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

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” – Thomas JeffersonAs we begin the month of November, for academics the month affectionately known as Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo), many of us are facing our writing projects head on with enthusiasm and perhaps a bit of anxious anticipation for the month ahead. As we embark on the next 30 days of productive writing, let us keep in mind the words of Thomas Jefferson who said, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”

Our collection of articles from around the web this week includes a variety of topics related to research and academic writing efforts including what researchers want from publishers, a new approach to research evaluation, the revision process, peer reviews, research ethics, working on a PhD, and the future of scholarly communications. Whatever this week, AcWriMo, and the remaining 60 days of this decade have in store for your academic writing efforts, we wish you great success and encouragement. Happy writing!

What do researchers want from publishers? An interview with Dr Milka Kostic

As a former scientist, turned publisher, turned research program director, Milka is uniquely placed to understand the needs — and constraints — of both publishers and researchers. And she has some strong views on the topic!

New approach to research evaluation: Evaluative inquiry

Academic evaluation regimes set up to quantify the quality of research, individual scholars, and institutions have been widely criticized for the detrimental effects they have on academic environments and on knowledge production itself. Max Fochler and Sarah de Rijcke recently called for a more exploratory, less standardized way of doing research evaluation, with the introduction of the concept of the evaluative inquiry. We have since put to practice their call in the context of two commissioned projects: one advising a theology department on research evaluation; and another advising a university on the self-assessment element of the Dutch evaluation protocol As one of the project members, I propose four principles to give further shape to the evaluative inquiry’s method (how), focal point (what), subject (who), and ambition (why).

The revision cave

Well, my current book is nearly done. But I was wondering, the other day, why writing a book never gets any easier. I’ve written quite a lot of books. This one is actually the twenty fourth, although about eight of them are edited collections. Not the same as a monograph or trade book – although don’t get me wrong, editing is still hard work, but it’s different.

Ghostwriting peer reviews

It’s more common than you might think. And that’s a bad thing for trainees and for science, a new study says. The study, which is based on an online survey of about 500 early-career researchers concentrated in the life sciences, found that nearly half of respondents had ghostwritten a review for an invited reviewer, typically a faculty adviser.

How to write a successful ethics application

The word “ethics” strikes fear into the hearts of most early career researchers. Some of the reasons are beyond our control, but there’s actually a lot we can do to make our own experiences of the ethics approval process less painful.

PhD bamboo

Do you ever feel like your PhD is in control of your life – and not in a good way? This post speaks to the resilience you need to complete using the story of a bamboo plant, which can be an invasive weed if not properly controlled!

How will the needs of emerging professionals/academics change scholarly communications in the future?

At its heart, scholarly communication is about the community that encircles research, and therefore, dissemination is a community effort. Each publication allows other scholars to read, reference, and then expand upon the research in the field with their work. Such sharing would promote a perfect embodiment of open access (OA); yet, as introduced in the Open Access Tipping Point panel hosted by the University of California this August, only 15% of published content is OA upon publication.