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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 9, 2021

“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” ~Chinese ProverbAcademic and textbook authors are in a unique position of being both active learners and teachers (even if not in official teaching positions) through our writing. In order to make contributions to the field, we must continue to explore, learn, and grow in our discipline, but through our writing and contributions, we also write with the intention of teaching others.

This week’s collection of articles has some great resources for continuing to learn to be a stronger writer. We begin with designing an ethical study, overcoming writer’s block, taking notes, and mapping your research design. We then look at strengthening our manuscripts and the revision process. Finally, we explore industry trends of email newsletters, version of record, open access, and hybrid publishing.

A Chinese Proverb says, “Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” This week, I challenge you not only to continue opening doors for others through your written teachings, but also to find some new doors to enter yourself whether in your discipline or in your writing and publication processes. Happy writing!

Designing an ethical study: A summary

This lively month included contributions from Mentor in Residence, Dr. Cheryl Poth. We also hosted a webinar with follow up Q & A posts, open-access resources, library reading lists on SAGE Research Methods, and more. Find the whole series in the list.

Overcoming “writer’s block” with index cards and memorandums

This past week, I taught 2 workshops, 1 for the Association of Iberian and Latin American Studies of Australasia (AILASA) and another one (over 2 days) for Rutgers University Newark’s School of Graduate Studies. During both workshops, I got asked the same question about fighting “writer’s block” (“Professor Pacheco-Vega, how do you fight Writer’s Block, what would be the easiest strategy to overcome it?”, and I answered with exactly the same strategy in both cases): The trusty and humble “index card” and the memorandum.

Information indigestion? The search for a perfect note taking system

My best advice is to let go of the need to have a perfect ‘system’ and develop a ‘good enough’ set of solutions that work for you. Below is a set of notes on how I take notes. It’s not pretty, but it works.

Map your research design

A challenge for researchers is that we need to not only design studies, we also must be able to explain our rationale to others. Is the design coherent? Is the purpose evident? These are two questions reviewers want to answer when they are trying to decide whether to approve or fund a proposal. Can you show and tell them how the pieces of your design fit, and why they make sense? Maybe a concept map can help?

Want a stronger manuscript? Read it aloud

The bottom line is that we can read in our heads super fast. But when we read out loud, we’re forced to form the words with our mouths, which takes more time. This results in a slower process, and when we slow down, the brain can more accurately see what it’s reading.

Ghosts in the text

Paintings are not the only type of text where previous versions re-emerge, bleed through, haunt the present. Pentimento happens in writing too. A version of writings past appears in a new text – this often happens when we are revising. When we cut and paste from one text into another, or rewrite and restructure using bits of what went before, we can carry forward vestiges of the previous version(s). And this can be a problem.

What every writer needs to know about email newsletters (they’re not going away)

Even as you and I are witnessing this 2021 crush of both tech companies and individual writers into the newsletter game, it’s crucial to understand that these developments are not new. (Neither are the, uh, sometimes-controversial politics.) The difference is how newsletters are being reshaped by the internet and related trends in the larger economy.

Publishers care about the version of record, do researchers?

Control of the “Version of Record” has come to serve as one of the greatest assets of scholarly publishers. It allows them to maintain their centrality in the scholarly communication system. An important strand of the green open access movement has as its purpose to disrupt the value of the Version of Record (VOR). In turn, publishers are struggling to maintain control on this front. In the end, the set of views about the VOR that matter most are those of researchers. The recently released white paper Exploring Researcher Preference for the Version of Record adds to our understanding by bringing researcher perceptions into this conversation.

Librarians’ perceptions and motivations for supporting collaborative models for open access monographs

As part of my doctoral research at the University of Zagreb—which examines the factors that contribute to the sustainability of collaborative Open Access (OA) models for scholarly books (i.e., monographs)—I recently surveyed librarians across Europe with knowledge of or dealings with OA monographs and collaborative OA business models designed to finance their publishing.

Everything you’ve always wanted to know: Hybrid publishing

I’ll begin by explaining what a hybrid publisher is (and isn’t) and conclude with questions you may want to ask if you decide to explore this option. In between, I’ll share what 10 authors had to say about why they chose the hybrid path, what they liked best and least, and what advice they would give to others.