No, not anymore; and it’s fair to say there have not been apprenticeships in decades.

“You might want to tell your students about this:” Students as sales reps?

When Lauren Kalo bought her materials for classes this semester at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, she thought it was a one way transaction. This past January, she spent nearly $700 on textbooks and access codes, including a $105 access code from Cengage for her microeconomics class. In the process, Lauren signed an end-user license agreement (EULA) that gave the publisher the right to collect a host of personal and behavioral information. She wasn’t expecting that checked box to make her an unofficial spokesperson for the company.

Publishers win big in fake-textbook lawsuit

Publishers Wiley, Cengage, Pearson and McGraw-Hill Education have won a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against a seller of fake textbooks. Book Dog Books, a textbook-selling company, was last week found guilty of multiple counts of trademark and copyright infringement. The company was fined $34.2 million — thought to be one of the largest amounts ever awarded to publishers in a counterfeit-textbook case.

VitalSource joins with McGraw-Hill Education to make digital course materials more affordable for college students

The new agreement between the two companies will ensure McGraw-Hill Education’s adaptive, digital courseware, including McGraw-Hill Connect®, is available to hundreds of thousands of U.S. students through VitalSource’s “Inclusive Access” delivery method, which provides students with all required course materials seamlessly on the first day of class at affordable prices.

Top Hat’s OER platform just got a little more open

Top Hat, a Canadian edtech startup, hosts open educational resources (OER) on their platform. Today, the company has made their OER Marketplace freely available for use by any instructor and their students.