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…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: February 23, 2018

"Writing is amazing! When I write I am empowered by my thoughts, entertained by my imagination, and enlightened by my wisdom." ~Theresa LewisIn this week’s collection of noteworthy articles from around the web, we share discussion on stuck points and writer’s block, identifying when enough is enough, and a focus on writing for the reader. Additionally, there are tools and resources on open textbook self-publishing, open access technology options, publishing options for early career researchers, and instruction and datasets on focus groups. Finally, we find discussions on the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), university presses, and the continued life of print publishing.

Theresa Lewis said, “Writing is amazing! When I write I am empowered by my thoughts, entertained by my imagination, and enlightened by my wisdom.” As you write this week, be empowered, entertained, and enlightened so that your words can empower, entertain, and enlighten those who read them. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: February 9, 2018

"Writing is a process of creating yourself again and again for an ever-searching mind." ~Debasish MridhaThis week’s article roundup includes a mix of foundational advice and reinvention of ideas. In the academic world, there are posts discussing ways to establish a track record of grant writing, visualization techniques, and ways to survive a PhD mixed with new scholarly search tools, publisher roles, and disruptions in scholarly communications.

From the textbook perspective, the benefits of print over digital, the intellectual properties of learning, and opinions on professors teaching from their own textbooks are mixed with open-access publishing, OER disruption, and new platforms for self-publishing textbooks.

As Debasish Mridha tells us, “Writing is a process of creating yourself again and again for an ever-searching mind.” As you write this week, keep searching as well. [Read more…]

How not to complete your dissertation

Woman heroFrom my longtime academic coaching and editing practice guiding doctoral candidates through the peaks and gullies of completing their dissertations, I have noticed that women in doctoral programs can easily become diverted by compassion for others in trouble. Well-meaning decisions and actions may result in calamitous consequences to a dissertation.

Although my experience has been primarily with women, if you are a man reading this, you may recognize some of these scenarios. In these stories of doctoral candidates (names and identifying details changed for their protection), you will see that tender-hearted consideration at the wrong times dangerously waylaid dissertation progress. If you are a doctoral candidate writing (or not writing) your dissertation, perhaps these tales will confirm decisions to let no major interruptions prevent the completion of your dreamed-of doctorate. [Read more…]

For academics: Are your kids growing up without you?

Work Life BalanceYou were probably thrilled beyond words (mono- and polysyllabic) when your kids were born and you witnessed the true miracle of those so-young lives. The kids grew older, and you hunkered down into your academic career. Maybe your feelings changed—you don’t love them any less, but you may see the children as distracters and interrupters of your work. After all, we have important completions of all the conference abstracts, articles, books, chapters, dissertations, even the course syllabi. And we need to finish all these projects for advancement.

Granted, children can be annoyances and disrupters. Most of the time, though, barring a fall from the tree house, they are bothering you because they want—no, crave—your attention. [Read more…]

Dissertation support groups (part 2): Success!

SupportPreface: This is the second of two posts on dissertation support groups. In the previous piece, “Dissertation support groups (part 1): Watch out!”, I described several benefits and cautioned readers about drawbacks of a group. In this piece, I report on a successful group in the words of its founders and members. The philosophies and methods may help graduate students seeking support groups and faculty desiring to start them.

“I couldn’t write. I’d be in the library, staring at the portrait of the bearded benefactor, and the time would just tick by. That’s when I decided to join the group.”

This member of a dissertation support group was not alone in her dilemma. [Read more…]