Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 22, 2021

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.What a week! As we seemingly race to the end of the first month of a new year, most new academic terms are in full swing and this week in the US it has been a week of emotion and words for many. The week began with the celebration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and peaked at midday on Wednesday with the inauguration of the 46th president, Joe Biden. Through it all, one thing is certain – words matter, your voice as an academic author matter, your contribution to the education of our society matters.

King once said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Are you meeting this goal in your education or the education of others through your work? In this week’s collection of articles, we share advice on restarting an unfinished book, getting your “Creator” and “Editor” on the same page, and how “Words Matter”. We continue with practical strategies for hypotheses, use of ethnographic field notes, and facilitating group discussions online. Then we close with industry and social interests related to publishing, sharing your research with others, and perspectives amidst the ongoing pandemic.

As you approach the week ahead, know that words matter and, more specifically, your words matter. Choose them wisely. Think intensively. Think critically. And build both intelligence and character through your words. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 6, 2020

“Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.” ~Annie DillardIt’s November! And for academic authors that means it’s time to write. Not that it isn’t always time to write but November, specifically, is Academic Writing Month or AcWriMo for short. In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we have some advice and resources for rekindling or maintaining your writing practice into this month focused on academic writing.

Included in the list are ways to get back into a writing practice and some step-by-step persuasive writing techniques. Also included is how to handle email distractions and manage your social media efforts. Finally, we share some current issues and trends in the publishing industry.

No matter what you are writing this month, give it your all. Annie Dillard once said, “Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.” Pour it out in the weeks ahead. Give it all. Happy writing! [Read more…]

How authors build structural equity and inclusion practices through open access

2020 Open Access Week - Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and InclusionThis year’s Open Access Week theme is “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion”. According to Nick Shockey in his #OAWeek blog post announcing this year’s theme, “Diversity, equity, and inclusion must be consistently prioritized year-round and integrated into the fabric of the open community, from how our infrastructure is built to how we organize community discussions to the governance structures we use.”

With this in mind, the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA) is exploring the author’s role in building those priorities into our work – in both open access and traditional publishing environments. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 9, 2020

“I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.” ~Ray BradburyIf you’re like most academic authors I know, you have an abundance of ideas that either keep you up at night or wake you up early in the morning. Ray Bradbury once said, “I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.” These ideas matter. Not all of them will become published manuscripts, but they all matter. They move you forward and it’s important that you get them out through your writing.

There will be periods of time when the ideas flow more readily and others where you may spend more time searching (or researching) for them, but wherever you are in that cycle, let them awaken you to the possibilities of what you have to contribute through your work. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Reflecting diversity, equity, and inclusion in our publications

library bookshelfI’ll never forget that encounter I had with Kathy a number of years ago. Kathy and I are friends now, but I’d never met her before that moment when she introduced herself at our annual anatomy and physiology (A&P) teaching conference. She asked if I had a moment to chat about how illustrations are chosen for textbooks. As you can imagine, I love talking about the process of creating textbooks, so we stepped aside for a quick chat.

It turns out that she was chatting up as many A&P textbook authors as she could, including a few other TAA members, with a question that stemmed from her interest in diversity issues. Kathy wanted to know about the illustration process because she wanted to know why women and other groups were underrepresented. [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: May 1, 2020

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” ~E. L. DoctorowIt seems that over the past couple months, everything we thought we knew about research, writing, and academia in general has been turned on its head by COVID-19. This crisis has forced an examination of existing processes, exploration of alternative options, and adaptability to new ways of thinking. Well, putting it that way, it doesn’t sound much different from what academics do every day, does it?

This week’s collection of articles from around the web talks about some non-pandemic topics, like interdisciplinary research and recruitment and retention of women of color and indigenous women graduate students. We, of course, have a number of COVID-19 speculations, like the effect on scholarly publishing, added research complexities, and scientific and scholarly meeting practices – especially those taking place via Zoom or other video conferencing technology. We close with some advice on preparing for a PhD defense from the perspective of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

As much as things seem to change, we can take comfort in knowing that change is the only real constant in life. As for our writing efforts during this time, remember the words of E. L. Doctorow who said, “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Happy writing! [Read more…]

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

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” ~Ben FranklinBen Franklin once said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” As we start the month of April, the first full month of spring, the season of new beginnings, it’s important that we do something. Despite the worldwide call for social isolation and limited activity, we must continue to find ways to progress in our academic efforts.

To support those efforts, we have found the following collection of articles on the web this week. First, we offer advice on resetting your research agenda while working from home, core knowledge on the basics of theory, and tips for writing successful proposals. We then explore what to do now, storytelling, relational inquiry, and truth-listening, and how to prepare for an effective virtual interview. Finally, we explore noteworthy topics of the Internet Archive, who is allowed to talk about equality, diversity, and inclusion, and scholarly issues of COVID-19 racism.

This week, we hope that you continue to write something worth reading, that you advance your scholarly efforts, and that you do something to make your writing stronger. Happy writing! [Read more…]