Posted on

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 15, 2021

“A man's mind, stretched by new ideas, may never return to its original dimensions.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said, “A man’s mind, stretched by new ideas, may never return to its original dimensions.” As textbook and academic authors, our writing should not only stretch our minds, but the minds of our readers.

In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we explore what it means to write an academic argument, practical advice for conducting research, and differences in editing processes. We also found information on industry trends regarding publisher relations with libraries and higher education, a call for acceleration of open science, social and economic changes in publishing due to the pandemic, and why and how authors should build their own email lists.

This week I encourage you to stretch your mind with new ideas so you can better serve to stretch the minds of others. Happy writing!

Writing argument – it’s not (always) a contest

When an argument is academic, we generally mean something much more reasoned. Something which proceeds logically. Something which produces supporting evidence for both claims and conclusions. But academic argument can – and often does – proceed with the same kind of conquer and destroy mind-set as the non-academic argument. An academic writer may see the purpose of their argument as converting others to their point of view. They think that they have to “prove” their thesis by anticipating and rejecting all possibilities other than the one they are advancing. They aim for a rhetorical knockout.

Practical <> conceptual questions

In our troubled times, we are surrounded by real problems. Basic assumptions we held even a year ago are in many cases no longer on firm ground, given that the global Covid-19 pandemic has shaken up the ways we live, work, teach, learn, and conduct research. Meanwhile researchers are under increased pressure to demonstrate impact, that is, to show that their findings can in some way make the world a better place. Some already know how to do this, in particular action researchers and those who conduct evaluations.

The differences between line editing, copy editing, and proofreading

For guidance, I turned to the authority, the Chicago manual. Yet even that widely accepted all-knowing guide doesn’t make a distinction among editing levels: “Manuscript editing, also called copy editing or line editing, requires attention to every word and mark of punctuation in a manuscript, a thorough knowledge of the style to be followed, and the ability to make quick, logical, and defensible decisions.” New authors are often confused about what level of editing they need, and rightly so. I hope to offer insight into the differences between line editing, copy editing, and proofreading.

Evaluating publishers as partners with libraries and higher education

No library can subscribe to every publication that might be of interest to their communities. Most academic libraries base collections and resource allocation decisions on quantifiable metrics, such as cost per use. These are important considerations, but they are not holistic. Traditional, quantifiable, collections-based metrics overlook a wide range of important aspects of relationships between academic libraries, their institutions, and suppliers of one kind or another. One such aspect is determining whether the business practices of a supplier/vendor support or match the mission and values of the library.

Springer Nature CEO calls for greater collaboration across the research community to accelerate open science, building on lessons learnt from COVID-19

Frank Vrancken Peeters, Chief Executive Officer of leading OA publisher Springer Nature, will today call for greater partnership within publishing and the wider research community, pointing to the benefits such engagement has delivered over the past year during the coronavirus pandemic.

Uncertainty for 2021 as pandemic lingers

Offering insights on a range of book business sectors, including K-12 and higher education, the recently released independent report COVID-19 and Book Publishing: Impacts and Insights for 2021 looks beyond the trade bookselling sector to examine broader social and economic changes the pandemic has forced on publishing.

How to start, build, and grow your email list

One of the most essential steps you’ll ever take when preparing for your book launch and starting your career as a serious author is your email subscription list. Having a good, strong, dependable email list of actively engaged subscribers is crucial to your success as a writer and your book’s success. And as daunting as it sounds, it’s really not that difficult to get one started! But before we dive into the how-to of list-building, let’s first lay the foundation on the why.