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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 17, 2019

"It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s the fear of not writing well; something quite different." ~Scott BerkunThis week’s collection of articles from around the web contains a number of articles focused on the aspects of writer’s life that are not directly related to the task of writing. Things like use of figures, evaluation methods, motivational efforts, discussion, and networking opportunities.

These same things, while supportive of our writing practice, may also prove to be a distraction or cause of fear of evaluation of our own writing. While it is important to keep them in mind and to incorporate them into our overall writing process, we must be sure to use them in a way that moves us further along in our writing efforts. As Scott Berkun once said, “It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s the fear of not writing well; something quite different.” This week let the evaluation, nagging, discussion, and presentation of your work drive you to be better and to move forward. Happy writing!

Visuals & figures

Figures in academic books and articles typically take the form of black-and-white line drawings or photographs. As publishing moves online, limitations are changing about the format and style of figures– and researchers are getting creative.

Evaluating open access in a consortial context

As several recent announcements and initiatives have shown, Open Access (OA) negotiations between libraries and publishers are complex, in a constant state of flux, and provide little predictability — and OA models and negotiations within library consortia contain complexities all their own. One of the key questions library consortia have to ask themselves is, Are you a Publish or a Read library consortium, or somewhere in between? As Lisa Hinchliffe’s recent primer on transformative agreements notes, the implications of Publish and Read versus Read and Publish are different for different consortia.

What is “measured” writing?

I was recently part of a small discussion on another social media platform where someone reported that their supervisor had said their writing wasn’t sufficiently “measured’. Without seeing the actual work it was pretty hard to understand what the supervisor was concerned about. But everyone in the discussion knew that the term was vague, and therefore unhelpful. But “your writing is not measured” is not an uncommon supervisor or reviewer comment. I wondered then, as I do whenever I hear it, what “measured” is code for. I could think of five possibilities.

In praise of professional naggers

It was time to bring in the big guns: my mom and aunts, all of whom are go-getters and have played such an influential role in my life. I asked them to be my “professional naggers.” Apparently, you can pay someone to call you to make sure you’re staying on track. But in all seriousness, I asked these three women if I could keep them informed about my writing goals, as well the regular obstacles I faced.

A study of commenting on PLOS articles

Commenting functionality, which allows readers of an online article to add a comment relating to that article, visible to future readers, has been a feature of online academic publishing since its earliest days. While comparisons with the massive volume of comments on popular news and media sharing sites are obviously imperfect, there is nonetheless a widespread perception that article commenting has failed to embed itself in academic culture.

Creative research methods chat on Twitter

Newsflash! I’m announcing new Twitter hashtags for a creative research methods chat which I will be hosting on the second Tuesday of every month.

Conference season is here: Are you prepared?

Conference season has officially commenced. Over the next few months there will be back-to-back annual publishing conferences and as a result you may be spending limited time in your office. It makes sense then, to be certain you’re getting the most out of these annual meetings. For myself, I have learned to build in a routine preparation plan.