The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: October 19, 2018
This week’s collection of posts from around the Web begins with a couple approaches to collaboration – first in purpose, second in process. We then found some posts on improving existing work – revising drafts, converting a PhD into a book, and the art of book design. Finally, we brought together some industry interests – the value of peer review, innovative & inclusive teaching, and content syndication.
Whatever writing projects you are working on this week, 1) know that you are not alone – TAA is here to support you with our community of authors and collection of resources; 2) know that your work is not finished – writing is more than a single task and whether revising a first draft or reworking a thesis, your continued contributions are needed; and finally, 3) know that these solitary efforts contribute to a bigger picture and have value beyond the immediacy of your project. Happy writing!
Collaboration is often necessary when we are studying (or supporting) social change efforts. Most types of field work, action research, or ethnography involve accessing research sites and working closely with gatekeepers to reach participants. For other types of studies we might need to collaborate with co-researchers, or co-writers, or other stakeholders to complete the project.
This post is about creating collegial spaces within our institutions, at a time when finding joy in what we do can be a challenge. After that grand statement, I have to admit that my motivation for the idea had a selfish side: I wanted to have more chances to edit (and learn more about how to edit) Wikipedia. I stepped down earlier this year from the convenorship of the research network I’d founded. Wanting to keep a hand in with the area, I decided that a manageable sideline would be to enrich and contribute Asian Australian Studies-relevant content to Wiki.
Now is the time to mobilise your internal critic and ask some hard questions of your (crappy first) draft. Yes, you will find some obvious little mistakes when you read through the draft, but this is not the time to get down and dirty with the finer points of editing. You are not proof reading. You need to attend to the big picture first.
This is part three of my series on academic book publishing. The aim of this series is to take you through the process of turning your PhD into a book – or perhaps writing a new book in the early part of your career. Not all academic disciplines are interested in book publishing and look to conferences, journals or even exhibitions for signs of academic productivity. I recommend you read part one and part two before reading this post.
The brilliant Chip Kidd is one of the world’s best known book designers. Browse through his portfolio, and I guarantee you’ll spot some familiar examples of his work, superb designs that provide a tangible form for the book’s content, or as he puts it, “What do the stories look like?” In the video below, Kidd talks about the role of the book designer as a visual interpreter or translator, as well as the things we’re losing with eBooks.
The two most common suggestions one hears from researchers are that either 1) peer review should be explicitly included in the job requirements of researchers, or that 2) peer reviewers should be paid for their service. Many researcher contracts include vague requirements for “service” but don’t specifically define what that means. It could mean being on thesis committees or mentoring students, but it could also mean serving the community as a peer reviewer. But let’s not make assumptions or force anyone to guess — would it make a difference if performing peer review was clearly stated as an expectation in one’s contract with a research institution?
Previous MethodSpace posts have explored the use of inquiry models and other methods that can help today’s students become tomorrow’s researchers. In October’s focus on Research for Social Good, we are looking at the importance of understanding diverse perspectives and conducting studies in ethical ways that respect participants. If you teach or are interested in new instructional approaches, see this open access collection about Innovative Teaching and Differential Instruction to Cater for Student Diversity.
Scholarly publishing leaders are clear that one benefit of this new infrastructure is to enable the sector to “build new services on a competitive basis,” as Elsevier’s Shillum explained to me. Depending on how SES (Shared Entitlements System) is implemented — if it enables true content syndication onto access platforms with DUL (Distributed Usage Logging) back to publishers, and not just improved links to publisher sites — it will have the effect of dramatically reducing the barriers to entry of creating a legitimate multi-publisher content access platform.