The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: April 27, 2018
According to Bangambiki Habyarimana, “Writing a book is burning your brain to enlighten another man’s mind.” Our collection of articles from around the web this week begins with thoughts on writing book chapters, publishing expectations on the tenure track, and advice on growing a platform to land a book deal. We then explore the existence of bad writing advice and the consequences of bad research practices. Finally, we explore the ongoing impact of ed tech, the potential affect of automation in research, a new digital homework platform from FlatWorld, and a three-pronged approach to fighting digital piracy.
As you enter this new week of writing, approach your practice with integrity and innovation that serves to enlighten the minds of your readers.
As with all academic writing intended for publication, book chapters are likely to be peer reviewed individually, and the typescript of the whole book is also likely to be reviewed. (The proposal will have been reviewed, too, before being accepted by the publisher.) So be prepared for edits, proofs etc to come your way. You may also be asked to review a chapter by another author, as sometimes book editors and commissioning editors get around the difficulty in finding reviewers by having their chapter authors review other chapters. Overall, there will be more work than just the writing.
I recently ran a poll about publishing expectations on the Tenure Track, trying to see how many papers TT scholars are expected to publish per year. Whereas in Delft, the expectation is about 2 per year, I’ve heard (horror) stories about much larger pressure too. The “more than 10” category certainly seems very high, but for some that seems to be the standard.
Book deals for nonfiction business advice authors are getting more and more rare. If you want to get published by a big name traditional publisher like Penguin or McGraw-Hill you are going to need an author’s platforms. Editors at the big publishing houses in NYC tell me they don’t want to look at a book proposal for an author unless that author has a great platform. Agents don’t want to talk to you unless you have a great platform.
There’s some very bad writing advice out there. Most of it is well-intentioned. Most doesn’t aim to make profit from anxious writers. But unfortunately readily available writing advice is not uniformly good.
Pavuluri, a professor of psychiatry, strayed from the approved guidelines and abandoned safety precautions written into the study protocol, according to a November letter from the NIMH to the university in which the agency said it had determined that there was wrongdoing and demanded the repayment.
Hello and welcome to Teaching, a weekly newsletter from The Chronicle of Higher Education. This week, Beth reflects on what the latest strategies of ed-tech companies could mean for professors. Then Beckie distills some new research on high-impact practices, shares readers’ advice for limiting digital distraction, and asks what book changed the way you teach. Let’s begin.
As a researcher, it can be tempting to ignore the current hysteria about automation. I’ve had a bit of a “not my circus, not my monkeys” attitude myself. Perhaps whole industries will disappear, our taxis will become self driving and our fast food outlets staffed by robots, but research work? I like to think research takes genuinely human talents of creativity, curiosity, wisdom and even empathy and emotion (as much as we don’t like to admit it). To replace our work with machines will be difficult, expensive and time consuming… or will it?
“Many college textbook publishers offer digital homework platforms, but what’s astounding is that just about all of them are charging students exorbitant prices for access, in addition to the incredibly high costs of the textbooks themselves,” said Alastair Adam, Co-CEO of FlatWorld. “Our aim is to not only publish the most affordable high-quality college learning materials, but to offer a superb homework platform that complements our textbooks at no additional cost.”
Any article today regarding digital piracy of scholarly literature needs to start with the most egregious threat: Sci-Hub. As many readers know, there have been numerous articles written not only in The Scholarly Kitchen about Sci-Hub, but also for the broader public interest, including in The New York Times, Science Magazine, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. These articles discuss how Sci-Hub works, the various perspectives of use, the impact it is having on copyrighted content, its popularity, and even comparisons to Napster. Regardless of your viewpoint on these and other issues surrounding Sci-Hub and similar sites, I can sum it all up with one straight fact – it’s illegal.