Co-authorship can be an extremely valuable experience for academic authors, but it can also pose unique challenges. When selecting a co-author it is important to consider several factors—including his or her area of expertise, writing ability and personality—in order to ensure that the co-author experience is a positive and successful one. It is also important to assess a potential co-author’s level of commitment to ensure that all parties are truly vested in the project.
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My own work has taken me far afield from my study of law. I’ve delved into feminist theory, critical race theory, rhetorical theory, literary studies, urban planning, and more. I’ve always found that the most interesting texts — textbooks, journals, book reviews — are those that are written in an interdisciplinary fashion. Maybe that’s my liberal arts education coming through, but there’s something about reading a law text with history examples, or an article on communication theory that pulls in political science, or even a sociology selection that combines medicine and health sciences literature that is simply more interesting. Students, professionals, and other scholars likely appreciate the interconnectedness of our interests as well. In order to keep people questioning and pondering, encourage broader discussion of relevant issues, and develop an increasingly interested and literate public, we must be able to do more than write inside our comfort zone.
Money, establishing tenure and a passion for ideas are just a few of the many primary and secondary motives for publishing, said sociologist Mark Schneider and linguist Joan Friedenberg, both of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Many of these motives, they said, can be fulfilled by different types of academic publishing. They have come up with 20 ways to get published in an academic environment. They are:
When I finally got around to writing my dissertation (that’s another story), I realized that its organization easily fell into several relatively self-contained chapters. Once I defended, I needed to convert as much of the dissertation to publishable articles as I could, for the “hound of tenure” was fast on my heels.
I realized that I had written each chapter with a possible article based on it already in mind. In philosophy one often takes on positions articulated by others, and seeks to attack them in a way that makes one’s own view more plausible and defended against those who would, or should, attack it. So, I “carved” the dissertation into three chunks and wrote them up as independent articles. I sent them to the same journals that had published the articles I was attacking, and they were accepted (usually subject to some revisions). Hence, my first three publications, followed by a fourth when one of my attackees sought to defend himself in print. Those, plus a couple of short pieces, secured a tenured appointment.
Holding writing workshops is an effective way to support, celebrate and teach writing. That’s what Andrew P. Johnson, Ph.D., director of the Center for Literacy and Inclusion at Minnesota State University, Mankato, discovered when he ran a Writer’s Workshop (WW) on campus aimed at professors.
“I’ve looked at a lot of research that demonstrates the best way to teach writing is the process approach. WW is a familiar concept used by many elementary and middle school teachers,” Johnson said. “Many professors who wanted to write had no idea about the process of writing a journal article or book prospectus.”