Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 13, 2019
T.S. Eliot once said, “Most editors are failed writers – but so are most writers.” The key to success, however, is to fail forward. This week’s collection of articles from around the web fittingly explores some of the ways academic authors can do just that.
We begin with an exploration of the “gap” between management scholarship and practice and the number of academic hours worked. We then consider ways to keep up with the literatures and simplify indexing and data sharing. Next, we explore ways to deal with failure and to apply the lessons learned along the way. Finally, we examine ways to make money from writing books and reasons why librarians are concerned about GetFTR.
As you close out your academic semester and near the end of 2019, reflect on the successes and failures of the term and year past, but focus on failing forward into the year ahead. Happy writing!
What should happen now in academic writing? Should academics affirm or disaffirm the gap? We believe that the correct choice is “neither”. The standard ways of thinking about the gap have largely outlived its usefulness, and the recent arguments for and against academic-practitioner collaboration are no longer advancing understanding. Rather, it is more productive to think about what dynamics are underneath the gap, and why they keep coming up.
A surfeit of pride in one’s in-demand status has come to be called a “busy brag.” The busy brag has attracted media attention over the past several years; see, for example, here and here. A recent article in The Atlantic links the busy brag to a reversal of Thorstein Veblen’s theory of labor and status. In hisTheory of the Leisure Class (1899), Veblen wrote, “The conspicuous abstention from labor becomes the conventional mark of superior pecuniary achievement.” Not so today. Not so in higher education. Not so more widely.
The processes of selection – choosing which papers to keep and their potential connection with your own work – are a key to managing the volume of literature that is potentially useful to you. If you engage in detail with every paper you come across, you end up reading a lot of dross. And you also have difficulty sorting out key points from which you can construct an argument for your own research- there’s just too much minutiae.
The current system for indexing and sharing content and data eats up unnecessary resources and creates a barrier for small and new scientific journals. We need change to better democratize scientific publishing.
Failure. The PhD makes you much better at dealing with it – at least that’s the hope. I was always a pretty mediocre student, but I didn’t realise just how mediocre I was until I went to architecture school.
No matter who we are or what we do, learning only comes when we’re open to change. What are your lessons learned? Lessons can be big or small, personal or professional, but one thing is sure. Change starts with each of us, individually. As a final topic for 2019, we asked the Chefs: What did you learn in 2019 and how do you plan to apply it?
While still not a life-changing amount, it is a game-changing sum of money. It means that, after eight years of steady writing, I can now spend several weeks of each year on writing alone, paid for by the income from my writing. This is a lovely position to be in. It’s better than spending several weeks of each year on writing mostly subsidised by my paid work, which is what I have been doing up to now.
GetFTR offers clear benefits for publishers and researchers. A direct link to a copy with known access entitlements is very useful. But, it seems some were taken aback by the less than warm welcome the announcement received from the library community. Today, I wish to articulate why many librarians are concerned about GetFTR.