Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 11, 2019

“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.” – Robert Louis StevensonThis week’s collection of articles from around the web includes such topics as the user-centric future of academic research software, crowd-funding research projects, writing the thesis from the middle, evaluative focus groups, citations of friends and reviewers, and roadblocks to better open access models.

We close the collection with a book review of two new guides to academic life and a new approach to keeping up with academic publications – knowledge mapping.

Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.” As you work this week, may you continue to grow through what you read in a way that lets you produce more from what you write. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 4, 2019

“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” – Stephen KingThis week’s collection of posts from around the web is full of advice on a variety of topics of interest for academic and textbook authors. Topics include: creative thinking, co-writing, starting a PhD, starting a research network, dissemination of research, research feature creep, dissertation committee service, open access ethics, research data sharing, and academic book reviews.

As varied as this topic list may seem, collectively it represents some of the many questions and challenges faced by academic authors daily. Stephen King once said, “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” The same is true for your answers to these questions and challenges. If it doesn’t naturally fit your academic pursuits, it’s not the right path for this stage of your academic career. This week focus on the words that fit best for where you are in the process. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 27, 2019

“I don’t think of literature as an end in itself. It’s just a way of communicating something.” ~Isabel AllendeIsabel Allende once said, “I don’t think of literature as an end in itself. It’s just a way of communicating something.” In reflection on this quote, TAA member Caroline Eisner commented on our LinkedIn page, “Allende seems a strong proponent of the idea that writing needs to communicate something TO SOMEONE, a strong appeal to writing with audience awareness. As if, without that awareness, literature doesn’t exist? Just thinking out loud here.”

This week’s collection of articles addresses similar thought, with focus on what publications matter at what stages of your career; the idea that writing is more than technical skill, but rather a capacity to apply knowledge; and the ability to use our skills as examples to others through mentoring or models. As more colleges try classes without textbooks, discussed in our final article, it’s right to consider whether literature is an end in itself or just a way of communicating something.

As you write this week, consider your audience and your form of writing. Are they aligned and do they communicate the ideas you intend to share with those for whom they are intended? Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 20, 2019

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” – Ernest HemingwayThis week’s collection of articles from around the web is laden with questions. How do I approach an inter-disciplinary thesis? I’ve passed my comps – now what? How do I plan my first draft and get the right stuff in the right order? What are the ethical issues of working with literature? How can I be a good peer reviewer? How do we support research engagement? How can I deal with the growing complexities of international collaboration? And the theme across Peer Review Week 2019, how many ways can you define quality in peer review?

Ernest Hemingway once said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” As we come to the close of Peer Review Week 2019 it is fitting to remember that our peers are apprentices as well in this craft. None of us have all of the answers to the questions above or the countless others that face us as academic writers. We learn from each other and grow stronger in our writing and disciplines as a result. This week, embrace your apprenticeship status and Happy Writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 13, 2019

“You can fix anything but a blank page.” – Nora RobertsNora Roberts once said, “You can fix anything but a blank page.” As we prepare for Peer Review Week 2019 next week, we find in our collection of articles from around the web others looking ahead to the event and many other items for consideration in the world of academic writing.

Our list includes advice on what to do in between submission and examination of your thesis, methods for work-life balance, holistic approaches to teaching and mentoring researchers, gamification of academic writing, ethics in data science, pathways to open access, and the art and science of image description.

No matter where your textbook and academic writing efforts take you this week, be sure to start somewhere. After all, you can’t fix a blank page. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 6, 2019

Trust yourselfThis week’s collection of articles from around the web begins with prompts to stimulate your thinking and methods for finding papers for your literature review. It continues with the importance of validating faculty research, consideration of your timeline for finishing a PhD, and expectations when presenting research to an industry audience. Finally, we have some noteworthy industry news on cost per use value models, the value of the big deal, the Cengage-McGraw Hill merger, and a new textbook model at UC Davis.

Neil Gaiman once said, “The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.” This week, trust yourself and happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 23, 2019

“The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’ Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.” – Charles DickensFor many of us, we are at the start of a new academic year, whether as students, faculty, or both. This time of year is laden with opportunity and, oftentimes, apprehension and stress for what’s to come and all that needs to be accomplished. New years bring new challenges and new possibilities in a sea of ever-changing processes and populations.

This week’s collection of posts from around the web will hopefully help you find greater opportunities for success and purpose to the process as we explore the value of writing centers and writing groups, established and new research processes, and ways to improve scholarly communication and dissemination of research.

Charles Dickens wrote, “The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’ Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.” What have you been wishing for in your academic writing efforts? It’s time to stop wishing and start doing. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 16, 2019

“I start with a question. Then try to answer it.” – Mary Lee SettleMary Lee Settle once said, “I start with a question. Then try to answer it.” Isn’t this the foundation of academic work and writing? To find answers to questions. This week’s collection of articles from around the web share a few answers as well as new questions important to authors.

For those asking about the right tools for academic writing, we may have the answers in our first couple links. Wondering if there is a better way to describe academic writing than the pre-writing, writing, and post writing revision description commonly used, Pat Thomson may have the answer below. Questioning quality criteria in scholarship and science or the liability associated with linking to content on Sci-Hub, answers may await in this week’s collection. We also may have some answers (and even more questions) related to applying for an alt-ac job, teaching research methods, the future of FAIR, and the most recent law suit against Cengage by authors.

The world of textbook and academic writing is filled with questions and answers – some of which lead us to even more questions. This week, challenge yourself to answer the questions you have and to share them through your work. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 9, 2019

“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen.” ~ Bradley WhitfordThis week’s collection of posts from around the web is filled with actionable items you can incorporate into your textbook and academic writing process and life. We begin with some planning concepts and how to navigate an academic conference. Next we explore some details related to scholarly e-books and creating a culture of inquiry. Then we discuss options for saving reader time during the research stage of a project and ways to help and support precariat colleagues. Finally we include ideas for “thinking in public” by blogging research and for engaging in open source scholarly publishing.

Bradley Whitford encourages us to “Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen.” This week, take action to move your writing forward. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 2, 2019

“Great things don’t come from comfort zones.” ~ Roy T. BennettLet me warn you. This week’s collection of posts from around the web has several topics that may not be comfortable for textbook and academic authors. We begin with articles challenging the status quo for academic bios, the value of disability inclusion in the publishing industry, and the approach you take to turn your PhD into a book. More hot topic industry changes, specifically in light of recent announcements of Pearson’s “digital first” initiative and the Cengage-McGraw-Hill merger, also make this week’s list.

The changes to the publishing industry are not new, but in the recent months seem to be coming at a faster pace with greater impact to authors. That said, as you review the articles linked below, remember the wisdom of Roy T. Bennett who said, “Great things don’t come from comfort zones.” In the coming week, I encourage you to reach beyond your comfort zone in your pursuit of greatness. Happy writing! [Read more…]