The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: October 12, 2018

"Start with Why" ~Simon SinekThis week’s collection of posts from around the web have a common theme of clarity and transparency in scholarly writing efforts. Beginning with a look at personal clarity in our revision processes or where we focus our time and energy as researchers to matters of impact and public trust, we have also found opportunities to improve transparency in textbook revisions and scholarly communications.

Wherever your writing efforts take you this week, as Simon Sinek says, “start with why” and be clear in your personal and professional purpose and intent. That clarity will produce results. Happy writing!

Check for ‘code words’ – revising your writing

Code words are by definition known to the writer. Code words are often idiosyncratic, their meanings can’t be easily guessed and/or they refer to an idea which could be interpreted in many different ways.  Code words stand in for complex ideas, positions taken on key debates, and/or synthesis of ideas from other writers. Code words need to be translated. Readers do not, cannot, know what is in the writer’s head.  But they don’t need the writer to produce an encyclopaedia entry for an explanation, the reader needs just enough to get the drift of what the writer means.

A voice from the precariat

I am part of the precariat. I’ve spent seven years training as an educational researcher. But having enjoyed the privilege of full-time research I haven’t done ‘enough’ teaching. I’ve also spent too much time working across disciplines, so I don’t have an obvious ‘home’, and the effort I’ve put into service, leadership and industry engagement has eaten into time I ‘should’ have been writing. Whatever I have demonstrated there is always something I have failed to demonstrate, and it is this constantly shifting horizon that feeds my sense of powerlessness.

Q&A: Time for family during the PhD

Hey! Interesting schedule… But, when do you make time for family & friends, maybe for a romantic relationship? Do you feel that close relationships will be an obstacle to your academic work?

The effect of impact

Like a lot of things, the impact agenda seems quite reasonable on the surface. The government provides funds for research, and they want to know that those funds are helping society in some way. They’ve asked universities to describe what contribution their research makes to the economy, society, environment or culture, beyond the contribution to academia. All well and good, in theory. Unfortunately, some of my researchers are getting mixed messages about the impact agenda.

From paywall to datawall

Almost every day, my email or Twitter feed brings an alert to a “free” report, article, white paper, etc. No payment or subscription required! It sounds great. In many ways it is the promise of the Internet fulfilled, a world in which a single click brings you the document you are seeking for immediate review or even a deep read. The reader experience, however, is quite often not exactly that.

Scholarly scandal, academic principles, and public trust

How the recent journal hoax helps us reflect on core academic principles. Academics are rigorous about research design, pit bulls when it comes to hunting down new evidence, and extremely slow to come to conclusions. We do not confuse correlation with causation, we disdain speaking in generalities (because exceptions are all around), we are constantly qualifying statements and pointing out contingencies, and we take great care to speak with precision. Above all, we do not fall in love with our own conclusions and go evidence-hunting to support them.

A course experiment tackles textbook costs

Students in California drafted a bill to urge publishers to reveal how their textbooks changed between editions. The students convinced lawmakers to adopt the legislation. But will publishers comply?

Announcing the Coalition for Diversity & Inclusion in Scholarly Communications

Within our community, many of us are already committed to increasing diversity and inclusion at a personal level. Some companies have publicly committed to doing so at the organizational level. Now, 10 of our industry organizations have joined forces to support these efforts, through the formation of the Coalition for Diversity & Inclusion in Scholarly Communications (C4DISC).

Editage Releases Global Author Survey with Critical Insights for Scholarly Publishers

Editage, a leading global scholarly communications company, has released a comprehensive report showcasing the perspectives of academic authors on a broad range of topics related to scholarly publishing. This report is unique in that it captures the views of almost 7000 authors worldwide, with over 2000 of these being from China, the world’s leading producer of research output. Most of the respondents are early-career researchers from non-Western, non-English-speaking countries—an author segment that international publishers and journals are increasingly looking to engage with but seldom get access to at such a large scale.