Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 30, 2020

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” ~Mark TwainMark Twain once said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Writing is a continuous search for the right word, the right fit, and the right connections.

As textbook and academic authors, that search for what’s “right” may be in the relationships with co-authors and editors. It may be what’s right from a social justice perspective. It may be what’s right in our preparation, process, and delivery of content. Or it may be what’s right for publishing our work.

No matter what’s “right” for your writing this week focus on finding what’s truly right instead of settling for what’s “almost right”. The lightning has a much stronger impact than the lightning bug. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 28, 2020

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” ~Virginia WoolfVirginia Woolf once said, “Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” Our collection of articles from around the web this week addresses issues with exposing those secrets of our souls through published work now and in the future.

Specifically, we begin with moving past the fear of having our work read, following basic rules for writing research papers, revising to remove evidence of our secret self-doubt, and topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion in scholarly communications. We then explore how blogging can enhance student engagement, a new way to access higher education textbooks, sustainable open access models, and the publishing trends for late 2020 and beyond.

It’s important that the secrets written on your soul are shared through your written work. Challenge yourself to share more of yourself in your writing this week. Happy writing!

Afraid to let anyone read your writing? 5 Steps to move past fears

One of the best things about writing is being read. Unfortunately, that can also be one of the scariest things. When you’re just starting out, it can feel like a huge jump to let someone else read your story for the first time. It feels like another jump to move past the eyes of kindly family and friends to asking strangers to read and (gulp) comment on your writing. And even if you’ve been writing and publishing for many years, there may still be days when you’re afraid to let anyone read your writing.

Basic rules to follow when writing a research paper

You can never overstate the significance of being able to write well. A productive investigator or researcher will always be able to write solid papers when it comes to writing a research paper. Writing a research paper has a life cycle, and when you follow the same, no one can stop you from achieving the degree.

Revision – writing without protection

Academic writers need to let their readers know that they know what they are talking about. But feeling and talking like an expert is not easy – in fact, it’s often the exact opposite of how you think about yourself. So it’s helpful to be able to pick up the places in your writing where your text gives away your secret self-doubt.

Driving gender diversity, equity, and inclusion in scholarly communications: The power of an active ERG

How many of us know what ‘ERG’ stands for? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. An Employee Resource Group is a volunteer group of like-minded colleagues who come together to create positive change for their wider workplace community. These groups are not to be underestimated — in fact, they should be celebrated and promoted within organizations because they add tremendous value, and increase the organization’s value proposition for attracting, keeping, and developing talent.

How can blogging enhance student engagement?

A perennial issue in higher education is how to encourage students to engage with the material they are learning about. Biggs and Tang tell us that assessment is the key driver of engagement, with its structure and content shaping everything that a student does to achieve the learning outcomes of a course. But are the tried and tested methods of written examinations, essays, laboratory reports, group projects and so on really the most engaging forms of assessment for students? Or are digital technologies, and the movement towards more reflective forms of writing, opening up the whole dynamic of the assessment process and the ways in which students engage with it to radical change?

Cambridge University Press launches new website for its higher education textbooks

This new site, and our business models, have been shaped by extensive feedback from students, their instructors and librarians. As a result, it gives higher education institutions a much easier way to provide their students with online access to our textbooks and gives students themselves a much better reading and studying experience.

Sustainable open access – What’s next?

As more publishers consider this model, it seems like a good time to dive a little deeper into collective action models and Subscribe to Open in academic publishing and also to consider why interest in these models might be accelerating.

Predictions for publishing trends in late 2020 and beyond

If there’s one thing 2020 has shown us, it’s that our lives are not nearly as predictable as we like to think. This isn’t exactly a new revelation — the best-laid plans of mice and men, etc. — but it’s one that brings fresh perspective and humility to all our forecasts now, whether in regards to the weather, the government, or the state of the publishing industry.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: July 3, 2020

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” ~Maya AngelouDo you like what you do? Are you impressed with your writing, your research, and your ability to share your work with others? Maya Angelou defines success as “liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

In this week’s collection of articles we have found advice on making your research paper more impressive, connecting with others,  taking a chance and overcoming imposter syndrome, and ways your age affects your writing. We have also found guidance on marketing in times of crisis, technology trends impacting scholarly communications, and pros and cons of working remotely.

