Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: February 1, 2019

"Words are a lens to focus one's mind." ~Ayn RandAyn Rand once said, “Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.” As you reflect on the first month of 2019, where are your words? Where is your focus? Whatever your focus, you may find you are not alone as you explore this week’s collection of posts from around the web.

Our first three articles provide insight for those focused on self care, financial support for their research, or improving their teaching and learning of writing. Our next set of articles share thoughts for those focused on greater access and sharing of ideas and data with other researchers. Finally, we have found articles focused on the continued learning process associated with new vocabulary or methods.

Wherever your focus is at this stage of your writing, use your words this week to bring those ideas into greater clarity. Happy writing!

2019. Bring it on! (gently this time)

After a lot of thought, I’m going with ‘Care’ for my 2019 keyword. Care challenges us remake systems so they are well designed and humane. Care is thoughtful engagement and negotiations in relation to workplace demands, not just throwing yourself in and hoping for the best. Care is not individualistic, though practising care means getting an individual benefit. Obviously treating yourself with care means exercising, sleeping and eating well, but it also requires us to extend care to others. I strongly believe that following an ethic of Care is a win/win for staff and employer.

‘How to Get Grant Money in the Humanities and Social Sciences’

A new book provides guidance, on everything from thinking of a project to identifying potential sources of funding to the application process. How to Get Grant Money in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Yale University Press) is written in encouraging language that doesn’t assume the reader has already been through the process. The author is Raphael B. Folsom, associate professor of history at the University of Oklahoma. He responded via email to questions about the book.

You know more than you think about teaching writing

So: is it possible to improve the teaching and learning of writing by providing faculty with language and theory to help them understand what they already dowith writing as disciplinary experts? We think so, and we are finding this method to be a promising means of responding to the challenges and realities that Hanstedt laid out: that teaching writing is hard, and that doing so is the shared responsibility of all faculty, and that faculty will only be motivated to take on this responsibility if doing so is an engaging intellectual project.

Access alone isn’t enough: Revisiting calls for discovery, infrastructure, technology, and training

One of the most compelling arguments for open access (OA) is making research literature freely available in lower-income countries. OA is clearly a positive step toward a more inclusive and equitable global research community, but it is not enough on its own and should not be portrayed as some sort of magical panacea.

Supporting a connected galaxy of knowledge

Collectively, we must build solutions that work seamlessly for researchers and help solve the problems they face. We need to break everything down, identify specific problems and then build solutions that address them and that work together. By doing this together, we have an opportunity to transform the research ecosystem.

Encouraging data sharing: A small investment for large potential gain

Sadly, surveys show that academics rarely get formal training in good data management (let alone best practice), and data management is rarely incentivized by institutions. All too often even the basics are ignored, with data ending up languishing on a USB stick or on a paper notepad. If we want research to be discovered, shared, and reused, then the same must be said of the underlying data.

How independent researchers can help academics

Do you know the independent researchers in your discipline or field? Have you got a clear strategy for when, how, and why you would involve independent researchers in your work? No? Then you’re missing a trick.

Starting the PhD – learning new vocabulary

Scholarly work often involves learning new words. You know this right? Sometimes it even seems that in order to be considered a scholar you have to speak in words no one else can understand. Well that’s the stereotype. But let’s try to unpack this a bit. What words do you need to learn, why and how?

Learn from research cases: Coordinating a mixed methods study

Unlike articles that typically focus on the findings and convey a sense that the research proceeded as planned, research cases should reveal the obstacles as well as successes. Cases help readers learn from trials and errors, decision-making and problem-solving strategies of experienced researchers.