Announcing Academic Writing Month 2014

It’s back! Academic Writing Month 2014 starts 1st November! If

Weekly wisdom: tips and tweaks #53 by Linda Levitt

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Do some warm ups! Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) begins 1

Wendy Belcher

Random Post: Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks – Week Twelve.

Content_Writing

Ellie Mackin is a third year PhD student in Classics


Review of How to Publish Your PhD
Posted by James L. Smith

As a PhD student puzzled and disorientated by the seemingly impenetrable complexity of academic publishing, reading How to Publish your PhD by Sarah Caro was a balm for my anxieties. At present, I find myself occupying a point on the winding and erratic road to doctoral submission at which I am grateful (sometimes pathetically so) for advice, any advice, about demystifying academia. Having read several books on thesis writing early in my doctoral research, I had yet to discover a book that convincingly dealt with the practicalities of publishing a book from one’s thesis. In this ‘publish or perish’ world, it is really never to early to begin thinking about ‘the m word’. Monograph. Even reading the word itself gives me the willies.

This thin volume (a sprightly 136 pages) is packed with valuable material for the angst-ridden PhD student with no idea of where to start, or the confused early career academic staring down the barrel of their first monograph. Filled with sensible advice and divided into self-evidently useful chapters such as ‘Books or Articles?’ and ‘Revising your PhD’, Caro has created a text to be read, re-read and referred to when needed. Every chapter is summarised in point form, making quick checks exceedingly simple. As the current Publisher for Economics and Management journals at Wiley and obvious veteran of the publishing world, Caro is ideally suited to be the author of such a book.

The text provides the reader with a series of things that a would-be creator of an academic monograph can do to help themselves, with particular focus on small and yet oft-overlooked details. Attentiveness to these details, according to Caro, can mean the difference between a submission ending up in the ‘no’ pile or the ‘maybe’ pile (p. vi). To say that Caro has thought of everything in this book would naturally be an exaggeration, but it is definitely fair to say that the book contains all of the major aspects of importance to the author. Given that these points are based on years of experience, I am inclined to believe that they are significant. Continue Reading »

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Martin Paul Eve on Open Access Week
Posted by Charlotte Frost

This post is by Martin Paul Eve,  a researcher at the University of Sussex working on the novels of Thomas Pynchon. Until recently he was chief editor of the postgraduate journal Excursions and he has just launched a gold-standard, libre OA journal, Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon. He is speaking as the opening plenary at the UK Scholarly Group next year on auto-subversive practices in academic publishing and has a forthcoming book chapter on Open Access in the edited collection, Zombies in the Academy.

For several years now, academic libraries worldwide have played host to Open Access week, an international celebration of the revolution in academic publishing. For the same number of years, a question has circulated among participants at these events: “is 20XX the year of the tipping point?” It is that question, after a brief excursion into the history of Open Access, that I wish to address. Continue Reading »

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Weekly Wisdom #59 by Paul Gray and David E. Drew
Posted by Charlotte Frost

JOB HUNTING IS A RESEARCH PROJECT and you should treat it as such. Gather as much information as possible. Read the ads. Contact sources. Follow up leads. Be aggressive. Use your contacts. The chance of landing a good appointment is higher if you search broadly than if you sit in your office waiting for one or two possibilities. Begin job hunting early and make it a project you do along with your other work. If you are a graduate student, don’t wait until your dissertation is finished to start looking.

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NaNoWriMo as AcBoWriMo Beta!
Posted by Charlotte Frost

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NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it’s an initiative designed to turn the month of November into a month-long write-fest for current or would-be novelists. The idea is that you set yourself the task of writing 50 thousand words in November and bingo, you’ve got yourself a novel – or at least a first draft of a novel.

I did the bulk of my thesis writing in a fairly short amount of time. Not a month, I hasten to add, but I did embark on some intensive writing (as well as intensive Nutella-eating). Currently, I’m doing a Post-Doc in the US and part of why I’m here is so I can finish my first book. So after hearing about NaNoWriMo a colleague and I started wondering whether AcBoWriMo might be possible.

That’s right, we are here-by declaring November the first Academic Book Writing Month or AcBoWriMo Beta/0.1 or something. We are going to wear comfy clothes, drink a lot of coffee, probably nap in our offices at strange hours and see how close we can get to writing 50 thousand words in one month. I know, it’s totally insane, there can surely only be a handful of academics who can actually turn out decent material in such a short space of time. There are also a lot of differences between writing novels and academic books, but aren’t you just a little bit curious to know how much of a kick-start a dedicated writing month could give your book? Continue Reading »

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My Guardian Blog Post on Job Applications US-Styleee
Posted by Charlotte Frost

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Now that I’m in the US I’m experiencing a whole lot of academic-culture shock. One of the main things to startle me these last weeks has been the difference between the way you apply for a job in the US compared to the UK. I know I am not alone in being panicked by the differences because I have often heard from UK academics settling in the US and being wrong-footed by the system over here. To share what I’ve learnt so far I wrote a piece for the Guardian Higher Education Network called: Job Seeking in the US.

