The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: August 17, 2018

"Writing is its own reward." ~Henry MillerFor many of our readers, the academic school year is back in session (or soon will be) and, as a result, our academic writing efforts may be rekindled or, in some cases, complicated by the schedule the academic calendar brings. If the summer “break” has derailed your writing efforts, the first two articles in our collection may provide advice for getting things back on track as you establish a new routine.

If, however, routine isn’t the challenge, perhaps one of the other topics in this week’s list offers guidance. Covered below are topics of compensation for research efforts, OER opportunities in textbook publishing, academic challenges in the Global South, gender gap in citations, and predatory publishing. No matter the challenge you may face this week, remember the opportunity that exists when you write and the reason behind your efforts. As Henry Miller said, “Writing is its own reward.” This week be rewarded and happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: July 27, 2018

"It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition." ~Isaac AsimovIsaac Asimov said, “It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.” This week’s collection of articles from around the web are sure to have something to catch your imagination and plant a seed for the future.

We start with ways to develop your passion, understanding preprints and peer review, and the importance of conference presentations for early career researchers. We then look at the academic taboos associated with writing, some summer practices for graduate students seeking employment opportunities, and advice on how to choose the right journal. We close this week’s list with current noteworthy topics of discussion on transparency, discrimination, manuscript exchange, OER, and the impact of Amazon on the publishing economy.

Whatever your passion or discipline, write this week in a way that might catch the imagination of others and plant seeds for tomorrow’s ideas and practices. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: July 13, 2018

"Words are a lens to focus one's mind." ~Ayn RandThis week’s collection of articles from around the web start with some writing motivation including the question “Have you started writing yet?” and the discussion of writing productivity through a daily writing habit. There is additional advice on how to get your manuscript submitted, proofreading tips, and developing diversity in your reference lists. We close our list with other topics of interest, including what cannot be said in academia, new tools for open access research, quality concerns related to OER, and one college’s efforts to save on textbook costs.

According to Ayn Rand, “Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.” This week I encourage you to use your words, focus your mind, and move forward on your summer writing projects. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: July 6, 2018

"Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up." ~Jane YolenJane Yolen once said, “Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.” This week’s collection of articles includes discussions about the hard work of writing and the importance of tracking your time and productivity related to the craft. There are also articles on innovation and creativity in research and writing, a methodology study group, and FlatWorld’s impact in the textbook market.

As a reminder, registration for the TAA Writing Gym closes on Monday, July 9th. We encourage you to join the gym and spend the next six weeks exercising your writing muscles with other TAA members! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: May 18, 2018

"If your writing doesn't keep you up at night, it won't keep anyone else up either." ~James M. CainThis week’s collection of articles from around the web begins with helpful advice on managing your writing time, your summer, and your academic career path from Masters to PhD. We then explore successful practices for crafting introductions, conducting a rapid evidence reviewing form of literature review, incorporating figures, understanding peer review, and writing successful grant applications. Finally, we review industry trends in writing discussions to journal papers, the evolution of the open access ecosystem, a new open access publishing platform for the social sciences, faculty presence in the open education movement, and the meaning of “inclusive” in digital textbook publishing.

James M. Cain suggests that “If your writing doesn’t keep you up at night, it won’t keep anyone else up either.” As you write this week, focus on the things that keep you up at night – the ideas that burn the strongest on your mind even when you aren’t writing – so that your writing can inspire and awaken those who read it. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: April 13, 2018

"If writing is your passion, write and don’t let anyone else convince you otherwise. You don’t need to quit your day job to do it. Create a realistic schedule and stick with it." ~Bindu AdaiThis week we begin with tips for academic book authors, insight into publishing an open access book, discussions on indexes, and the humbling experience of reviewing a copyeditor’s work on your manuscript. We then found insight into developing the narrative of a tenure dossier, social media concerns for academics and writers, issues of authorship abuse, the impact of article recommendation features, and the value of a master’s degree in Publishing. Finally, there were several industry news articles of note including a student’s perspective on Cengage’s efforts to promote Cengage Unlimited to professors, a win for publishers in a textbook counterfeiting suit, a new collaboration between VitalSource and McGraw-Hill, and changes in Top Hat’s OER Marketplace.

Bindu Adai said, “If writing is your passion, write and don’t let anyone else convince you otherwise. You don’t need to quit your day job to do it. Create a realistic schedule and stick with it.” As you head into a new week of writing, be encouraged by the other authors in and around TAA who share your passion for writing so that you may find greater success. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: March 30, 2018

"The next best thing after finishing writing a chapter is starting a new one." ~Chris AlmeidaWe begin this week’s collection of textbook & academic posts from around the web with a royalty calculation update from Cengage as it relates to their Cengage Unlimited service. We then have several articles of interest to textbook authors and faculty considering OER textbook options. Finally, we found advice for academic writers on structuring papers, coping with peer review processes, and being scholar-activists.

Chris Almeida put it best when he said, “The next best thing after finishing writing a chapter is starting a new one.” As you write this week, we hope the end of March brings with it some finished work, and the start of April brings with it new beginnings in your writing. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: March 9, 2018

"I like my writing career and its progression, I'd rather be that slow moving tide that turns a mountain into a beautiful beach for all to enjoy, rather than a flash in a pan that yields no heat." ~Stanley Victor PaskavichStanley Victor Paskavich said “I like my writing career and its progression, I’d rather be that slow moving tide that turns a mountain into a beautiful beach for all to enjoy, rather than a flash in a pan that yields no heat.” There are a lot of aspects of writing careers – both textbook and academic – that seem to take longer than anticipated to reach fruition. In addition, over time the rules seem to continue to change – as do our individual goals as writers.

This process and progression is examined in the collection of articles from around the web this week. We examine the processes of pursuing a PhD, trusting your gut in academic writing efforts, the realities of faculty research, contract negotiation, and disclosure practices from an author’s perspective. We also explore systemic ideas related to affordability of course materials, glass ceilings, and stewardship as the publishing industry progresses. As you write this week, continue to write in a way that turns the mountain ahead into a beautiful beach for all to enjoy. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: February 9, 2018

"Writing is a process of creating yourself again and again for an ever-searching mind." ~Debasish MridhaThis week’s article roundup includes a mix of foundational advice and reinvention of ideas. In the academic world, there are posts discussing ways to establish a track record of grant writing, visualization techniques, and ways to survive a PhD mixed with new scholarly search tools, publisher roles, and disruptions in scholarly communications.

From the textbook perspective, the benefits of print over digital, the intellectual properties of learning, and opinions on professors teaching from their own textbooks are mixed with open-access publishing, OER disruption, and new platforms for self-publishing textbooks.

As Debasish Mridha tells us, “Writing is a process of creating yourself again and again for an ever-searching mind.” As you write this week, keep searching as well. [Read more…]

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

"If writing didn't require thinking then we'd all be doing it." ~Jeremiah LaabsJeremiah Laabs reminds us that “If writing didn’t require thinking then we’d all be doing it.” This week we have a number of articles to get you thinking. For textbook authors, you may be thinking about the disruptive opportunities within the market seeking to solve the problem of high prices, you may be considering options for digital textbooks, or maybe you’re thinking about OER. Both textbook and academic authors with blogs may be thinking about how to repurpose blog articles into a book.

Academic authors may also be thinking about choosing the right dissertation topic, new opportunities in journal publishing, research impact factors, quantity vs. quality concerns in publishing, and roadblocks to accessibility. Whatever you’re thinking about, we hope it leads to better, more productive writing this week, and that these articles may help you think clearer. [Read more…]