Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 20, 2020

“Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.” ~Henry David ThoreauSome things are nearly certain in academic writing – especially uncertainty. Our collection of articles from around the web this week begins with embracing uncertainty for greater productivity and includes other valuable insight and resources.

Included in the list are the value of intellectual engagement, prompts for writing with literature, visuals in research, and safeguarding your research. The key to overcoming uncertainty, however, is to write. And to write now. Henry David Thoreau once said, “Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.” Happy writing!

When it comes to being productive, it’s best to embrace uncertainty

A lot of us in the research sector instinctively believe that we can become more efficient by careful planning. We enforce these plans by making to-do lists, deciding when we will leave the house and arrive for appointments, and by reminding ourselves (and those around us) that we have a plan to follow — and this plan must be adhered to. There’s a secret you might not like to hear — but I need to be honest. If you think you’ll ever find a plan which works perfectly: you’re kidding yourself.

Want to write a book?

For the 2020 MethodSpace AcWriMo we aim to catalyze new thinking about Publishing Trends (and what they mean for academic writers.) See the whole series here. In 2019 our AcWriMo focus was on writing books: academic, professional, texts, or edited collections. I’ve assembled the entire series into the document below.

The value of intellectual engagement

Burnout and stress are not just about the quantity of work you have to do. Lack of control and a sense of meaninglessness are major contributors to burnout. It has become very clear that your difficulty managing your workload is not a personal failing. You are being asked to do too much. Furthermore, the conditions in which you are being asked to teach are not adequate.

Seven prompts for writing with literatures

Here are a few prompts which you can use to write a chunk – for yourself or your supervisor – about the reading you have been doing. You could do any of the responses to these prompts as a timed writing session (a pomodoro), or you could set yourself a word or time target.

Visuals in research

One widely-acknowledged trend is a shift towards digital. In the online world we expect to communicate and learn visually. In this video, MethodSpace contributor Dr. Jane Shore shares some reasons why researchers we need to do a better job of visual communication in order to create real impact and change.

Safeguarding research in a policy commons

The recently launched Policy Commons hopes to fireproof the online library of the Internet, at least where it comes to policy documents and research papers.

cOAlition S releases the Journal Checker Tool, a search engine that checks Plan S compliance

cOAlition S is excited to announce today, 18 November, the release of the Journal Checker Tool (JCT) in beta. The JCT is a web-based tool which provides clear advice to researchers on how they can comply with their funder’s Plan S-aligned Open Access policy when seeking to publish in their chosen journal. During this open testing phase, the community will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the JCT and provide feedback, so that the tool increases its readiness ahead of the implementation of Plan S in January 2021.