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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 10, 2019

"Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go." ~E. L. DoctorowSeveral things textbook and academic authors are never short on: commitments, obligations, things to learn, and changing landscapes. This week’s collection of articles from around the web includes them all as well.

We start with the question of why college students are sleep deprived and overextended, look at tips for building a career in scholarly communication, and what it takes to be a co-author. We then explore different strategies for writing papers, making the most of summer plans, University Journals, and interdisciplinary mentoring. Finally we explore industry changes as Wiley buys Knewton and the University of California’s decision on Elsevier.

In the words of E. L. Doctorow, “Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” This week we encourage you to write, explore, and learn as you go. Happy writing!

Overextended and overcommitted

Swamped, exhausted, overwhelmed – these are words one hears repeatedly from students, whether they are traditional aged or older. Overscheduled and overcommitted: This describes most students today, not just college athletes. The question – why are college students so sleep deprived and overextended? – is well worth asking.

Building your career in scholarly communication: Tips, tricks, and everything you ever wanted to know!

Last week, I was part of a panel at the Society for Scholarly Publishing’s (SSP’s) first regional event in Oxford, UK. Hosted by Oxford University Press, and organized by Isabel Thompson (Holtzbrinck), Vanessa Fairhust (Crossref) and Sara Grimme (Digital Science), the evening’s focus was Building Your Career in Scholarly Communication: Tips, Tricks and Everything You Ever Wanted to Know! Here are some of the highlights (IMHO) from the talks (my own given in a bit more detail, given that I have better notes!).

Learning to be a co-author

Below are 10 things I learned about being a co-author, including tips about teams, time management, values and the writing process. I’ve found these are essential, whether I see my collaborators every day, or if we live on other sides of the world.

Make a poster then write your paper

There’s another use for posters too. And that’s as a strategy to prepare a paper. Yes, a poster is a great way to get yourself organised for writing the conference paper or journal article.

Making the most of summer plans

This year, I’m taking a more active approach and creating a plan for the summer before it begins. Here, I describe the decisions I’ve made in terms of my teaching, structuring my time for research and reading for professional enrichment.

The new “University Journals” in the marketplace

“Fourteen universities from five European countries started a collaboration to set up University Journals as an alternative to the current journal system that requires authors to transfer their copyright or charges article processing charges.” This is a worthy aim. The question is how this new service, one of the now countless number of new services — which, of course, are additive to the many established services — will find a place in a marketplace that is already notable for its clutter.

The case for vibrant interdisciplinary mentoring

Effective interdisciplinary mentoring includes enabling students to see examples of highly accomplished people who have benefited from that process themselves and to appreciate that what we do derives from our own mentors and is multigenerational. With each generation the process repeats, as our students become colleagues from whom we learn.

Another big move hits higher-ed publishing, as Wiley buys Knewton

Another big publisher in higher ed is making a strategic move. John Wiley & Sons announced on Monday that it was buying the assets of Knewton, an 11-year-old company that has at times been held up as the poster child for ed-tech overhype.

The University of California and Elsevier: An interview with Jeff MacKie-Mason

Jeff MacKie-Mason, University Librarian and Professor of Information and Economics at UC Berkeley, graciously agreed to answer a few questions for Scholarly Kitchen readers about the background of UC’s decision and its plans and expectations going forward.