Of coures these things are never cut and dried and there will always be a variety of opinions on the best approach (the same is true of academic book pitching), but I hope the article draws out some of the main differences. Job applications involve a ridiculous amount of hard work and I wanted to help British academics with wander-lust save a bit of time. I’m also hoping some US academics will wade in some insider knowledge too and help build on my early findings!

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Pip Bruce Ferguson on “Getting Published” – a workshop for PhD students and staff at the University of Waikato
Posted by Charlotte Frost

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This post is by Pip Bruce Ferguson, Teaching Developer at The University of Waikato. Hamilton, New Zealand”

Two weeks back I facilitated a workshop that was advertised to a combination of PhD students plus staff at this University, where I work as a Teaching Developer. While my unit doesn’t work directly with PhD students nor supervise them, we do offer ‘Supervisory Conversations’ in conjunction with our Pro Vice Chancellor (Postgraduate), and have done for a couple of years now. These have been an effective way of supporting our supervisors, but have rarely included PhD students. We offer them in a beautiful location on campus, away from main teaching rooms, and provide a finger-food lunch.

Hospitality is important in New Zealand, and getting away from the hustle and bustle of ‘normal’ work and having time to discuss and reflect is very important to our supervisors, who can participate in cross-disciplinary discussion at these events.

Because of the pressure for staff to publish under our Performance-Based Research Fund (the New Zealand equivalent of the U.K.’s Research Assessment Exercise, but funded by rating individuals rather than units) we decided to offer a workshop on how to get published. This was also advertised to PhD students, and the workshop attracted a significant cohort of these, mainly international students. As with the conversations mentioned above, we offered morning tea, some resources such as hardbound notebooks and highlighters to help with the inevitable handouts (!) and an environment where people could ‘come apart’ from their normal workplace. Continue Reading »

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Weekly Wisdom #58 by Paul Gray and David E. Drew
Posted by Charlotte Frost

A PHD IS PRIMARILY AN INDICATION OF SURVIVORSHIP. Although the public at large may view your doctorate as a superb intellectual achievement and a reflection of brilliance, you probably know deep in your heart that it is not. It represents a lot of hard work on your part over a long period of time. You probably received help from one or more faculty to get over rough spots. Your family, be it parents or spouse, stayed with you over the vicissitudes of creating the dissertation. You stuck with it until it was done, unlike the ABDs (All But Dissertation), people who complete all the other requirements but bail out before they finish their dissertations.

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Scientist Meets Publisher
Posted by Charlotte Frost

“Your manuscript has been accepted by the journal I own. Just sign here.”

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Changes Afoot…
Posted by Charlotte Frost

Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pumpkincat210/with/3416918382/

We’re changing a few things here so please bear with us.

You may have seen that Sarah-Louise, our managing editor since January, has moved onto pastures new (she’ll like that metaphor, she’s mad about sheep!). The idea behind editing this site is to provide useful research into academic publishing for the wider PhD2Published community and in doing such, move your own career forwards. Sarah has managed to achieve a mind-boggling amount over the last 9 months and it seemed high time she focus on her new projects and give someone else a go. As a result, we’re interested to hear from anyone who fancies either running or contributing to the site. You’ll get all the support you need and don’t need to bring a single skill to the table – just a desire to build a shared knowledge base for us early-career academics. Just drop us a line and we can have a chat and see what works best for you. And bear in mind that the first two editors of the site (founder/director Charlotte, and Sarah herself) both now have book contracts (and more than one journal article published or in the pipeline) so we can guarantee that getting involved works!

Our amazing designer Sam Beddoes is also helping us tighten up the design a bit, and make sure buried content is more accessible. So the look and feel of the site is about to change just a little bit too. And then we’ll be back on track with lots more useful info!

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Weekly Wisdom #57 by Paul Gray and David E. Drew
Posted by Charlotte Frost

PUBLICATIONS ARE THE ONLY FORM OF PORTABLE WEALTH.  Teaching is a great personal satisfaction and an important public good that you perform. It is an important, necessary condition but not a sufficient one for being hired or tenured.

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“The Time Has Come” The Walrus Said …
Posted by Sarah-Louise Quinnell

To write my last post for phd2published. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as the managing editor of this site but it is now time for me to move on to new things. When Charlotte offered me this opportunity just after my viva last year I wasn’t sure what I could contribute or whether it was a good idea but I have always taken every opportunity that has come my way so I said yes and saw it as a fabulous learning curve, and that’s exactly what it has been.

