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The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: August 31, 2018

"Half of my life is an act of revision." ~John Irving“Half of my life is an act of revision.” Wise words from John Irving for all writers and ones that thread through our collection of posts this week.

We begin with discussions of how to manage multiple writing projects, interpret data visualizations, and use diary methods in qualitative research. We then share practical advice on successful publishing in journals, informed consent, fellowships, and balancing a PhD with a family. Closing out our list is the prediction that textbooks are here to stay, along with new resources including scholarly podcasts, open and interoperable annotation, YouTube videos, and open science tools.

Whether you are revising a manuscript or your writing craft this week, we hope that you will find value in some of the resources below. Happy writing!

Writing more than one thing at the same time – part one, connecting

There are three big issues related to creating some coherence* between the many things that are written at the same time. These are (1) connecting, (2) authoring and (3) managing. This post deals with the first of these.

Tips on interpreting data visualizations

As a reader, your goal is to understand, interpret, and reflect on the information represented in a data visualization and then infer new information based on that assessment. However, this can be difficult to accomplish if you are not familiar with data or statistics. To that end, below are some tips on how to interpret a data visualization including questions and information to consider.

Diary methods

Qualitative researchers choose diary methods for many good reasons. When participants record their observations or perceptions in the moment, we learn something different about their experiences than might be gained from other methods. Sometimes private reflections are more candid, and participants might feel more able to express themselves in a diary than in an interview.

Publishing advice from a journal editor

From this perspective, I can offer a few words of advice for authors preparing to submit a manuscript for in-depth review and publication. The first hurdle you must pass after submission is the editor who assigning manuscripts for evaluation to other staff editors or members of the academic board. Then, you must pass the hurdle of engaging the interest of the handling editor to have your manuscript go for in-depth peer review.

Informed consent resources – #MonthlyMethods August roundup

August’s #MonthlyMethods open resources were all about Informed Consent.  Throughout August we discussed the meaning of informed consent, the importance of identities in the field as a researcher, answered 7 important questions about informed consent, and looked at an example of what happens when informed consent is not executed properly.

Advice on fellowships

Fellowship applications are hard. They force you to stand alone. You are often applying early in your career, when you feel like you don’t have much to skite about. The temptation to puff yourself up is overwhelming – then you read back on it and it makes you want to vomit, just a bit. On the other hand, Fellowships allow you to stand out.

A PhD…plus four kids?!

People tend to look at you weird if you have four kids. And people tend to look at you weird when they find out you’re doing a PhD. So you can imagine that I have had a generous share of strange looks over the last few years.

Despite predictions of their demise, college textbooks aren’t going away

This article is different. As the author of book titled “The Textbook and the Lecture,” I’ve compiled a list of five reasons why I believe textbooks are here to stay:

Have content will travel: Author-interview podcasts for scholarly books

In an era when there is too little time and too much to read, the New Books Network (NBN) offers podcasts of author interviews that provide context for their work and connect readers to their books. Hosted by Amherst College Press, the NBN has grown rapidly. As an independent service, it aggregates the audience for scholarly books on a variety of specific subjects in a way that no single publisher could.

The time for open and interoperable annotation is now

The existence of an annotation standard, along with FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) principles, and Interoperability in particular, will finally make the widespread uptake of this technology possible in a scholarly context in a way that protects against vendor lock-in.

Generation Z prefers learning from YouTube, not books

A recent Pearson study found that a majority of Generation Z kids prefer learning from YouTube and videos rather than printed books. Nearly 60 percent of people aged 14 to 23 prefer YouTube as a learning tool, while 47 percent prefer printed books, according to the study. Fifty-five percent of them also said that YouTube has contributed to their education, the study found.

Mapping Open Science Tools

Using a generic view of the scientific workflow, I evaluated all open end-user tools or programs — as well as open information standards or other services — that facilitate the delivery of scientific knowledge. This meant looking at largely web-based applications, with or without download requirements. I took up a broad definition of “tools” to encompass both discipline-agnostic services as well as those that were discipline-specific, especially those with a focus on hard-science fields (see more in the Footnote below). I kept educational or advocacy initiatives as well as generic tools aside for purposes of this project, to enable a targeted focus on digital product development opportunities for science-driven software and services.