Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 29, 2019

“Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration.” – Ralph KeyesAs we come to the end of Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) 2019, many of our TAA members and community have found themselves committing to 30 days of intentional habit building to improve their writing practice. As Ralph Keyes noted, “Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration.” Our collection of articles from around the web this week addresses some of the other things that affect authors beyond the simple habit of writing.

We start with a Q&A from this month’s SAGE MethodSpace webinar on collaborative writing and some insight on where it is (and where it is not) acceptable to ask for help on your writing projects. We continue with some PhD-related topics about the experience of a PhD program, ethics and the literature review, and planning for the post-PhD job search. We then explore the use of meta-text and graphic presentations to enhance research impact. Finally, we close with the current and future prospects of open access and the open access movement.

As you close out the month of November, and your AcWriMo writing commitments, hold on to the routines that you have developed along the way to maintain a successful writing practice year round. Happy writing! [Read more…]

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

“Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.” – George SingletonContinuing the trend of Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) articles, this week’s collection from around the web includes a lot of tips for academic writing. Specifically, this week we have found articles on productivity & happiness, creating better mentors, unsticking your writing, understanding research technology infrastructure, navigating the PhD defense process, and illustrating your research.

This week, we add the words of George Singleton to the advice as well, “Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.” Happy Writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 8, 2019

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” – Samuel JohnsonAs we reach the end of the first full week of November, more affectionately known as Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) for most of our readers, we want to remind you of the importance of reading to improve your writing efforts. In fact, Samuel Johnson once said, “The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” This reading time may be immersed in discipline-specific journal articles, or in items such as the ones below that help improve your overall writing craft and understanding of the authoring industry.

This week our collection includes resources from SAGE MethodSpace’s AcWriMo focus on writing and publishing books, ways to address worry for writers, establishing a plan B (or C), determining your contribution to the literature, maintaining an appropriate writing voice, questioning our assumptions in publishing innovations, and exploring alternative textbook options, including OER.

Remember as you move forward in your writing this week, it is more than acceptable – it’s even necessary – to take time to read to broaden your understanding of both your discipline and your craft, in order to improve your results as an author. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Choose your best dissertation chair

matchedIt is impossible to overestimate the significance of the student-advisor relationship. . . . This is both a personal and professional relationship that rivals marriage and parenthood in its complexity, variety and ramifications for the rest of one’s life. (Zhao, Golde, & McCormick, 2007, p. 263)

These wise observations were made by a new “doctor” in the study by Zhao et al. (2007) of how the doctoral students’ choice of chairs and their behavior affect the students’ satisfaction. The candidate quoted above echoes what many doctoral students learn, with ease or agony, during their dissertations. Your relationship with your chair (sometimes called advisor or supervisor) is absolutely the most important in your entire doctoral haul. [Read more…]

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…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 4, 2019

“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” – Stephen KingThis week’s collection of posts from around the web is full of advice on a variety of topics of interest for academic and textbook authors. Topics include: creative thinking, co-writing, starting a PhD, starting a research network, dissemination of research, research feature creep, dissertation committee service, open access ethics, research data sharing, and academic book reviews.

As varied as this topic list may seem, collectively it represents some of the many questions and challenges faced by academic authors daily. Stephen King once said, “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” The same is true for your answers to these questions and challenges. If it doesn’t naturally fit your academic pursuits, it’s not the right path for this stage of your academic career. This week focus on the words that fit best for where you are in the process. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 6, 2019

Trust yourselfThis week’s collection of articles from around the web begins with prompts to stimulate your thinking and methods for finding papers for your literature review. It continues with the importance of validating faculty research, consideration of your timeline for finishing a PhD, and expectations when presenting research to an industry audience. Finally, we have some noteworthy industry news on cost per use value models, the value of the big deal, the Cengage-McGraw Hill merger, and a new textbook model at UC Davis.

Neil Gaiman once said, “The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.” This week, trust yourself and happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 23, 2019

“The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’ Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.” – Charles DickensFor many of us, we are at the start of a new academic year, whether as students, faculty, or both. This time of year is laden with opportunity and, oftentimes, apprehension and stress for what’s to come and all that needs to be accomplished. New years bring new challenges and new possibilities in a sea of ever-changing processes and populations.

This week’s collection of posts from around the web will hopefully help you find greater opportunities for success and purpose to the process as we explore the value of writing centers and writing groups, established and new research processes, and ways to improve scholarly communication and dissemination of research.

Charles Dickens wrote, “The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’ Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.” What have you been wishing for in your academic writing efforts? It’s time to stop wishing and start doing. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 9, 2019

“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen.” ~ Bradley WhitfordThis week’s collection of posts from around the web is filled with actionable items you can incorporate into your textbook and academic writing process and life. We begin with some planning concepts and how to navigate an academic conference. Next we explore some details related to scholarly e-books and creating a culture of inquiry. Then we discuss options for saving reader time during the research stage of a project and ways to help and support precariat colleagues. Finally we include ideas for “thinking in public” by blogging research and for engaging in open source scholarly publishing.

Bradley Whitford encourages us to “Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen.” This week, take action to move your writing forward. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 2, 2019

“Great things don’t come from comfort zones.” ~ Roy T. BennettLet me warn you. This week’s collection of posts from around the web has several topics that may not be comfortable for textbook and academic authors. We begin with articles challenging the status quo for academic bios, the value of disability inclusion in the publishing industry, and the approach you take to turn your PhD into a book. More hot topic industry changes, specifically in light of recent announcements of Pearson’s “digital first” initiative and the Cengage-McGraw-Hill merger, also make this week’s list.

The changes to the publishing industry are not new, but in the recent months seem to be coming at a faster pace with greater impact to authors. That said, as you review the articles linked below, remember the wisdom of Roy T. Bennett who said, “Great things don’t come from comfort zones.” In the coming week, I encourage you to reach beyond your comfort zone in your pursuit of greatness. Happy writing! [Read more…]