The new academic year – Virtually the same as any other

virtual learningBy now the academic term is in effect at schools across the country. And it’s business as usual – well virtually, at least. There’s no doubt that amid the strange circumstances of this pandemic year, a lot has changed in the way academia is operating. Socially distanced classrooms, masked faces throughout the hallways, limited gatherings on campus, and new methods of course delivery to support faculty and learners who remain off campus are just a few of the changes seen as we start the new academic year.

Despite all this change, the new academic year is still an academic year and we still have the business of teaching, learning, and scholarly writing to attend to along the way. So, here are five suggestions to maintain a virtually successful academic practice. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: July 17, 2020

“I’m always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” ~Pablo PicassoSo, what are you unable to do…yet? As academics, we value the learning process. We seek change and opportunity to do things differently. Better. We explore new avenues for growth and development. Pablo Picasso might have summed up the life of an academic in his personal statement, “I’m always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

This week’s collection of articles from around the web incorporates this growth mindset at both the individual level and within the larger scholarly publishing industry. We found posts on opportunities to stabilize publishing practices, develop a safe haven for writing, and new ways to protect intellectual ownership rights. We also found insight into success as an academic parent and ways to recharge in preparation for the new academic year. Finally, we see new opportunities in transformative open access.

The only constant in life is change. This week I encourage you to do something which you cannot (yet) do, in order to learn how to do it. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 10, 2020

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop.” ~ConfuciusThis week’s collection of articles from around the web focuses on some core elements of success: self-care, personal belief systems, fresh thinking, fundamentals, integrity, and being able to stand for something. As the first full week of 2020 comes to an end, these articles remind us of the importance of core values and beliefs in our daily work.

Confucius once said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop.” Be sure to judge yourself and your progress against your own goals and beliefs rather than the influences or expectations around you and keep going toward those goals in the year ahead. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 25, 2019

“Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.” – Carl SaganAs we come to the close of Open Access Week 2019, having been faced with the challenge of considering this year’s theme, “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”, the words of Carl Sagan seem even more appropriate. “Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.”

This week’s collection of articles from around the web begins with some relevant discussions on open access including an MIT-developed framework for negotiating contracts with scholarly publishers, the future of open access business models, discussion about ownership of research, and the first 100 books from Johns Hopkins University Project. We’ve also included some other hot topics for academic authors on grant writing, being an older student, and being a minority in academia.

Wherever your writing takes you this week, whether publishing open access or traditional, consider the audience you can reach and the shackles of time you can break as a result of your efforts. Happy writing! [Read more…]

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: 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…]

For lagging doctoral candidates: How to finish your dissertation and keep your family

work from homeIf you are in the throes of your dissertation, you probably realize that, other than yourself, your family is most affected by your dissertation, and they most affect your progress. It can be hard for family members to understand what you’re going through and must continue to endure for several years.

A poignant example from one of my dissertation coaching clients: Ava wailed to me, “I get calls daily from my mother, my three sisters, and my two cousins! They all say they’re tired of me not coming to the family events. I had to go to the reunion!”

Like Ava’s relatives, family can start squeezing you. [Read more…]

The Why: Explaining the significance of your research

The Why: Explaining the significance of your researchIn the first four articles of this series, we examined The What: Defining a research project, The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment, The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research, and The Who: Finding key sources in the existing literature. In this article, we will explore the fifth, and final, W of academic writing, The Why: Explaining the significance of your research. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 3, 2019

"You fail only if you stop writing." ~Ray BradburyThis week’s collection of articles from around the web is full of opportunities. Opportunities to improve your academic reading practice, to tell your story, to make your writing more interesting, to broadcast your research, or to go freelance. It’s also filled with challenges and uncertainty. Challenges of parenting and academia, predatory journals, the uncertain future of university presses, neurodiversity in scholarly publishing, and the affect of the planned merger between Cengage and McGraw-Hill on the textbook market.

With each opportunity comes challenge and uncertainty. Equally so, with each challenge or uncertainty comes opportunity. As Ray Bradbury once said, “You fail only if you stop writing.” So, here’s to success. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 26, 2019

person actively working on a laptopIt’s the end of April. A time when many academics are faced with countless deadlines, upcoming graduations, and new beginnings – all of which carrying their own advantages and challenges. In this week’s collection of posts from around the web, we find advice and resources to promote success in those academic endeavors.

First, if actively writing, don’t overlook the value of editing in the process and be open to potential changes in your plan as you balance your ideal with the reality of deadlines. To support your writing efforts, explore the advantages that personal industry groups and artificial intelligence tools may provide. Keep in mind the reality of semester rhythms, associated burnout, and the need to find balance among your various work-related efforts. Finally, for those embarking on new beginnings as the academic year comes to a close, we share information on the first Read and Publish deal in the US and a list of academic job interview questions (and how to answer them).

As you enter this next week, take things as they come. Focus on each task without getting lost in the potential overwhelm of everything that this part of the academic season often brings. Find a balance for your work. Enjoy the endings and completions, and look forward to the beginnings lying ahead. And through it all, happy writing! [Read more…]