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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: July 2, 2021

“The content of a book holds the power of education and it is with this power that we can shape our future and change lives.” – Malala YousafzaiWhy is textbook and academic authoring significant? According to Malala Yousafzai, “The content of a book holds the power of education and it is with this power that we can shape our future and change lives.” That seems like a pretty compelling significance to our work.

So how do we ensure what we produce is the best we can provide to our readers? In this week’s collection of articles from around the web we find advice on avoiding procrastination, making your case stronger, conducting research online, and the value of OER in teaching. We also find insight into quirky publishing practices, working with teams, acting professionally, protecting your rights as a postdoc, and journal relevance.

Whatever you’re writing this week, know that its contents hold the power of educating people, shaping the future, and changing lives, so do it well. Happy writing!

Procrastination vs. Real Writing Crisis: How to Tell the Difference

You’re not writing. It’s been a few weeks now, and your regular writing routine has gone out the window. Are you struggling with a legitimate writing crisis, or are you just procrastinating? It’s not always easy to tell the difference. If you’re not writing and you’re not sure why, ask yourself these questions to find out.

Make your case stronger – argue against yourself

It is often useful to spend a little time with different points of view and opposing arguments in order to strengthen your own. Here’s five playful but serious starter ideas for getting your head around arguments other than your own. These starters may well help you to see where you need more clarification, more boundary drawing, more references or additional information.

More Ways to Conduct Research Online: Open Access Examples

When you think of “online research,” what comes to mind? Expand the possibilities by looking at this eclectic, multidisciplinary, global collection of open access studies that use a wide range of methods, from diaries to surveys, focus groups to content analysis!

OER and Teaching Through the Rearview Mirror

Course content is a sacred compact between the instructor and the learner. Truth, relevancy and currency are among the key components of that agreement. In this 21st century, technologies are changing the landscape of industry and society at a rate not previously documented. Are our courses keeping up?

Of Brown M&M’s and Publishing in Academic Journals

Some academic journals, and the editors of such journals have developed odd, and sometimes angering reputations for onerous, arcane, and seemingly arbitrary formatting requirements of manuscripts submitted for review. Rather than simply stick with the standard format of the chosen field of study (e.g., Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th Edition), some journals require manuscripts be formatted in a unique way.

Working With Teams

Our series of game writing episodes draws to a close with a discussion about working with teams. This last skill set, these ways in which you learn to excel at collaborative projects, is often far more important than any of your other skills.

Act Like A Professional

Now that in-person conferences are back, it’s a good time to review proper etiquette for these gatherings. I’ve been teaching at writers conferences for over twenty years, and I’ve seen a ton of aspiring writers in various stages of disequilibrium. Everyone wants to get a book contract and everyone’s a little scared they never will. They hear stories about the odds and it sends shivers to the tips of their typing fingers. Those who persevere have a chance.

Postdocs on the margin

If you are considering an overseas postdoc, watch out for the not-student, not-employee trap. Universities love to promote themselves as inclusive, welcoming and supportive but then systematically exclude postdocs from both employee and student benefits. So, even if you find a great supervisor or research team who can give you valuable experience, consider whether the institution will also treat you as a valued employee or just another piece of cheap disposable labour.

Clarivate Releases Journal Citation Reports, Naming the World’s Leading Journals

The annual JCR release enables the research community to evaluate the world’s high-quality academic journals using a range of indicators, descriptive data and visualizations. The reports are used extensively by academic publishers across the globe to evaluate the impact of their journals relative to their field and promote them to the research community.