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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 24, 2020

Never Give UpA common theme has surfaced throughout this week in various places. Perhaps it’s that we’re at that point in January where many are giving up on their New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps it’s because in my academic circles most students are past the point of getting their money back for the semester. Perhaps it’s because there are so many reasons to quit and so many opportunities to start something new in the modern world. Whatever the reason, perhaps you’ve figured out that the theme that has emerged this week is perseverance.

Our collection of articles from around the web share this theme as well – whether you are working to finish an article or dissertation, are considering innovative research with inherent risks, or you’re battling bureaucratic obstructions in your pursuits. Whatever challenges you are facing this week – never give up – PERSEVERE!

Olympic gold medalist, Kerry Walsh, once said, “That wall is your mind playing a trick on you. You just need to say, ‘One more step, I can do this; I have more in me.’ You will be so proud of yourself once you push yourself past your threshold.” Happy writing!

From the other side of the draft

As an independent academic editor and coach, I generally empathize with beleaguered graduate students who are wrestling with their dissertations. Most doctoral candidates seem to get little support from their chairs in guidance, writing, or cheering on. However, exceptions exist . . . .

Advice for writing — and finishing — your dissertation

When I came back from the field as a graduate student, I was confident that I could write up my dissertation in no time. But when it came to actually working on the dissertation, I had difficulty getting started. I remember reading an article related to my research right before I sat down to write and how I suddenly froze up. What scared me was that I felt that I needed to write my dissertation in a manner like the article that I read. The process of writing a dissertation then became very intimidating to me. I eventually figured out what worked for me when I was dissertating, and I offer you here the following tips.

Academic writing is visual

Thinking about your writing as visual means that you begin to think about how the information is presented on the page, in particular considering what makes the writing feel inviting, what makes it feel accessible and comprehensible. When you do this, you begin to think a little like a designer. So here are a few things to consider – my basic LTG of the visualities of academic writing.

What (social) factors make for an innovative researcher?

Although breaking from tradition may advance science, it may not benefit scientists themselves. This is because of the inherent valuation risk: the risk that scientists who break from tradition may be evaluated as incompetent or scattered. Given this, one might ask, why researchers go to the effort of undertaking unconventional, path-breaking work? What makes some scientists more likely to engage in research that breaks from tradition, despite the risks?  In our recent study, we considered two possible explanations.

Bureaucracy and ethics

Several students spoke of their concerns about the system of ethical approval at UK universities. As they talked, I could see that they viewed ethics as a barrier to get around, a hurdle to jump, a bureaucratic obstruction to their research. I feel sad that our ethical governance systems have moved so far from helping researchers to work more ethically. They seem all about compliance and policing, and not at all about raising ethical standards or improving ethical practice.

The Kitchen at the APE: Five Chefs share takeaways from the 2020 Academic Publishing in Europe conference

Four Chefs were in attendance at last week’s Academic Publishing in Europe meeting in Berlin, and at least one other Chef was following the proceedings via Twitter. What follow are brief impressions, take-aways, and notable points from the perspective of each.