Whatever stage of your career you are at, find ways to be more successful – specifically ways to like yourself, what you do, and how you do it. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 15, 2020

“Life changes very quickly, in a very positive way, if you let it.” ~Lindsey Vonn“Life changes very quickly, in a very positive way, if you let it.” This advice from former World Cup alpine ski racer and four-time champion, Lindsey Vonn, frames this week’s collection and is, perhaps, exactly what we all need to hear in our efforts to move forward from the chaos that has dominated our lives and academic communities over the past couple of months.

A little more than two months since the first round of US-based closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing a new “normal” emerge in the wake as transition to virtual instruction, cancellation of in-person events, and an acceptance of unexpected change has led people to a new way of living, learning, and working. And it can’t be in a perpetual state of pause.

There is something to be said for a state of consistency in what we can maintain – such as the approach to drafting a research paper. There is also a need to eventually, and perhaps now, summon the courage to reassess and rebuild our lives. There are also a number of new opportunities that have been uncovered as a result of the unexpected disruption to life as we knew it only a few short months ago.

All of these things are addressed in this week’s collection of articles from around the web. While there’s no doubt that life has changed quickly, it is up to you to determine if you will let that change be a positive way for you moving forward. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 8, 2020

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” ~Simon SinekWhy? The simplest and, at the same time, most complex question we can ask of ourselves in any situation. Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”

Our collection of articles this week includes a number of applications of the “why” in our work. From designing and publishing research to prioritizing and progressing on projects, in determining career paths after the PhD or looking at the future of publishing models, and finally, in how we conference and collaborate with others in our academic circles.

As you examine your writing projects this week, ask yourself why they’re important to you. The answer is what will drive them forward to completion. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 17, 2020

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” ~Gustave FlaubertGustave Flaubert once said, “The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” In textbook and academic writing, we often find this to be true as we search for the answers to research questions and work to clearly express ideas and knowledge to our readers. But, like art, writing and the writing process is unique for each author.

Our collection of articles begins with an approach that focuses on writing for yourself first and your audience second, methods to communicate research findings to the world, and the impact of COVID-19 on student research projects. We also consider the differences between part time and full time researchers and students and how the current state of the world has forced even full time faculty and researchers into a part time routine. Finally, we explore some industry concepts including the bundling of academic journal subscriptions, potential budget cuts to academic libraries, and the stories behind some scholarly publishing brand names.

Whether you’re working on putting a name to your work or carefully crafting each word that is placed on the page as you finish your most recent written masterpiece, let the art of your writing help you discover your beliefs. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 31, 2020

“You must expect great things from yourself before you can do them.” ~Michael JordanHall of Fame basketball player Michael Jordan once said, “You must expect great things from yourself before you can do them.” When writing for publication, we must expect great things from ourselves and our research in order to accomplish those goals of writing a journal article or textbook. This week’s collection of articles from around the web offers insight into just how to achieve the greatness we expect of ourselves and our work.

We begin with discussions about collaborating with others on research projects, choosing relevant literature for empirical studies, and understanding conference proceedings. We continue with measurements of commitment to research transparency and practical strategies for disseminating research in various ways. Finally, we close with a look at ways to manage a career in publishing.

Whatever your goals in this realm of textbook and academic publishing, expect great things from yourself and then do them. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Figuring it out: Trends for visuals in academic writing

Comic Strip Frame with text "Write, write, write! Will anyone read all these words?"Online exchanges are increasingly visual. Even staid newspaper sites now embed media or graphic stories. Almost every mobile device includes a camera, and the means to quickly upload and share still images or media. Graphics and drawing software are readily available. What do these trends mean for academic writing? What kinds of figures or other visual materials are scholars using to communicate about their research? How are electronic journals changing the options for the use of media and images? With these questions in mind, I explored trends and looked examples of visuals in academic writing that extend beyond the typical black and white figure. [Read more…]

The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research

The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your researchIn the first two articles of this series, we explored The What: Defining a research project and The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment. In this article, we are focused on The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research. Discussion from this TweetChat event focused on accurately estimating the amount of time necessary for completing writing projects and strategies to better manage the time commitments during the writing project.

Q1/1a: Do you regularly track the time spent on research efforts? When planning a research project, do you tend to accurately predict, overestimate, or underestimate the time required? [Read more…]