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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: June 25, 2021

“I think you learn more if you’re laughing at the same time.” ~Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie BarrowsMary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows once said, “I think you learn more if you’re laughing at the same time.” Right or wrong, it never hurts to laugh and can add to the experience. In fact, emotions of many kinds are essential elements to our learning and academic writing efforts.

In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we see examples of emotion as it affects word choice, research strategy, racism and social justice issues, and more.

While writing this week, consider ways that you can add laughter to your process for both you and your readers. You might just learn something more as a result. Happy writing!


Often in the discussion around scholarly communication, we see pleas for authors to write in plainer language, and to minimize the use of jargon. While I understand the motivation behind this, wanting non-experts to be able to understand research, to me it works against the main purpose of the published research paper — to serve as a high-level conversation among experts.

A qual. research strategy – empathy mapping

A step towards dealing ethically with people in text is to use strategies which help you to understand why your participants do what they do, say what they say, behave as they behave. Here is one strategy that might be helpful for you in considering what’s going on for your participants. It’s called empathy mapping.

“Race & Social Justice” Titles See Strong Sales for 2021

When the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020 led to rallies for racial justice, sales surged of nonfiction books on racism and social justice issues. An NPD Bookscan analysis of year-to-date sales numbers show those titles remain hugely popular in 2021.

Open access at no cost? Just ditch academic journals

Abel’s post discusses the implications of Plan S, which requires scientists and researchers who benefit from state funding in member countries to publish their work in open repositories or in journals that are available to all (thanks, Wikipedia).

Planning in uncertain times

It seems some institutions aren’t even able to make basic decisions about calendar dates for the next academic year, much less how teaching will be delivered. Many Studio members wondered about how to plan in this situation, especially when we were looking at the whole year. In situations of high levels of uncertainty, you need a plan even more than you might otherwise. Planning is one practice that’s worth building into your regular activities.

Fat Fingers, Muscle Memory, Atomic Typos, or Why I Can’t Spell Orchid And What I’m Doing About It

I was joking with a friend at the weekend about words I can no longer spell thanks to my brain having become overly accustomed to the scholarly communications alternative – for example “orchid” (looks wrong to me, what’s that H doing there?) and aerial (surely it’s spelt Ariel? or even Arial?). I have a similar challenge with writing the word “date”, for which my fingers will (and just did) automatically type “data”. (Apparently, backspace is the third-most used button on the keyboard.)

A Scholar’s Guide to Getting Published in English: Critical Choices and Practical Strategies (my reading notes)

A good friend of mine (Dr. Myriam Houssay-Holzschuch, Université Grenoble Alpes) recommended two books and my website for anyone starting graduate school. One of them was “A Scholar’s Guide to Getting Published in English: Critical Choices and Practical Strategies” by Mary Jane Curry and Theresa Lillis. These two tweets summarize my very positive evaluation of this book.