Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 29, 2019

“Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration.” – Ralph KeyesAs we come to the end of Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) 2019, many of our TAA members and community have found themselves committing to 30 days of intentional habit building to improve their writing practice. As Ralph Keyes noted, “Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration.” Our collection of articles from around the web this week addresses some of the other things that affect authors beyond the simple habit of writing.

We start with a Q&A from this month’s SAGE MethodSpace webinar on collaborative writing and some insight on where it is (and where it is not) acceptable to ask for help on your writing projects. We continue with some PhD-related topics about the experience of a PhD program, ethics and the literature review, and planning for the post-PhD job search. We then explore the use of meta-text and graphic presentations to enhance research impact. Finally, we close with the current and future prospects of open access and the open access movement.

As you close out the month of November, and your AcWriMo writing commitments, hold on to the routines that you have developed along the way to maintain a successful writing practice year round. Happy writing!

Q & A: Collaborative writing & editing

Lots of questions were posed during the Write a Book! From Acquisition to Publication webinar. Find responses on MethodSpace by following the Q & A tag. Use the comment area to area to add your questions about writing and publishing books.

To ask or not to ask

I am all in favour of people asking for what they want and need. It’s useful for each of us to figure out what we really want, what we need, how much of that we can sort out for ourselves, and what we need to ask from others. However, as my work has become more widely known, I have begun to receive more and more requests for help from people I have never met offline or interacted with online. I want to help where help is needed, but some of the requests I get are quite unreasonable.

It all depends!

Doing a PhD is an absolute nightmare, I reckon, and I say so. Frequently. The drag of PhD research is go-to water-cooler-chat for many students (well, if not you, maybe I drink water and whine about my PhD enough for the rest of us).

Ethics and your literature review

When I ask people about the ethical issues of working with literature, they tend to look blank. So here are some pointers. First, define what you are using as literature, or background documents, and explain why you have chosen those types of material. This is important now that there is such a range of available literature: as with all decisions about research, you should be making well-informed choices for good reasons. Then make sure you know how well you can search that body of literature.

Forging your post-PhD, during your PhD

There are jobs you do to pay the bills and hope that you never have to do again, and that was one. It turns out, however, that the skills I acquired during my brief stint in a call centre would come in handy down the road over a decade later! This post is about how I built skills during my PhD for the post-PhD job search.

What is meta-text?

It’s not uncommon for doctoral researchers to find supervisors have written this feedback on a text – “You need more signposting here”. Occasionally they might say, “There is too much signposting here.” So what is this signposting? Signposting is a term used to describe a meta-text.

How graphic presentations of research increase impact

We took an open approach to our research from the beginning (using a research blog, for example) and this gave us valuable knowledge: we knew from talking to our project advisory group that people working in the homelessness sector are unlikely to spend much time reading the latest journal articles and, moreover, will not pay for them given the limited resources available to homelessness services; we also knew that informing more people of the real life stories behind homelessness would require something to draw the eye. We needed to do something a bit different. We published our findings as a graphic novel.

The tyranny of unintended consequences: Richard Poynder on open access and the open access movement

A week ago, Richard Poynder, a well-known and widely respected observer of the scholarly communication ecosystem whose blog Open and Shut? is generally considered a must-read source on the topic, published an extensive commentary on the current state and future prospects of both open access (OA) and the open access movement. Titled “Open Access: Could Defeat Be Snatched from the Jaws of Victory?,” it is an important contribution to the ongoing discussion of the future of scholarly communication. Before I proceed to summarize and respond to some of the points he makes in this wide-ranging and frankly magisterial document, I should point out that the distinction I’ve made above — that between OA itself and the OA movement — is important.