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: March 22, 2019

"I've discovered that sometimes writing badly can eventually lead to something better. Not writing at all leads to nothing." ~Anna Quindlen“I’ve discovered that sometimes writing badly can eventually lead to something better. Not writing at all leads to nothing.” This advice from Anna Quindlen frames our collection of articles this week.

Recognizing the quality of our efforts and focusing on ways to improve our contribution to the field is core to writing success. We begin this week’s collection with an examination of effective feedback, finding the gap in the research, and getting into a habit of data management. We then explore the challenges and benefits of balancing family and academic lives. Finally, we close with a look at textbook subscriptions in the publishing market and how to construct a CV for the academic job market.

Whatever the state of your writing or career this week, start where you are, no matter how bad, it can eventually lead to something better, but doing nothing will certainly lead to nothing. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: February 1, 2019

"Words are a lens to focus one's mind." ~Ayn RandAyn Rand once said, “Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.” As you reflect on the first month of 2019, where are your words? Where is your focus? Whatever your focus, you may find you are not alone as you explore this week’s collection of posts from around the web.

Our first three articles provide insight for those focused on self care, financial support for their research, or improving their teaching and learning of writing. Our next set of articles share thoughts for those focused on greater access and sharing of ideas and data with other researchers. Finally, we have found articles focused on the continued learning process associated with new vocabulary or methods.

Wherever your focus is at this stage of your writing, use your words this week to bring those ideas into greater clarity. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: December 21, 2018

"You are far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way."“You are far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way.” Our inspirational message to start the week, once again, frames our list of posts from around the web.

This week’s collection of articles begins with a common problem – selecting a research topic and continues with opportunities to share and recognize early stage research. We then explore the presence and impact of data and theory in our academic work, including sources of data, the impact of big data on scientific method, and how theory makes us feel stupid. Our collection closes with articles focused on scholarly communication and ethical challenges of online communities.

Whatever challenges may exist in the process, the key to success is finding the solution. As you close out 2018 in the week to come, focus on the solutions and don’t be the only thing standing in your way. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: October 26, 2018

Excuses don't get it written.Several weeks ago, I saw a woman at my son’s karate dojo with a shirt that read “Excuses don’t burn calories.” This became the inspiration for this week’s quotable image, “Excuses don’t get it written.” Beginning this week’s collection of posts from around the Web is the topic of procrastination. Following that are strategies for reading, writing, revision, and data analysis. We then explore the problems of success, and close with some Open Access Week related content on OER and equitable participation in open research.

Whatever you’re working on this week, don’t put it off. After all, excuses don’t get it written (or burn calories). Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: May 11, 2018

"You're writing someones 'future' favorite book." ~M. KirinOne thing’s for certain in life. The future is always unwritten. No matter the past experiences or institutional standards, we must change, adapt, and grow with each day – and our writing must as well.

This week’s collection of articles from around the web begins with writing habits, creative research methods, practices for overcoming writer’s block, and ways to evaluate data sources. It continues with exploration of fears and uncertainties related to sharing grant applications and pursuing a PhD as a single parent. Finally, we close with considerations of changes in subscription models, including cancellations of traditional journal subscriptions by universities, and the impact of recent changes in how Facebook is sharing data with the research community.

M. Kirin reminds all authors that “you’re writing someone’s ‘future’ favorite book.” Despite any challenges, fear, anxieties, or past experiences, I hope this week you can focus on the future and share your message through your writing. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: February 13, 2015

“Don’t be afraid to write crap because Don't be afraid to write crap because crap makes great fertilizer.crap makes great fertilizer.” This quote by Jessica Brody not only put a smile on my face but also rang very true for me. Sometimes our words barely flow or are incoherent in those first drafts, but that’s okay. As John Dufresne says, “The purpose of the first draft is not to get it right, but to get it written.” It’s easy to use perfectionism as an excuse not to get words down. Maybe the “crap” that you write will not be salvageable even for fertilizer, but even so, it will get the words flowing. So next time you sit down to write, remember, even “crap makes great fertilizer” and allow yourself to just write. Happy writing! [Read more…]