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: August 10, 2018

"Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer." ~Barbara KingsolverAs evidenced by our collection of articles this week, there is no single way to do things in this field of academic writing.

For all of us, even the word summer is associated with different definitions and results – as comically represented in the first post this week. Some of us are finding new methods to enhance their research, shifting gears, overcoming challenges, or just trying to define how writing best fits in their schedule. For others, they’re examining the industry opportunities, differences, threats, and changes to see how they fit best in the environment.

This week’s collection of articles includes all of these topics important to the field of academic writing, but wherever your personal writing journey takes you this week, be true to yourself. Barbara Kingsolver advises us, “Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: August 3, 2018

"Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending." ~Henry Wadsworth LongfellowThis week’s collection of articles from around the web includes several perspectives on expectations as they relate to doctoral studies, writing, and academic life. Do you have PhD fear? Accustomed to minimal writing or hyper performativity? Interested in the value of conference presentations, crowdfunding, or research ethics? Curious about the new age academic, life after the PhD, what can not be published, or how to engage the public in your scholarship? We’ve got it all in the list below!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow reminds us that “Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.” This week I encourage you to define a finish line for one of your projects and celebrate an ending so you can move on to the next great beginning. Happy writing! [Read more…]

10 Question conference retrospective: Views from a graduate student attendee

The Loretto Chapel

The Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, NM. Photo Credit: Susan W. Bontly

The Textbook & Academic Authors Association’s small, focused conference, held in Santa Fe, New Mexico June 15-16, was one of the most useful ones I have attended.  The cost was a really great deal considering all the valuable information provided by the presenters. As a first-time attendee and a graduate student, here my reflections on my experience.

1) What were some of the highlights and insights?

The presentations I attended were all on the Academic Track. The first day, I went to two sessions, and then I had three wonderfully inspiring mentoring sessions. I started with Dr. Meggin McIntosh (see more below) and then Dr. Katherine Landau Wright’s presentation, The Journal Article Writing MATE: A tool for beginners, which provided a very helpful tool for evaluating journal articles to use as models for writing and can also be used as a general article assessment or summarizing rubric. [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…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: June 8, 2018

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” ~Oscar WildeOscar Wilde once said, “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” This week’s collection of articles has many things to read that may help you today or be foundation for who you will be in the future.

The list begins with helpful advice on bio-notes, collaboration, managing research notes, reviving “dead” writing projects, and working with data visualization and research. We then explore some insight into grant applications and journal paper review processes before closing with discussions of open access initiatives in textbook and academic authoring environments and the announcement of Eva O. L. Lantsoght’s new book, The A-Z of the PhD Trajectory.

Whatever you read from this list or otherwise this week, choose items that will continue to shape your career as an author both now and when you can’t help it. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: June 1, 2018

"Reading sparks writing." ~A.D. PoseyThis week’s collection of useful posts from around the web begins with strategies for designing scientific posters, academic blogging, loving the PhD life, and dealing with reviewers’ comments. We then look at some innovative approaches to academia worthy of consideration, including how the success of LeBron James in professional basketball can be used as a model for academic success, tips for research commercialization, and the use of data citations as additional citations in our research.

As A.D. Posey reminds us, “reading sparks writing”, so we close our list this week with a list of open access best sellers that might just spark your writing in the week ahead. [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: May 11, 2018

"You're writing someones 'future' favorite book." ~M. KirinOne thing’s for certain in life. The future is always unwritten. No matter the past experiences or institutional standards, we must change, adapt, and grow with each day – and our writing must as well.

This week’s collection of articles from around the web begins with writing habits, creative research methods, practices for overcoming writer’s block, and ways to evaluate data sources. It continues with exploration of fears and uncertainties related to sharing grant applications and pursuing a PhD as a single parent. Finally, we close with considerations of changes in subscription models, including cancellations of traditional journal subscriptions by universities, and the impact of recent changes in how Facebook is sharing data with the research community.

M. Kirin reminds all authors that “you’re writing someone’s ‘future’ favorite book.” Despite any challenges, fear, anxieties, or past experiences, I hope this week you can focus on the future and share your message through 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…]