Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 7, 2021

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.” ~C.S. LewisAcademia serves a purpose of feeding the future, of taking minds with a limited set of knowledge and helping them realize that while they may have a perspective of vast understanding, the potential for growth and development of their understanding exists in a limitless amount of barren space. It is from this mindset that I believe C.S. Lewis claimed, “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”

I have read that quote numerous times, and as an educator and author myself, taught and thought from the perspective that in a world of information overload, we are in a different era than Lewis and have a new responsibility of cutting down jungles to help our students see clearly. As I write this week’s article and review the resources shared below, I instead think that our job, particularly as textbook and academic authors, must be to take our readers to the edge of the jungle, show them the desert that exists beyond that edge, and then irrigate it so that the jungle of knowledge continues to expand even further for the next generation of students and educators.

As you write this week, I challenge you to find the edge of your field of knowledge, to irrigate your own deserted landscape of potential, and to find ways through your writing to bring others to that point. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 30, 2021

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.” ~Alexandra K. TrenforAlexandra K. Trenfor once said, “The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.” Life, especially in academic settings, is about seeking knowledge, exploring possibilities, and making our own unique discoveries. Textbook and academic authoring provides an outlet for us to share those discoveries with others to fuel their own journeys.

In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we have some things worth looking at to see where they may fit your current and future needs as an author. These include developing a social media strategy, post-doctoral pursuits, saying “no”, data collection, licensing, editing, and open access opportunities.

Be on the lookout this week for teachers, whether people, places, or simply ideas that can guide where you look next and find out what you see as a result. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 18, 2020

"As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand." ~Ernest HemingwayErnest Hemingway once said, “As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.” In our academic writing, there are certainly a number of places where understanding is important.

Seen in this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we must understand how to develop a first draft, what questions we need to answer to move forward, what our research data tells us, what makes writing worthwhile, how to maintain a productive schedule, how to balance work with periods of rest, how to survive through crisis, and the general state of the publishing industry.

Without judgement of yourself or others, as we begin to close out the year that was 2020 in the back half of December, reflect on your academic writing efforts, not with judgement, but with understanding of what has been, what is, and what you hope will be moving forward. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: February 28, 2020

“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” – George LorimerAre you determined to succeed? At the end of the day, are you satisfied with your results? George Lorimer once said, “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” So what are you determined to do with your textbook and academic writing?

This week’s collection of articles from around the web includes discussion on the future of scholarly communication, how to get published, and an approach to teaching writing that works. It also includes ideas for experimenting and playing with data, looking at different aspects of the same problem, and funding research and innovation through open science efforts.

What all of these ideas, innovations, and results have in common is the determination of one or more individuals to bring an idea to fruition and share it with others. As you approach your writing projects this week, start each day with determination and end them with satisfaction. Happy writing! [Read more…]

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

“Most editors are failed writers – but so are most writers.” – T.S. EliotT.S. Eliot once said, “Most editors are failed writers – but so are most writers.” The key to success, however, is to fail forward. This week’s collection of articles from around the web fittingly explores some of the ways academic authors can do just that.

We begin with an exploration of the “gap” between management scholarship and practice and the number of academic hours worked. We then consider ways to keep up with the literatures and simplify indexing and data sharing. Next, we explore ways to deal with failure and to apply the lessons learned along the way. Finally, we examine ways to make money from writing books and reasons why librarians are concerned about GetFTR.

As you close out your academic semester and near the end of 2019, reflect on the successes and failures of the term and year past, but focus on failing forward into the year ahead. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 18, 2019

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William WadsworthWilliam Wadsworth once said, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” That may be easier said than done for some of us. Especially if, as discussed in our first article in this week’s collection, you ever find yourself in conflict with yourself or, in the case of our second article, you are an empath facing slow, smoldering burnout in academe.

Ways to address these challenges as well as other topics important to textbook and academic authors fill our collection of articles this week. Other topics include peer reviewing your first paper, research data sharing, focus groups for research or evaluation, the Research Data Management Librarian Academy (RDMLA), and forthcoming AcWriMo Tweetchat events.

Wherever your heart leads you in writing this week, breathe new life into your papers and manuscripts as you go. 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: 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…]