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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: February 7, 2020

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” ~Franz KafkaWe all create expectations for ourselves. We define writing projects we want to complete, areas in which we want to grow personally or professionally, and goals for measuring our success or quantifying our accomplishments. However there are times when facing those expectations, the expectations of others can take us off course.

In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we explore the “bestest of plans”, how to find time for the things that matter to us amidst other commitments, and how to adjust to changes in our environment. Further, we explore the value of community for support of our research efforts, disseminating research, and collaborative writing efforts. Finally, we find articles related to using your network when searching for jobs, strategically approaching the campus job visit, and a proposal for restructuring the APC to promote fairer cost allocation in scholarly communication.

Whatever your personal and professional expectations, define them, pursue them, and be true to yourself along the way. As Franz Kafka once said, “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” Happy writing!

The bestest of plans

Every year, many people make resolutions and commit to habits that they hope will make them happier, more productive, healthier, and/or a combination of these. Miraculously, some of these survive more than a few weeks. Most, however, do not. This isn’t always a bad thing.

How to find time for reading when you have a faculty position

During your PhD, you read a lot – or at least, you’ve read what you need to read to be able to write your literature review. Then, you get a faculty position, and before you know, you are juggling writing proposals, carrying out new research, writing the papers from your PhD, teaching, supervising students, service tasks and much more. It’s easy to let reading slip to the side when you have a faculty position. Here are a few different approaches to find time for reading.

Writing home and away

I’m working away from my desk, as my out of office assistant puts it. But I’m still very much working. I’m writing out of place. I don’t have my usual working set up. And not just for a couple of days but actually for quite a lengthy period of time. So this all ought to be fine right? Well no. I’m grumpily realising that there are some compromises that I actually don’t like making.

Scholarly societies: The importance of community

In this article I attempt to disentangle the issues and paint a picture of how scholarly societies are an indelible part of the research and support system for academics across many disciplines.  In this way, they resemble private, non-profit academic institutions as a vital part of the academic landscape, which similarly receive public monies in support of their role.

Disseminating research

We have accomplished little if we conduct research and discover new insights, understandings, or solutions, but don’t share them. For some of us, sharing with other scholars in our fields is important, for others, the priority is for sharing with policy-makers, leaders, or individuals who can use what we’ve learned. For some of us, writing about our findings is the primary form of dissemination, for others, presenting in person or with media is the way we make a difference.

Collaborative book writing – the end stage

The final stages of producing any book – or thesis, or dissertation – are tortuous for a solo writer. There are so many little details to check and re-check. Is each heading in the appropriate style? Does every citation in the text correspond to a reference in the bibliography? Is every reference in the bibliography cited in the text? Are there any typos? Does the text make sense? I have dreamed of having someone to help with all this checking and re-checking, yet to my surprise it seemed even more tortuous when I was working collaboratively.

Academic spy networks (and why you need one)

Don’t let the appearance of ‘fairness’ around academic and government appointments fool you. Connections still matter. All my academic jobs have come via networks. My current job was created for me; the previous two happened because someone recommended me to the hiring manager. Before that, I was a casual academic, relying on academic ‘patrons’ to offer me work semester by semester.

Demystifying the campus visit: Part 1

Demystification is an anthropological preoccupation. In this essay, I will unpack an activity in academe that seems elusive yet noteworthy: the campus job visit. I look back on my experience in January 2019 in the department of anthropology at Purdue University as a reference. In doing so, I intend to suggest tools to help you navigate the process strategically.

A plea for fairer sharing of the true costs of publication

Imagine a university invoicing all graduating students for both the costs of their study program and the tuition fees of their peers who dropped out along the way. While this situation would strike most as unfair, something analogous happens in the world of scholarly publishing through the charging of open access fees. In this post we will explore how restructuring APC (Article Processing Charge) pricing can lead to fairer cost allocation in scholarly communication.