Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: February 21, 2020

researchers collaborating around laptops in a libraryThis week’s collection of articles from around the web contains a variety of topics important to academic authors and researchers. Many of these topics question our personal actions and beliefs as well as the effect of our actions on others with whom we interact.

We begin with personal issues of adapting core skills and the emotional cost of asking for something in academia. We then explore intercultural research, IRB regulations, the place of animals in academic life, and thanking anonymous reviewers. Finally, we close with some broader issues including research assessment reform, indigenous research methodologies, discrimination, and pure publish agreements.

As you research, write, and collaborate with others this week, pay close attention to your own belief systems and the interactions you have with others in your academic circle. What are you saying about your values in both action and written word? Happy writing!

Adapting core skills

Adapting core skills, and growing our skillset, is something we all need to do on a regular basis. No matter what your current age or position, as time progresses there is always a risk that your strengths and skills might lose their luster. My suspicion is that the continued relevance of our skill set might depend on how broadly, how fundamentally, we define skills. The more broadly we look, the more likely we’ll see how our skills are useful in different settings. So this month we asked the Chefs: How have you adapted your core skills to rapidly changing times?

What harm can it do? The emotional cost of asking for something in academia

In academia, people tell you all the time to just go ahead and ask for what you need. ‘What harm can it do?’, they ask. Or, being a woman, they say, “Think what a man would do and do that”, as though it’s literally that easy. Of course, it should be that easy, but we all know that it’s not.

Intercultural research: Interview with Rebecca Bayeck

Gaining access to communities and participants, learning about the culture so you can be respectful of local traditions — these are recommendations we’ve seen in the books and articles featured as part of our focus on Intercultural and Indigenous Research. Hearing from a researcher allows us to get a first-hand perspective about how she navigated those steps.

‘Regulating human research’

Institutional review boards are a constant subject of complaints from scholars about delays or limits placed on research — even if they understand that a given IRB may only be following the rules. Sarah Babb, a professor of sociology at Boston College, tells the story of IRBs in a new book.

Dogs and cats and rabbits and…

I began to think about the place of animals in academic life. And their importance, particularly during writing. My little thankyou to Charlie is hardly the only place or time where the importance of a furry friend is recognised in a scholarly text.

Random Acts of Kindness Day: Thanking anonymous reviewers

I got an email from one of my editors. She had recently sent me three excellent anonymous manuscript reviews: engaged, thoughtful, really helpful to me in improving the text. It seems so unfair that they have to be anonymous; I wish I could credit them by name. I wrote a short email to each reviewer to thank them which I included in an email to my editor with a request that she forward them on.

Reforming research assessment: A tough nut to crack

Last Monday the Center for Open Science (COS) formally launched TOP Factor, an alternative to the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) based primarily on the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines. For full and early disclosure, I’m Vice Chair of the COS Board but my interest here is in situating this new initiative in the longer history of attempts to shift research assessment – and in other words, to fundamentally change research culture.

Q & A with Dr. Bagele Chilisa

Dr. Bagale Chilisa is the author of the popular book, Indigenous Research Methodologies, which is now in its second edition. I asked her some questions about her work, and this is the first in a series of posts that feature her responses.

Stop vilifying white women!

We should hold each other and ourselves accountable for the oppression we perpetrate, argues Jennifer M. Gómez. I have witnessed and been harmed by some white women scholars perpetrating discrimination against women of color and other marginalized scholars both directly and through omission in sexual violence research. These omissions in mainstream research include erasure of scholarship from marginalized scholars, as well as exclusion of marginalized people and perspectives. Being silent about this discrimination serves the unequal status quo, not those communities that are targets of oppression. But white women are by no means the only culprits.

The “pure publish” agreement

Whether it is optimistic to look forward to pure publish agreements in 2024 that are comprised of subscription journals that have been flipped to open, the concept is a useful one. Though not defined by Røttingen and Sweeney, by the context provided, it would seem that a contract is a pure publish agreement if the agreed payment enables an institution’s authors to publish in fully open access journals. Such journals are also known as Gold journals, perhaps because all articles in such journals are Gold open access articles.