The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: August 17, 2018

"Writing is its own reward." ~Henry MillerFor many of our readers, the academic school year is back in session (or soon will be) and, as a result, our academic writing efforts may be rekindled or, in some cases, complicated by the schedule the academic calendar brings. If the summer “break” has derailed your writing efforts, the first two articles in our collection may provide advice for getting things back on track as you establish a new routine.

If, however, routine isn’t the challenge, perhaps one of the other topics in this week’s list offers guidance. Covered below are topics of compensation for research efforts, OER opportunities in textbook publishing, academic challenges in the Global South, gender gap in citations, and predatory publishing. No matter the challenge you may face this week, remember the opportunity that exists when you write and the reason behind your efforts. As Henry Miller said, “Writing is its own reward.” This week be rewarded and happy writing!

Dear mentors: Summer sucked. Now what?

Feeling guilty and bummed that you weren’t more productive over the summer? Kerry Ann Rockquemore and Anthony Ocampo provide advice for moving ahead successfully in the new academic year.

Is your PhD stuck on Mars? Apply the martian method

‘Hello!’ to anyone who’s stuck in their PhD. I feel for you. As I write, I’m half-way through my PhD program, and I’ve been stuck too. I’m out the other side now, but it’s made me think: a PhD and Mars have a lot in common.

You don’t own me – authorship and other problems

The very least that researchers can do when employing others to do research is to estimate the job properly. Don’t expect the prospective researcher to scope your job for free. Pay for the research support with realistic hours. And ACKNOWLEDGE authorship in the publication!

Seeking a middle ground between publishers and OER

By giving instructors the tools to easily create and sell their own content, Top Hat has created an intriguing new course content creation model — one industry observers say they are watching closely. Like a typical commercial publisher, Top Hat helps authors sell textbooks and takes a cut of the revenue. But unlike a typical publisher, Top Hat is happy for instructors to give away their work free and enables the creation of open educational resources, freely accessible and openly licensed learning materials designed to help drive down students’ costs.

Challenges for academics in the Global South – resource constraints, institutional issues, and infrastructural problems

Academia is a global network of institutions, people, and projects, and the production and circulation of academic knowledge is a globalized concern and goal. However, many scholars face particular challenges because of their locations. Here I expand on a recent discussion I had on Twitter about the problems scholars based in the Global South face, and the solutions my colleagues and I have come up with.

Understanding the extent of gender gap in citations

Research into the gendered citation patterns of academics has confirmed what many have long suspected — that male authors tend to cite other men over women in their article bibliographies. But such underlying biases can apply even in a journal with a majority of female authors, and may spread to papers co-authored by women with men, the work suggests.

Revisiting: Six years of predatory publishing

Predatory publishing has been on our radar for quite a while now, but mainstream media coverage and awareness is rapidly intensifying. We have perhaps finally reached a point where the damage being done to the credibility of research may be enough to move the stakeholders involved — universities, funders, and publishers, to finally take some action. Just what that action will be is unclear — like most of our lingering problems, if there was an easy solution, it would have happened long ago. In light of the increasing debate, I thought it worth revisiting some of our coverage of predatory publishing over the years.