I have learnt a great deal about academic publishing and academic career development over the last 9 months and a great deal has happened for me on the back of being here thus, I shall use this last post to review my achievements through giving you my top tips:

Put Some Thought into Your Journal Choice and Don’t Be Scared of Top Ranked Journals:

For a variety of reasons I came to the end of my PhD not having published anything as a sole author. I had contributed to a number of policy reports but I had not got any peer reviewed publications out. this was a conscious decision which made sense at the time but at the same time when I got to the end of my PhD I was playing catch-up and this does impact upon your ability to get a post-doc position. Academic departments in the UK are now looking at what potential new staff can or will be able to offer toward the REF. For early-career researchers this is two publications in ‘good’ journals. ‘Good’ generally relates to impact factor and many early-career researchers are scared off from aiming at the top ranked journals in their field. One of the key messages from the Royal Geographical Society Post Graduate Forum Annual Conference Training Symposium (PGF-ACTS) was that if you have a piece which you think is relevant to that high ranking journal you should go for it! they treat everyone the same, even the big names get rejection letters! Continue Reading »

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Weekly Wisdom #56 by Paul Gray and David E. Drew
Posted by Charlotte Frost

EVALUATE A POSTDOC CAREFULLY, particularly if you are in the sciences. You should think of a postdoc in cold, hard economic terms. It is an investment (or speculation, depending on your point of view) just like buying stocks or real estate. You will certainly be paid less than if you took a teaching position, but you may gain additional knowledge and experience to make more money in the long run in your chosen field. The anticipated benefits must exceed the short-run costs to make the investment worthwhile. A postdoc is appropriate under the following conditions:

You are in a field where jobs at good places are scarce and you delayed too long in starting your job search. You feel you need to gain specific research tools (or, if a scien­tist, experience with specialized equipment) to be able to move your research past your PhD dissertation. You want to work with a specific individual who will further your growth. You want to build up your publication list without using up your seven-year tenure clock. A postdoc is not appropriate if you are afraid of teaching or talking in front of people. You are merely delaying the inevitable. A postdoc is also not appropriate if you lived on a shoestring for years and/or support a family.

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Journal of Peace Conflict and Development: Making Our Own Mark
Posted by Sarah-Louise Quinnell

In today’s post the Editorial Board behind the Journal of Peace and Conflict Development talk about how their journal is marking its mark in the changing world of academic publishing. This post was written by Benita Sumita and Roberta Hollanda Maschietto, doctoral researchers in Peace Studies, University of Bradford with input from the editorial board members of the Peace Conflict and Development journal.

“Can we improve our credibility without being ranked?” This potent question raised by one of the editorial board members defines the struggles that lie ahead for the Journal of Peace Conflict and Development (PC&D) nearly a decade since its founding. Apart from the continuing – now ever-more severe – funding constraints, the Journal is faced with having to prove its credibility through more mainstream avenues. It seems the PC&D is not visible within the UK’s mainstream cottage-industry of academic publishing and assessments, which has presumably led to a loss of the meagre financial backing the Journal received the last nine years. All these concerns need to be viewed within the contexts of the current climate of financial pressure in UK’s Higher Education and the increasing tendency to measure the quality, impact and ranking of journals by the number of times their articles are cited. It is perhaps time to question and rethink the systemically flawed nature of academic impact assessment rather than the credibility of a Journal such as PC&D that has made its own mark by reaching a wide and diverse national and international readership and attracting submissions from established scholars and practitioners. Continue Reading »

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Weekly Wisdom #55 by Paul Gray and David E. Drew
Posted by Charlotte Frost

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A MENTOR early in your career. The old apprentice system still exists. Try to find mentors who were success­ful with others, who will support you, and who believe that further­ing your career helps their own career. Such a mentor is preferable to the internationally famous Nobel Prize winner who exploits you.

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Katherine Reekie – Publishing In The Sciences
Posted by Sarah-Louise Quinnell

In this post Katherine Reekie discusses the issues surrounding publishing in the sciences.

“Publish or Perish” is a mantra which will be familiar to many of those working in academia. The pressure to publish your research in order to advance an academic career can be intense. PhD students and early career researchers in particular often find that their career prospects seem to go hand in hand with their publication record. I have heard several colleagues lament, after an unsuccessful interview, that the successful candidate had several first author papers. In the current climate, where funding for research is harder to come by, the competition for research posts is increasing, and having a good publication or two under your belt can be a considerable advantage.

The ultimate aim for a researcher in any field is to publish their research – to have it put out there in the public domain, to share their findings with the rest of the scientific community and to receive well deserved recognition for their research. The format of publication may take a variety of formats, for example journal articles, a book chapter, short news articles, reviews or letters. In Science, my own field, publishing of novel research is most typically in the form of a research paper in a scientific journal. These papers can be the result of many years of work, carried out by a great number of people. Due to an emphasis on collaboration, which is often encouraged by calls for grants involving groups of researchers all over the world to work together on the same project, the resulting research article can be a product of the work of many individuals. Therefore, rather than single or dual authored papers it is common to have several tens of contributing authors on a research article, and this number can grow to hundreds for large consortia, for example the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium which published the sequence of the human genome in 2001. Continue Reading »

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