The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: September 21, 2018

"Writing enlarges the landscape of the mind." ~V.S. PritchettIt’s hard to find a common theme among this week’s collection of articles and posts from around the web, but serendipity seems to call upon a relevance to each week’s “Monday motivation” quote (shared across TAA’s social media channels) on the collection of articles that follow in the coming days, and this week the theme that emerges seems to be on expanding ideas. Enlarge your mindset. Think bigger!

As perhaps the exception in our list, one of the articles focuses on reduction of content, however the larger goal of the post seems to be on expanding opportunity through successful funding applications as a result of the space saving tips it shares. Also making the list this week are ways to expand our thoughts about writing and revision; to expand our identity through self-identification of our roles and critical and creative thinking; to expand our reach through textbook authoring, open access, and conversion of doctoral work into books; and even a call for contributors to expand their impact through a meta-project focused on the UN’s sustainable development goals. Wherever your writing projects lead you this week, keep in mind the words of V.S. Pritchett who said, “Writing enlarges the landscape of the mind.” Happy writing!

Has ‘Write Daily’ become dogma

‘Write daily’ is received academic wisdom, hard-wired into writing workshops and training programs worldwide. It has shaped the support given to PhDs and early career researchers and the advice publishers dole out to struggling authors. But has ‘daily writing’ become dogma? Is it really the only way to get your writing nailed?

Required: Did your professor write your textbook?

For students in almost any field, this can be the case — the professor not only wrote a textbook, but requires it for their class. To some, it might seem wrong for a professor to use their authority in the classroom and profit from the sale of a book, with potential concerns for bias in their own books and withholding the opportunity for students to read other texts on the subject.

The challenges of revision

Revision is not something that most of us look forward to. The prospect of revision can be very daunting. Tiring. Scary. Frustrating. We wrote the text and now we are being told – or we can see for ourselves  – that we have to re-write it. Cue feelings of inadequacy, or feelings of anger, at the thought of doing it all again.

You’re an evaluator? Can you tell me what that means?

Simple question: Can you explain what the academic field of evaluation is? If you’re not an evaluator, the answer is quite possibly no. And if you are an evaluator, the answer is … often no. As a glut of qualitative evidence in the academic press suggests, evaluators may struggle when explaining what it is they do to an outsider, something pointed out in a the literature review portion of a new paper, “So What Do You Do? Exploring Evaluator Descriptions of Their Work.”

Saving space

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had all the space that you needed to explain your research carefully and completely to the funding agency? Here is my practical advice for finding a bit more space in your applications. These are the things that I do to help my applicants fit within the limits. These techniques won’t help you if you are way, way over. They will be most helpful if you just need to find that little bit of extra space.

How to turn your PhD into a book

Turning your PhD into a book is a mark of success in many disciplines, especially the humanities. Many people pursue this goal immediately upon finishing their PhD as part of an overall academic career strategy. I couldn’t cover everything about academic book publishing in one blog post, so this is part one of three I plan on the topic.

Plan T: Scrap APCs and fund open access with submission fees

The announcement of Plan S by 11 European funding agencies has rocked the scholarly publishing community. In a nutshell, these funders (and others that may join them) are banding together to impose Open Access (OA) publishing on their researchers. Most contentiously, the funders plan to cap the Article Processing Charges (APCs) that they are willing to cover, making it impossible for their researchers to publish in journals that charge relatively high amounts. On the journal side, those with APCs above the cap must either accept more (i.e., lower quality) articles or cut expenses by doing less review and editing. A CC BY license is required, and publishing an OA article in a hybrid journal is also apparently banned, such that these funders’ researchers are effectively unable to publish in over 85% of existing journals.

Teaching to foster critical & creative thinking

Critical and Creative Thinking for Researchers is a focus on MethodSpace this September. As instructors, mentors, or dissertation supervisors, how can we help students develop these habits of mind? These MethodSpace posts offer some ideas about teaching in ways that press students to look beyond the obvious, dig more deeply, and come up with new interpretations. These skills are valuable whether students are beginning their higher education journeys or preparing to design their doctoral studies.

OpenStax adds business textbook series

Nearly all of the courses for students earning an Associate of Arts degree in business will soon be covered by a free OpenStax textbook, thanks to a series of six new introductory business textbooks being produced by the Rice University-based publisher of open educational resources.

UN SDGs meta-project call for contributors: 100+ case studies for 17…

Endorsed in 2015 by all 193 United Nations Member States, the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals focus global efforts and attention on 17 pressing issues. The 17 UN SDGs have been lauded as a galvanizing force for a more socially responsible global community. However, with 169 underlying Targets, the UN SDGs have been characterized by many thought-leaders as overwhelming.

Co-Authors for two separate textbooks published by CRC Press, Agustiady and Hoffmeier had been seeking an opportunity to collaborate on a book for some time. Agustiady gives a lighthearted take on the expanded scope of the project. “We had talked about co-authoring just one, single book. Amazingly, our aspirations grew exponentially into an entire UN SDG series!” The duo will co-author one textbook in the series, while taking responsibility for recruiting co-authors and editing the remaining 16 titles. Agustiady adds, “We’ve taken the approach to ‘begin with the end in mind’, with SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals.”