Distinguishing features of academic writing #5: Accuracy

accuracyIn our final discussion of this series on distinguishing features of academic writing, we focused on accuracy. Specifically, we considered what it means to be accurate, how understanding and vocabulary affects accuracy, how to check for accuracy in sources we use, how accuracy affects the structure, style, and grammar of a manuscript, and why accuracy is important in academic writing. Below is a summary of the discussion. [Read more…]

TAA Webinar: A Crash Course in Creative Commons Licensing

Did you know that over 1 billion works — including scholarly articles and a growing number of academic textbooks — have been licensed with a Creative Commons (CC) license? Though widely adopted, these continually-updated, legally-enforceable tools remain a mystery to academic writers. Many authors are unaware of the permissions afforded to them through the CC licenses, and many are unaware of permissions afforded to users when a specific CC license is applied to their work by an open-access publisher.

Join us and presenters Danielle S. Apfelbaum, Senior Assistant Librarian at Farmingdale State College, and Derek Stadler, Assistant Professor at LaGuardia Community College, Monday, April 6 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET for the TAA Webinar, “A Crash Course in Creative Commons Licensing”, to understand how copyright and the CC licenses work in concert to protect author rights while communicating additional permissions to users, identify and interpret each of the six CC licenses, determine how CC-licensed materials may or may not be used without permission in traditional and open publications, and select a license should attendees wish to openly license their work.

This webinar is open to members and non-members in our effort to support writers during this difficult time. Register here

Distinguishing features of academic writing #4: Objectivity

fresh work area with a blank screen on the laptopA good researcher is objectively seeking answers to their research questions and reporting those findings objectively to the community at large. But what does it mean to write objectively? How do we maintain objectivity where possible? Finally, how do we make efforts to identify and avoid bias in our academic writing?

In our fourth discussion of the distinguishing features of academic writing, we discussed all of these questions. A summary of the discussion and related resources is below. [Read more…]

Seeking contributors for forthcoming TAA book, ‘Guide to Making Time to Write​’

Have you developed a successful time management or productivity strategy? Do you use any software or tools that have been particularly helpful in managing your time or boosting your productivity?

Share your time management or productivity tips or strategies for possible inclusion in TAA’s forthcoming book, ​”​Guide to Making Time to Write: 100+ Time & Project Management Tips for Textbook and Academic Authors​”.​

All contributors will receive a complimentary ebook version upon publication!

Submit your contributions

2020 TAA Council elections – Cast your vote

Six candidates are running for two open positions on the TAA Council, the association’s governing board. Terms begin July 1, 2020. Council members serve three-year terms.

A link to the ballot was emailed to TAA members on March 16. To be eligible to vote, individuals must be members in good standing. If you are a TAA member and cannot vote electronically, contact Kim Pawlak at Kim.Pawlak@TAAonline.net or (507) 459-1363 to request a paper ballot. The deadline for voting is April 12.  [Read more…]

TAA Webinar: Revising Scholarly Manuscripts – Quickly and Well

Join us Thursday, March 12, from 2-3 p.m. ET for a TAA Webinar presented by Tara Gray, author of Publish & Flourish: Become a Prolific Scholar, entitled Revising Scholarly Manuscripts—Quickly and Well. Learn how to organize paragraphs around key or topic sentences and how to organize manuscripts around an “after-the-fact” or “reverse” outline. You will also learn how to solicit and use informal feedback effectively by asking just the right readers for feedback and by asking specific questions, such as, “What one place in the manuscript is least clear? Least organized? Least persuasive Organization is the skeleton of a manuscript, its very structure. Get it right and the manuscript works. Get it wrong and it doesn’t.

[Read more…]

Copibec Settlement Announcement: Are You Owed Settlement Funds?

textbooksAs part of the settlement of a Canadian class action suit brought by Copibec, Quebec’s reprographic rights organization, against the Université Laval in Quebec, certain American authors are entitled to compensatory damages related to possible moral rights violations. To be eligible, the authors or their estates must have been identified in the university’s 2013-2014 user log entries, which have been provided to Authors Coalition of America (“ACA”). Please look for your name here: Copibec Author List.

If you find your name, visit the ACA website at www.authorscoalition.org to learn how to collect your pro-rata share of the settlement funds. The payment eligibility deadline is June 10, 2020, so don’t delay. If you have any questions, contact Dorien Kelly, ACA Administrator, at dkelly@authorscoalition.org.

In Memoriam: William E. Boyce

William BoyceTAA member William E. Boyce, Professor Emeritus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and author of several textbooks, including Elementary Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems (11e), and many monographs and journal articles, died on November 4, 2019.

Boyce joined TAA in 1987 and became a Lifetime Emeritus Member last year.

He received his B.A. degree in Mathematics from Rhodes College, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mathematics from Carnegie-Mellon University. In 1993, he became the Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor of Science Education at Rensselaer and at retirement was awarded the title Edward P. Hamilton Professor Emeritus. Boyce was chairman of the Department of Mathematics Graduate Committee and coordinator of Master of Science program in Applied Mathematics and very involved in course and curriculum development all through his career.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of William Edward Boyce to Unity House of Troy, Inc. 2431 6th Ave., Troy, NY, 12180.

Distinguishing features of academic writing #3: Formality

formalityAmerican poet, W.S. Merwin once said, “The idea of writing, to me, was, from the beginning, writing something which was a little different from the ordinary exchange of speech. It was something that had a certain formality, something in which the words were of interest in themselves.” Perhaps this same sentiment is the foundational principle from which academic writing has gotten its distinguishing feature of formality – to provide something in which the words are of interest in themselves.

In our third discussion of the distinguishing features of academic writing, we discussed what makes academic writing formal, the purpose of such formality, effect of formality on tone and word choice, whether there are levels of formality acceptable in academic writing, and ways to improve the formality of academic writing efforts. [Read more…]

2020 Textbook Contracts & Royalties Survey

Are you curious what royalty rates other textbook authors are receiving for print and digital books? What about what they’ve been able to negotiate regarding first right of refusal, the sunset clause, or royalties for bulk, wholesale and foreign editions?

If you are a published textbook author, we invite you to participate in the Textbook & Academic Authors Association’s 2020 Textbook Contracts & Royalties Survey, which aims to provide a look into the range of royalties and contract options offered for print and digital textbooks. [Read more…]