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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 6, 2020

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” ~Ralph Waldo EmersonIn this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we are presented with contradictions to norms and new thoughts on old processes in academic writing. “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” These words from Ralph Waldo Emerson remind us to be open-minded, to face challenges, contradictions, and reviewer comments with receptiveness rather than defensiveness.

Consider the benefits (rather than the distastefulness) of book blurbs, discussion on the discussion section of your papers, and ways to detect the crap in your research process. Examine what research looks like without a “publish or perish” mentality, for indigenous students, and when reflecting your work in your lifestyle choices – even the clothes that you wear. Finally, open up to the possibilities of open peer review and returning to academia from industry.

Academic environments are deeply rooted in tradition but are facing dramatic changes in process and perception. New ideas can bring with them resistance and opportunities. When faced with contradiction to your beliefs or work this week, consider the opportunity and resist the urge to feel persecuted. Happy writing!

Twelve top tips for writing an academic book blurb

The ‘blurb’ is the text on the back of a book’s cover which tells you what the book is about. It’s not simply a description, though; it is also a sales tool. For this reason some people find blurbs difficult, even distasteful to write.

How do I write the discussion section?

The discussion section of the thesis is the heart of the creative endeavour: it’s where you have to be MOST original. Even if you don’t have a section in your thesis called ‘discussion’ (I didn’t) there will still be places in your thesis where you must explicitly make new knowledge in relation to the data you have collected and your analysis. But what should actually go in the discussion section and how should you write it?

Writing advice – caveat emptor

Advice needs readers. But we readers also need to be, as Ernest Hemingway put it, “crap detectors”. Howard Rheingold has worked up this idea, using Hemingway’s terminology. Rheingold has developed a little protocol that can be used to check out how much faith you should put in online information. This is his Crap Test.

China moves away from ‘publish or perish’

The Chinese government has signaled that it will downgrade the importance of Science Citation Index (SCI) research metrics in assessments of academics and universities and, potentially, funding decisions.

How China’s new policy may change researchers’ publishing behavior

There is no doubt that the newly released policies, the new appraisal system and new requirements for increased publication in Chinese journals will influence Chinese researchers’ publishing behavior, and that the new sets of rules have the potential to change the landscape of China’s scientific research, as well as international scholarly communication. For international publishers, these new policies present both opportunities and challenges.

How indigenous doctoral students succeed

The experience of doctoral supervision is inherently intercultural. In a post and webinar from our series on mentoring, Dr. Nicola Pallit described the critical process of enculturation, that is, guiding the student into the  culture of academia,  research, and discipline. How is this experience different when the student comes from an Indigenous community?

Looking like a scientist

If you follow me on social media, you will see a new combination of foods multiple times a week. But I’m not a fashion account –  I’m a Food and Nutrition Scientist and Science Communicator. I say, “Come for the food fashion, stay for the food science!”

Open peer review in the humanities

Openness as both value and practice has infused the discourse around scholarship and the communication of ideas among many in the humanities, but old practices die hard. Is it that the current models meet the needs of these disciplines? Or is it merely a resistance to change?

How to return to academia from the industry

Are you currently in an industry position, but wondering what it would be like to return to academia? Are you a PhD student wondering if you can return to academia after time in industry, and how to do this? Then read on – this post is for you!