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The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: October 26, 2018

Excuses don't get it written.Several weeks ago, I saw a woman at my son’s karate dojo with a shirt that read “Excuses don’t burn calories.” This became the inspiration for this week’s quotable image, “Excuses don’t get it written.” Beginning this week’s collection of posts from around the Web is the topic of procrastination. Following that are strategies for reading, writing, revision, and data analysis. We then explore the problems of success, and close with some Open Access Week related content on OER and equitable participation in open research.

Whatever you’re working on this week, don’t put it off. After all, excuses don’t get it written (or burn calories). Happy writing!


Everyone procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator. In today’s Academic Minute, DePaul University‘s Joseph Ferrari discusses this common topic. Ferrari is Vincent de Paul Distinguished Professor and a professor of psychology at DePaul. A transcript of this podcast can be found here.

Dear reader, are you reading?

For scholarly communications these are not small questions. The fate of the scholarly e-book (for another post, my travails of attempting to even acquire, let alone to “read” the mangled bits of text that appear on screen, regurgitated through the teeth of various vendor platforms) and the ways we have consciously designed it not to be read, but to be searched, and stripped suggests we have a notion already about what we want the digital to deliver.

Five benefits of a writing ‘system’

According to the interim findings, the academics who have developed some kind of ‘system’ to help them write and publish seem far happier and more productive than those who have not. But what is it about having a ‘system’ that helps you get down to work and keep publishing – and how can you develop one of your own?

From description to analysis – a revision strategy

PhDers are often told by their supervisors that their work needs to move from description to analysis. But what does this mean?  Have you just wasted your time doing all that describing? Well, in short, no.

Excel tips: Identifying and removing duplicate data points

So why does this matter? It matters because duplicate data points may inadvertently lead to miscalculation or misunderstanding of the data. The appearance of duplicates does not necessarily mean the entire data set is completely wrong – only that the data set may require a closer eye and some additional clean-up work as do most data sets. Thankfully, Excel offers two handy features that simplify the identification and removal of duplicate data points from a file!

Are you prepared for the problems of success?

Failure in academia is normal. Not getting the job, not getting a paper published, not being accepted for that conference are garden-variety problems of the academic persuasion. There is plenty of advice on how to deal with academic failure – and plenty of sympathy. Problems of success are harder to spot, less discussed and, usually, garner little to no sympathy from your peers.

A message to college leaders: Don’t overlook resources right under your nose

More and more institutions and instructors are now eschewing textbooks in favor of course materials that they can use free of charge, edit, and remix with other sources. I was especially eager to highlight this trend because of some recent studies showing how OER is becoming a force for affordability (this study, for example, looked at two years of OER at 38 community colleges and found that students saved between $66 and $121 per course), and for better educational outcomes (this study highlighted that lower-income students at the University of Georgia performed better academically thanks to OER).

Ask the community (and chefs): How can we achieve equitable participation in open research?

This post is in two parts, today’s responses from people involved in enabling access, in libraries or as journal editors and publishers; tomorrow we will hand over to some of those most expected to benefit from open access, researchers, and also think about the role of policymakers in open research.

Ask the community (and chefs): How can we achieve equitable participation in open research? – Part 2

In yesterday’s “Ask the Community (and Chefs)” post, librarians and people involved in various ways in journal publishing shared their thoughts about how to increase equity in open research. Today’s responses provide researcher perspectives and reflections on the wider enabling landscape for open access and open research. Please do add your own responses to the question in the comments.