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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 5, 2021

As we reach the first Friday in November – also recognized as Academic Writing Month or AcWriMo in our textbook and academic authoring world – we look for ways to add productivity to our projects, to seek completion of our manuscripts, and to evaluate the why behind what we are working to accomplish.

Whether you are taking part in our TAA Preview Week (11/1-11/7), joining for our AcWriMo webinar series on Putting Your Dream of Publication to the Test, or finding your own approach to building a stronger writing practice, we hope these resources help. Happy writing!

Pro Tips from a NaNo Coach: How to Meet Your NaNoWriMo Goal

Because writing is a freaking adventure. The kind with unknown obstacles, pitfalls (possibly of quicksand, more likely research rabbit holes) where you’d better bring the write weapon (both pen and sword), pack the Takis, don’t forget to hydrate and wear comfortable shoes. This endeavor should be taken on with equal parts trepidation and glee. But how do we start?

Why a PhD can feel pointless (and what to do about it)

Of course, no PhD is truly pointless. My PhD enabled me to get here, now – talking to you. For more than a decade, this blog has existed and I know it’s helped many people. But contemplating my PhD against the sheer scale of all human knowledge takes me to dark places. I want to talk about the feeling of PhD pointlessness because I think it’s a huge problem, especially now, a couple of decades into the already turbulent 21st century.

The Fun Way to Learn How to “Show, Don’t Tell”

There are myriad choices a writer has to make in order to “show” and not “tell” a scene. Writers are often told they need to show, which in essence means to create visual scenes the reader can “watch” unfold as they read. But telling a writer to “show” is vague. Just how do you show?

Revising? try a four step approach

Many people approach revising as if it is a single shot process. They tell themselves, “I’m just going to sit down now and revise my paper”. But revising and refining a text are not one activity, they are several. The writer who thinks that revision is a onesie could be setting themselves up to feel daunted by the magnitude of what needs to be done, and potentially frustrated if it doesn’t all come together in the one big writing stint. At a minimum, revising consists of four interconnected, interlocking and circular steps.

Is Scientific Communication Fit for Purpose?

Science is a process. We tack towards discovery, towards truth, because the process encourages curiosity, critical thinking, experimentation, correction, and, at least in recent years, competition. When it runs properly, the process as a whole, over the course of time, is trustworthy. To be sure, individual scientists misbehave and scientific works are riddled with problems, but the process seeks truth.

Rebuilding & Rethinking US Information Infrastructure

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication make a case to include support for NPR and PBS in any infrastructure funding outlays. Victor Pickard is professor of media policy and political economy at the Annenberg School in Philadelphia, where he co-directs the Media, Inequality, & Change Center. He is the author of Democracy without Journalism. In an op-ed this summer for the Columbia Journalism Review, Pickard and Annenberg colleague Timothy Neff called for creation of a public media safety net that would deliver trustworthy information and access to democracy.

What are Open Educational Resources and how do they fit into the growing landscape of Open Access scholarly materials?

NSR’s Mirela Roncevic recently gave a presentation to a group of educators, professors, and librarians on Open Educational Resources (OERs) and their place in the growing landscape of Open Access scholarly publishing. Follow this link to access the PDF of the slides.