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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 24, 2019

"Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way." ~Ray BradburyThis week’s collection of articles from around the web includes a variety of topics important to authors. We begin the collection with concepts of semantic gravity, using visuals, and personal safety. We then discuss PhD requirements for publishing and the process in New Zealand. Next we explore the use of social media for improving citations or sharing conference material. Finally we explore some of the changing landscape in academic publishing.

As you write this week, be true to yourself and your ideas. As once noted by Ray Bradbury, “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” Happy writing!

How to harness the power of semantic gravity in your writing

You can think about semantic gravity as being closer too, or further away from, something concrete, be it a place, thing or data point. In my workshops I use a chair to demonstrate how to think about writing at different levels of semantic gravity. We start at the lightest setting, which means you are standing at a distance from any specific chair, from this distance you can only see chairs as a group.

Using visuals to present and explain qualitative data

Whereas I consider exploratory visuals to be about communicating with the data, explanatory visuals are about communicating with others about the data. To be effective, explanatory visuals must reflect the knowledge and thinking not of the creator but of the viewer. Creating these doesn’t come naturally, but it is still well worth the time and effort required.

Safety and research

I suspect that fieldwork-related risk, safety, stress, anxiety and trauma are not well discussed in a lot of methods education. I’ve looked at the training courses I know about and not had a lot of joy in answering two basic questions – Where and how much are the risks of violence, trauma and stress arising from research discussed? (answer I haven’t a clue) Have I ever encountered this in researcher or supervisor training? (answer no)

Whose dissertation is it, anyway?

Requiring students to publish dissertations, particularly online, may put vulnerable students who have been victimized, threatened or stalked at risk, said Schlesinger. He believes it could also jeopardize the safety of people mentioned in the research, even if they are anonymized. ​

PhD defenses around the world: A PhD defense from New Zealand

The five big milestones of the PhD submission at Otago as my lab mate Susie described were: submission for examination, the departmental seminar, oral defence, final submission and graduation.

Can Twitter, Facebook, and other social media drive downloads, citations?

Even before the development of the Internet and social media tools, the association between media promotion and article performance was well documented.1, 2, 3, 4 What was not fully understood, however, was the underlying cause of this association. Editors and journalists tend to promote what they view as the most important and novel papers. As a result, it is difficult to disambiguate selection effects from dissemination and amplification effects, especially from uncontrolled observational studies. Likely, multiple effects operate in concert. If we want to isolate these effects, we need to rely on a more rigorous methodology–the randomized controlled trial.

To tweet or not to tweet?

Guidelines about the use of Twitter at academic conferences, and the way they are articulated, should concern scholars, argues Jonathan Beecher Field.

Landscape analysis: A SPARC report on the changing nature of the academic publishing industry and the implications for institutions

The latest report from SPARC is a departure from advocacy and is very well done. In this article I summarize some of the key findings from Claudio Aspesi et al., for SPARC – A Landscape Analysis: The Changing Academic Publishing Industry – Implications for Academic Institutions. Aspesi comes from a background as a market analyst for international investors, as well as serving as Global Senior Vice President of Strategy at EMI Music. I encourage you to go and read the full report.

The emerging impact landscape

For my research, I’ve had many, many conversations with people across higher education in Australia and Canada at all career levels (research higher degree students, Early Career Researchers, Mid Career Researchers).  Alongside the confusion about what impact is is what impact means (and will mean) to academics.

Will transformative agreements unravel library consortia?

Underneath the importance of cost control in the aggregate lies an extremely important question — how is the cost of a transformative agreement distributed within a library consortium among its members? I observe today that cost share distribution within consortia is a substantial risk to the ability of transformative agreements to take hold for the long term and may threaten the cohesion of consortia as well.