The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: September 14, 2018

"Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil--but there is no way around them." ~Isaac AsimovIsaac Asimov said, “Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil–but there is no way around them.” As we recognize Peer Review Week 2018, much of the focus of our collection of articles is on the process that produces such rejection in an effort to ensure the quality of the works that are accepted for publication.

The theme of Peer Review Week 2018 is diversity in peer review. As an author, your background, experiences, and unique qualities contribute to the diversity of the industry and can improve the diversity of the peer review process – if you are involved. Although most of the articles in this week’s collection are related to this event, there are others themes of significance to authors in this collection including management of multiple writing projects (and how some scientists are successful hyperprolific authors), ways to get back on track if your semester plan has already fallen apart, transparency in publishing, critical & creative thinking in research, and dealing with the fear of success.

The textbook and academic authoring community needs your contributions, your perspective, and your uniqueness. This week celebrate what makes you unique and how that contributes to a diverse community of scholarly authors. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Peer Review Week 2018: Diversity in Peer Review

Peer Review Week 2018 LogoThis week, September 10-15, 2018, marks Peer Review Week. According to the official website, “Peer Review Week is a global event celebrating the essential role that peer review plays in maintaining scientific quality. The event brings together individuals, institutions, and organizations committed to sharing the central message that good peer review, whatever shape or form it might take, is critical to scholarly communications. We organize virtual and in-person events, webinars, interviews and social media activities.”

To celebrate, TAA will be sharing various items from our blog archive and library of presentations on demand that focus on the peer review process. Look for these items on our social media channels throughout the week tagged with the official Peer Review Week hashtag, #PeerReviewWeek18 and share your comments and experiences with us. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: September 7, 2018

"The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any." ~Russell BakerRussell Baker once said, “The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any.” As writers, we can certainly acknowledge the work such a craft requires, and in the genres of academic and textbook authoring the wide range of additional concerns for balance, accuracy, research integrity, and innovation in our writing efforts.

This week our collection of posts from around the web begins with a question, “Are there only four kinds of writers?” inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s book, The four tendencies. This evaluation of a writer is paired with authoring benefits, ways to improve academic output, time and energy management, research methods, diversity in peer review, critical and creative thinking, and privacy in user research – all factors of consideration for the academic author, regardless the type. Finally, we close this week’s list with considerations of the future of our profession, with new approaches to textbook development and e-book potential, the realities of open source and scholarly publishing, and significant changes in the trend toward open access in scientific publishing.

As you embark on your writing efforts in the week ahead, I encourage you to recognize and embrace the real work involved in the writing process and to find encouragement and support to continue those efforts. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Writing in tribute: Don’t wait for the eulogy!

Thank youRecently I received some professional praise and recognition. One was in public,  the TAA Mike Keedy Award and the other was in private, a few sentences in an other-wise business-as-usual email. At first, I felt simply flattered. How nice! But as I reflected on the comments, I realized they were more than just sweet talk. The remarks confirmed that I am making progress toward accomplishing what I have set out to do at this point in my career. They helped me confirm priorities and set steps for continued improvement. In the digital age, we can write, post, and give webinars. We can read site analytics, but we can’t read the audience. Are they paying attention or are eyelids drooping? Are they reading or just scrolling? In absence of visual cues, it helped me to hear that my messages are getting through. [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: June 22, 2018

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." ~Douglas AdamsDouglas Adams said, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” Do you like that sound? As the official start of summer is upon us, we hope that you are finding time to work on your writing projects and are better equipped to meet deadlines or to finish work on projects whose deadlines may have passed during the academic year.

Our collection of articles from around the web this week begins with some strategies for writing for publication, conducting qualitative interviews, and conducting interdisciplinary work. It continues with concerns regarding “business-as-usual” confidentiality in a growing state of research openness, unreported editorial misconduct, and the value of literature reviews. Finally, we have found some discussions on peer review, expanded access to ProQuest through Google Scholar, and a new community-controlled open access publishing platform – the Free Journal Network. Enjoy and happy writing! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: June 15, 2018

"It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way." ~Ernest HemingwayThis week’s collection of posts begins with articles focused on some of the writing challenges you may face – literature reviews, projects lost to life, grant application development, and other barriers that stop the publishing process at times. It continues with advice on writing with purpose, publishing for impact, transparency in peer review processes, surviving the doctoral defense process, and ways to maintain your mental health when making academic moves. We close with some insight into the impact of journal growth on impact factor, an open study on academic writing practices, and a look at how Google may be a journal publisher.

Ernest Hemingway said “It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” Whether you are learning with us this week at the TAA Conference, currently enrolled in a graduate program, or simply continuing to improve your writing craft through self-study and daily experience, write like you were born that way! [Read more…]

5 Hopeful changes in the publishing industry in 2018

changeRecently we asked several TAA members the question, “What changes are you hoping to see within the publishing industry this year?” Five key changes were identified: improvements in self-publishing, technology-driven innovations, better peer-review processes, increases in open access publishing, and a new era of transparency in publisher-author communication. [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 6, 2018

"Of course, I tried to surround myself with other people like me whose dream of writing was a constant burden...." ~Gerald OlsonGerald Olson once said, “Of course, I tried to surround myself with other people like me whose dream of writing was a constant burden….” Our collection of articles this week identify and address some of the burdens associated with academic and textbook writing as well as some opportunities to surround yourself with other authors facing the same.

We begin with articles discussing burdens of racism in scholarly publishing, summarizing your research into a couple of sentences, personal branding, author processing charges for open access publishing, and changes in peer review. We also found suggestions on ways to broaden your audience with video, to access a larger set of figures and images, and an opportunity to browse and download content from SAGE journals during their open access month.

Whatever your burden in writing, we’re glad you are connected with TAA and the authors who share your dream and passion for textbook and academic writing. This week we encourage you to connect more, to identify your challenges, and to find new ways to be successful in your writing efforts. [Read more…]