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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 16, 2020

“The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes." ~Andre GideAndre Gide once said, “The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.” As academic authors we balance the creative process of writing (and ideas that may be perceived as madness) with the need to express those ideas through reason and logic. Along the writing journey we have to, therefore, be willing to prompt progress with madness and continue writing with reason. In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we find advice on both.

Included are mental models for writers, unusual essay writing tips, and completely maddening ideas like planning to rest. These are balanced with practical advice on things like style, tone and grammar, launching a book during a pandemic, and building a credible web presence.

Whatever you are working on this week, be fueled by the madness of your ideas and anchored in the reason of your writing process. Happy writing!

Mental models for writers and the empowered indie author with Michael LaRonn

Writing is absolutely about the practical step of getting words on the page — but your mindset can make the difference between success and failure, as well as how much you enjoy the author journey. In this interview, Michael La Ronn outlines mental models for writers, facing our fears to break through to creative success, as well as practical tips about writing on mobile and self-publishing effectively.

3 Unusual essay writing tips for first-year students

Even the abundance of guides online can’t help in some cases. When you find yourself in this sort of scenario, you have to think of an unconventional approach. And while it’s virtually impossible to beat practice, there are certain unusual tips and tricks that might help you with your writing process. So here is how you can try and improve your essay writing skills in an unorthodox way.

Learn about qualitative data analysis with Christina Silver’s free videos!

Trying to figure out NVivo, Atlas T.I., MAXQDA? You’ll want to visit SAGE author Christina Silver’s new YouTube channel! On her channel you can find instructional videos for the pedagogy she co-developed with Nick Woolf – the Five-Level QDA method – and recordings from her recently launched CAQDAS webinar series.

Style, tone and grammar – native speaker bias in peer reviews

All writing is an act of expressing parts of our identities, and many students are still forming their identities as academic writers, making them less able to argue against native speaker bias in reviews. If the student is a non-native writer of English as well, the damage can be multiplied.

Parallel peer review at Cell Press: An interview with Deborah Sweet

Cell Press recently announced a new initiative called Community Review. The initiative tackles the core inefficiency of the current peer review system: articles often have to be reviewed at multiple journals before finding the right place where they ‘fit’. This wastes reviewer and editorial effort at the rejecting journals and introduces major delays to the publication process. Community Review has some similarities with the concept of independent peer review, as peer review is taking place outside the confines of a single journal and ‘fit’ for different Cell Press journals is assessed in parallel. To learn more about this initiative I contacted Deborah Sweet (Vice President of Editorial at Cell Press).

How to launch a book during a pandemic

When I talked to my publisher in early April, I expressed doubts over moving forward with the publication date due to the pandemic. My editor recommended that we “keep moving as normal.” Moving forward with publication plans would ensure that my book would be available in the fall—which, we anticipated, might be the end of the pandemic. “You’ll be ready to go once places are ready to open again,” she told me. So how can you be successful in publishing during a pandemic?

Tips for building a credible web presence

If potential participants search for you online, will they find a digital identity that supports your role as a respectable and trustworthy researcher? What steps can you take to create boundaries between your online identities for private and professional/research lives?

What is your plan to rest?

There is a lot of research on the impact of fatigue and long hours on productivity (a word I normally avoid). Working more hours is effective in a crunch. If you work a 60 hour week for a short period (a week, maybe 2), you will get more done. However, if you always work 60 hours a week, you will get no more done than if you worked a 40 hour week.

Digital detox after reading Digital Minimalism

After reading Digital Minimalism, I set out to do a 30-day digital detox. The social media network that felt the least satisfying to me at that time was Facebook, so I disabled my account. I put my phone on silent, removed all social media and other time-sucking apps from my phone, and got to focus on my work.

5 Ways to fund your Ph.D. degree

Unfortunately, as much as we value individualism, sometimes it is easier to force yourself to study when there’s an exam waiting for you behind the corner than if you were to set the goals for yourself. However, even if you decide that you want to get a Ph.D. degree, there might be another issue: money. That’s why we have prepared this article; in a moment, you will learn how to get Ph.D. funding. Let’s go!

Enago hosts a virtual conference on the future of research and higher education with a Nobel Laureate as the keynote speaker

See The Future takes place on November 17 and 18, 2020. The virtual program includes a keynote session, a selection of webinars, panel discussions, online presentations, and interactive Q&A sessions with leading professionals in the research education and publishing sectors.

Elsevier has deployed an end-user tracking tool for security. Should users be concerned about their privacy?

Earlier this year, Elsevier quietly began using a tracking system to detect potentially fraudulent behavior on their sites. This should come as a surprise to exactly no one. Elsevier and other publishers have been concerned about malicious behavior on their sites for a very long time. Elsevier is not the only publisher to use this class of online fraudulent behavior security service. There are other publishers using the same service that Elsevier is using. The question is, what is this service doing and is it problematic. As with all things in technology and, in particular online security, the answer isn’t so simple.

PLOS announces new APC-free open access agreements test alternative funding models

Jisc, the digital solutions provider for education and research in the UK, and the Public Library of Science (PLOS) today announced two 3-year Open Access (OA) agreements that allow researchers to publish in PLOS journals without incurring article processing charges (APC). This is the first time that a large university consortium has provided collective agreements as an alternative to APCs at this scale. Jisc and PLOS will also collaborate on future data, metrics, and tools for institutions to evaluate OA publishing agreements.