Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 25, 2019

“Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.” – Carl SaganAs we come to the close of Open Access Week 2019, having been faced with the challenge of considering this year’s theme, “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”, the words of Carl Sagan seem even more appropriate. “Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.”

This week’s collection of articles from around the web begins with some relevant discussions on open access including an MIT-developed framework for negotiating contracts with scholarly publishers, the future of open access business models, discussion about ownership of research, and the first 100 books from Johns Hopkins University Project. We’ve also included some other hot topics for academic authors on grant writing, being an older student, and being a minority in academia.

Wherever your writing takes you this week, whether publishing open access or traditional, consider the audience you can reach and the shackles of time you can break as a result of your efforts. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The 5R activities of OER

cassette tapeDuring his 2019 TAA Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Why I Chose to Publish OER, What I Learned, and Do I Have Regrets”, with Jeanne Hoover, Dave Dillon, TAA Council member and author of the award-winning open textbook Blueprint for Success in College and Career, shared the 5R activities permitted by open access.

Defining the “open” in open content and open educational resources (OER), Dillon noted, “The terms ‘open content’ and ‘open educational resources’, describe any copyrightable work that is either (1) in the public domain or (2) licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities” below. [Read more…]

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

"The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking." ~Albert EinsteinAlbert Einstein once said, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” This week’s collection of posts from around the web may challenge your thoughts about academic and textbook writing and processes.

Included in the collection are ways to change your thinking when publishing journal articles, completing a dissertation, or reading over the summer. There are articles on open science, open educational resources, and Pearson’s announcement of a “digital first” textbook publishing model. We close the list with articles on retaining perspective and developing new skills. This week, I challenge you to change your thinking to improve your writing practice. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: June 14, 2019

A different type of writerAs I complete this collection of articles from around the web this week, our 32nd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference is underway in Philadelphia. Over the next couple of days, authors from different disciplines, backgrounds, and geographic regions will come together to discuss topics of common interest, each with a common goal of becoming a more successful author.

This week’s collection includes some ideas that face most, if not all, of this diverse group, including writer’s block, thesis statements, data visualization, authorship, and author contribution. It also contains articles on specific issues facing subsets of our collective authoring community, including work/life balance for PhD students, diversity factors in awards and recognition, and open source initiatives and funding.

No matter the differences among us, and whether you are here in Philly with us this weekend or part of our larger authoring community, know that you are not alone. Take comfort in the things that we share and that are shared with us. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: August 31, 2018

"Half of my life is an act of revision." ~John Irving“Half of my life is an act of revision.” Wise words from John Irving for all writers and ones that thread through our collection of posts this week.

We begin with discussions of how to manage multiple writing projects, interpret data visualizations, and use diary methods in qualitative research. We then share practical advice on successful publishing in journals, informed consent, fellowships, and balancing a PhD with a family. Closing out our list is the prediction that textbooks are here to stay, along with new resources including scholarly podcasts, open and interoperable annotation, YouTube videos, and open science tools.

Whether you are revising a manuscript or your writing craft this week, we hope that you will find value in some of the resources below. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: March 16, 2018

"I haven't finished writing my book, but it's on top of my list" ~Celeste Alexander“I haven’t finished writing my book, but it’s on top of my list” says Celeste Alexander. If you’re struggling with finishing a writing project, our first couple articles in this week’s collection of posts from around the web might help you find the means to move forward. Of course, according to our third article choice, “you should be writing!” and the shame that accompanies this rebuke are worthy of consideration as well.

In addition, we have found insight into word choice, the use of preprints in citations, theoretical frameworks, and peer review processes to support your writing efforts. Finally we round out our collection this week with two service platforms: DeepDyve and Skyepack that pursuer ways to reduce costs of journal articles and educational materials. Wherever your writing projects take you this week, we hope you feel a sense of accomplishment, even if you haven’t “finished”. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: January 12, 2018

"Most writing doesn't take place on the page; it takes place in your head." ~Susan Orlean“Most writing doesn’t take place on the page; it takes place in your head.” says Susan Orlean. This week’s collection of articles is full of resources to improve those internal processes that move your writing forward. Beginning with advice on how to improve your writing practices, considering what types of case studies get published, new approaches by textbook companies, and tips for promoting self-published book series, we open ourselves up to new ideas in the writing industry. With that open mind, we continue to see trends in Open Access, the need for new approaches to style guides, the impact of libraries on the adoption of OER, and the future of the OA megajournal. Finally, we close our list this week with an invitation to an open house hosted by SAGE Research Methods in February and early March.

As you approach your writing this week, open yourself up to new ideas, new practices, and new ways of thinking and be sure to get some of that writing out of your head and onto the page as well. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: December 8, 2017

"Writing is more than a gift. It is a struggle that blesses those who see it through to the end." ~Nona Mae KingThis week our collection of articles from around the web contains innovative practices and changes in the publishing industry, suggestions for Open Education, ways to repurpose your finished research into a journal article, academic friendships, social media impacts on author and publisher success, and actions to reduce predatory publishing practices.

As we come to the end of the first week of December, a month where many of our writing projects are faced with increased struggle as academic terms come to an end, remember the words of Nona Mae King, “Writing is more than a gift. It is a struggle that blesses those who see it through to the end.” [Read more…]

Open educational resources or traditional textbooks?
3 experts weigh in

Textbook StackAn August 15, 2017 article in the Lansing State Journal, “LCC takes aim at pricey textbooks, offers free course materials”, shared a decision by Lansing Community College to offer students freely available open educational resources (OER) rather than traditional textbooks during the fall 2017 semester. Sixty-four professors in 24 courses will be taking part in the initiative.

The decision to use OER materials, said Regina Gong, a librarian and open educational resources project manager at LCC, was based on the College’s desire to reduce the “cost for incoming students who have to take introductory courses before moving on to higher end classes.”

In a recent discussion about the article in TAA’s LinkedIn group, three experts weighed in on LCC’s OER initiative, answering the question: “How many of you are working at schools considering or adopting this model? Thoughts?” [Read more…]