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The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: December 14, 2018

"Everything you want is on the other side of fear." ~Jack CanfieldEndings can be challenging. Whether it’s the end of a project, the end of a semester, the end of a life phase, or even the end of a calendar year. What makes ending so difficult is often the uncertainty of what’s next rather than the closure of what has been.

This week’s collection of posts from around the web begins with an example of a fourth year PhD candidate working toward completion of the program and advice on transitioning between career or writing phases. It continues with guidance on how to start collaborative projects, a challenge to dance your PhD, and eight ways to write theory very badly. Finally, we close with the uncertainty of the publishing industry for textbook authors, an introduction to branding, and ways to work with contributing authors in an edited book.

As we approach the final few weeks of 2018, we encourage you to look back over the year and your accomplishments with your writing projects. Close off what has earned completion status in the weeks and months that have come to pass, and prepare yourself for all that 2019 has in store. Look at your next project, career opportunity, or calendar page with excitement rather than nervousness. After all, as Jack Canfield once said, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Happy writing!

I am Joni Gilissen, and this is how I work

I am a fourth year PhD candidate in a joint PhD program in Social Health Sciences at the Vrije University Brussels and Biomedical Sciences at the Catholic University Leuven. I currently carry out a large study within the End-of-Life Care Research Group of which the focus is on advance care planning for people in nursing homes, including residents living with dementia.

Cleaning up, ready for the next phase

Is your desk a hot mess right now? Dr Linda Devereux can relate. In this post she shares the touching story of cleaning her office after the PhD was finished and the unexpected difficulty of the clearing out process.

Collaborating on research

When we start a collaborative research project, it is helpful to consider where our partners are coming from in regard to cultures, norms, and expectations. This post from the Research for Social Good series offers a place to start. Feel free to use the comment area and add your thoughts about collaborating within and across groups.

Dance your PhD

The 11th annual Dance Your PhD contest is now open – closing date 14 January 2019. So if you’re studying for (or already have) a PhD in social science, chemistry, physics or biology, and you’re short of ideas for things to do over the holidays, why not dance your thesis?

Eight ways to write theory very badly

If you want to be the person who makes their reader sigh and eventually give up when they get to your theoretical ‘bit’, here’s some non-fail writing strategies. Do these and I guarantee your reader will be enervated and/or exasperated:

Shifting focus of publishers signals tough times for textbook authors

Leading academic publishers are signing fewer textbook authors and instead channeling investments into digital courseware. Large academic publishers such as Pearson and Cengage are working with fewer and fewer textbook authors as the companies shift their focus and investments from traditional textbooks to digital courseware.

An introduction to branding

Brand reputation remains a hugely important factor in scholarly publishing. Even if one ignores metrics like the Impact Factor, what the reader or author thinks about your journal, or the types of books your company produces, is a major influencer in their decision to buy, read, or submit a manuscript. But what do we mean by “brand”?

Editors’ roles: Relating to chapter contributors

Chapters by different authors define the edited book. Once you have selected the chapters to include, you will need to think about how you will work with contributing authors to make sure that the book project proceeds as planned.