Open access is now: Good news or bad news?

open signAt the TAA Conference in Philadelphia this past month, I heard many comments about open access. They varied widely from support, to derision, to misunderstanding, to apathy.

First, what is open access? In its purest form, open access is offering or publishing material online, free of cost or barriers with an open license that removes most restrictions on use and reuse. The open access or OA movement has been around twenty plus years with its roots going back much farther than that. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: June 21, 2019

Plan CAt last week’s Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Philadelphia, there were some wonderful presentations and discussion on topics of inclusive access, textbook subscription models, open access, writing and publishing strategies, and the overall trends in the changing landscape of academic publishing. This week’s collection of articles from around the web extend that discussion with some of the same topics present in our list.

As you ponder the future of textbook and academic authoring and publishing for yourself, I encourage you to consider the thoughts of Rob Siltanen, “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Here’s to changing the world. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: June 7, 2019

"The only writer to whom you should compare yourself is the writer you were yesterday." ~David SchlosserThis week’s collection of articles from around the web includes publishing advice from the perspective of an editor, ways to approach writing targets, internal contradictions with open access books, and ways to retreat and regroup after the academic year. There is also some additional discussion on the effect of Plan S on scholarly communication.

As you move forward with your writing projects this week, remember the advice of David Schlosser, “The only writer to whom you should compare yourself is the writer you were yesterday.” Happy writing! [Read more…]

Can I help you in any way? OER

Can I help you in any way? OER“Hello, thank you for visiting. Can I help you in any way?” If you’ve browsed our TAA website, you’ve likely seen those words in the chat box that appears on the screen. We’re often asked by visitors if we’re “real”. Then those who realize that we are, and that we are there to help, ask questions that you may have as well.

In this series of “Can I help you in any way?” posts, we’ll highlight some of the questions people have asked through the TAA Live Chat feature of our site and the responses we have for those questions. In this post, we’re focused on a question about publishing options in either Open Textbook format or through self-publishing methods. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 17, 2019

"It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s the fear of not writing well; something quite different." ~Scott BerkunThis week’s collection of articles from around the web contains a number of articles focused on the aspects of writer’s life that are not directly related to the task of writing. Things like use of figures, evaluation methods, motivational efforts, discussion, and networking opportunities.

These same things, while supportive of our writing practice, may also prove to be a distraction or cause of fear of evaluation of our own writing. While it is important to keep them in mind and to incorporate them into our overall writing process, we must be sure to use them in a way that moves us further along in our writing efforts. As Scott Berkun once said, “It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s the fear of not writing well; something quite different.” This week let the evaluation, nagging, discussion, and presentation of your work drive you to be better and to move forward. Happy writing! [Read more…]

My writing is an open book

open textbookThe first time I thought about potentially authoring a textbook was in 2005. I was teaching as an adjunct at four different colleges and was using a different textbook for each. Each time I brought the correlating textbook for the correlating College Success class with the correlating handouts, assignments, quizzes, and other materials, it felt like a small victory. As I started to create my own content, I decided that if I ever was hired full time, I would write my own text. A few years later, I accepted a full-time tenure track faculty position at Grossmont College in San Diego and two years after that I began writing my first textbook. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 19, 2019

Checklist with two options: yes or noYes or no? The simplest of questions, with the simplest of answers, yet often applied to the most difficult of concepts and discussions. This week’s collection of articles explores several questions you may be asking: Is Sci-Hub good for scholarly communication? Is this the best method for planning? Should we invest more in understanding the researcher experience? Should I hire a proofreader or editor? Should I pre-publish my research? Should I publish in open access journals?

Yes or no? No longer the simplest of answers. The truth is that as we explore these and other questions of value, the answer is rarely as simple as yes or no. It’s more often “whatever is right for you” or, in other words, maybe. But those decisions are what move us forward.

Are you ready to move forward with your writing this week? Yes or no? Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 15, 2019

"Reading sparks writing." ~A.D. PoseyIn this week’s collection of posts from around the web we found a variety of topics of interest to textbook and academic authors. We begin our collection with articles focused on perspective: on the PhD and employment, on Belbin roles in collaborative writing efforts, and on visualizations of scholarly workflow. Next we explore topics on finding the gap and keeping track of your literature review. We continue with a couple articles on open access. Finally, we close with technology-related articles on sharing research, conducting online surveys, and protecting privacy in digital resources.

A.D. Posey once said, “Reading sparks writing.” As you read through this week’s collection of articles, we hope that the ideas and topics presented serve to spark your writing efforts for the week ahead. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: February 22, 2019

Make things happenThis week’s collection of articles from around the web continues to show the state of change in the publishing industry, specifically through the open access movement. From the perspective of personal change (and challenges), several other topics are included in the list with focus on feedback, negative mind chatter, bold requests, and presenting information to others.

Whatever changes or challenges your writing efforts may be facing from external or internal sources this week, remember your goals for having started in the first place and make things happen. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: February 15, 2019

"Writing is a continuous discovery – a learning process." ~Amae DechavezThis week’s collection of articles from around the web starts with ways to develop the habit of writing and to get creative with your thesis or dissertation. Our next set of articles offer different writing styles including tiny texts, the uneven U paragraph structure, and a tour of Roald Dahl’s “writing hut”. We close with articles focused on social media-based digital portraits of academics, valuing all of your time, and continued discussion of open access publishing.

As Amae Dechavez once said, “Writing is a continuous discovery – a learning process.” This week, we encourage you to discover new information, new habits, and new ideas. Happy writing! [Read more…]