Weekly wisdom: tips and tweaks #41 by Linda Levitt

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For the next several posts, Weekly Wisdom will be looking

Sarah Caro

Random Post: Writing in groups with international co-authors: Part Two by Karen Strickland

Writing Morning

In her second post, Karen Strickland outlines the benefits of collaborative


Klaus Dodds – Publishing in Academic Journals: Part 1
Posted by Sarah-Louise Quinnell

Today we present part 1 of the second RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum Annual Conference Training Symposium (PGF-ACTS) follow up pieces. In this post Professor Klaus Dodds looks at getting published in academic journals. Klaus is Professor of Geopolitics at Royal Holloway, University of London. Klaus is also Editor of the Geographical Journal.

For the vast majority of people undertaking a doctorate, getting their work published either during the research period or in the aftermath of the defence is a priority. The focus on journal publication is, more often than not, shaped by a number of factors; journal publications are highly regarded when it comes to future employment in academic and academic-related circles, journal articles are more manageable in the short-term compared to a potential monograph, articles are more likely to get read by non-academic audiences, and importantly publication whether in a journal or not fulfils a general desire to witness one’s scholarly work published online/print.

We target journals, therefore, for a variety of reasons including to secure that first academic post, after graduation. My comments reflect very much my own experience in the discipline of geography alongside publishing elsewhere in historical, political science, policy orientated and regional studies journals. I am also the editor of The Geographical Journal, and serve on the editorial boards of six other journals. Finally, multiple conversations with doctoral students I supervised in the past, and increasingly in the present, were sources of inspiration. Continue Reading »

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Kevin Ward – Writing an Academic book – Some Thoughts
Posted by Sarah-Louise Quinnell

Following on from my appearence on the panel at RGS Postgraduate ForumAnnual Conference Training Symposium (PGF-ACTS) last week I present the first of three posts from the speakers on publishing. Todays post looks at writing and academic book and is brought to you by Professor Kevin Ward. Kevin is Professor of Human Geography at Manchester University and has been the Editor of Area a journal published on behalf of the Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) since 2010.

So, you’ve decided that you are going to write an academic book.  Well, here are five tips:

1. It is worth considering the sort of book you want to write.  Look at publishers’ websites and consider the following: 

- Does the publisher produce the type of book that you want to write in your field?

- Are hardback and paperback versions of the book published simultaneously?  If not, how many hardbacks does your book have to sell before the publisher will commission a paperback run?

- What marketing and distribution system does the publisher have?

- Does the publisher send out copies to academic journals for review?

- Does the publisher attend large academic conferences and participate in book exhibitions? Continue Reading »

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Charlotte Frost on Academic Blogging
Posted by Charlotte Frost

Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/2965186113/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Leonard Cassuto said in the Guardian: ‘If a graduate student asks me, “Should I blog?” my answer, at least right now, would still be, “Probably not “’. Just weeks ago I gave a talk at the British Library saying very much the opposite. Cassuto is a more established academic than myself, but I still think I have a point – and so did the people who invited me to give that opinion.

To discuss the fact that I came across Cassuto’s article and talked about it on Twitter would be to open another – if related – can of worms. Suffice to say that engaging with twitter for this type of academic commentary is the way I work. I’ve said time and again that Twitter and blogging allow me to usefully interact with so many academics – and non academics I hasten to add – whose opinions I value. I stand by this method of working as it helps me find great new people and ideas on a daily basis and this regularly directly informs my work.

I do recognize that my subject area lends itself particularly well to this type of information exchange. I’m currently writing a book on art mailing list culture and social media and my area of expertise is in art forms that thrive in these networks of sharing. I have had many people point out to me that they themselves aren’t working in a field where social media is considered appropriate and/or they are handling sensitive data that can’t be shared. However, I still take issue with much of what Cassuto says and I still think online discussion platforms have their place in academia.

Like Cassuto, I will divide my response into two sections. The first deals with form because I would argue that he doesn’t credit blogging or any other type of online communication with being anything other than ‘unpublished’, ‘unedited’, ‘unofficial’ writing. There is much about his tone that indicates he sees it as a lesser form of writing and I take issue with that. Continue Reading »

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We Ask Ken Wissoker: Do We Need to Rethink Academic Publishing?
Posted by Charlotte Frost

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

Continuing to gather responses to the Guardian article by George Monbiot on the broken model of academic publishing, we asked Ken Wissoker, Editorial Director at Duke University Press, to wade into the debate. Here’s what he had to say:

I thought Monbiot’s article was very valuable for getting the word out about how the big publishers – especially Elsevier – but also Taylor and Francis and Wiley-Blackwell have extracted as much money as possible from university libraries. Elsevier pioneered this, coming up with big packages of journals that universities needed and pricing them as high as possible.  Universities with researchers in those areas (mostly science and medicine) had to pay or they weren’t supporting their professors. Since every journal was unique intellectual property, there was no competition and no market. If a library wanted to cancel a journal, Elsevier didn’t lower the price of the collection. This really was wealth extraction in a frightening and damaging form. So the article’s account of all that was a good wake-up call for those, including many academics, who were not aware of these changes over the last ten or fifteen years.  He is totally right about the infuriating way these arrangements cut out anyone without access to a university library. Continue Reading »

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We Ask Martin Paul Eve: Do We Need to Rethink Academic Publishing?
Posted by Charlotte Frost

In his Guardian article, George Monbiot makes an excellent case against the existing academic publishing industry. Knowing that Martin Paul Eve would have much to say, we asked if he’d like to address Monbiot’s points in advance of his talk at the UKSG next year.

George Monbiot builds a good case against the corporate publishing machine that dominates the academic world and his article has had portions of the Twittersphere buzzing. I am due to speak in the opening plenary of the UK Scholarly Group conference next year – the biggest gathering of librarians and academic publishers – to make a similar argument: we don’t need academic publishers. While I won’t reiterate every aspect of Monbiot’s piece, there are several aspects, here, that are worth unpicking, especially where I diverge from Monbiot’s stance.

Firstly, Monbiot approaches, but never directly engages with, the driver of prestige in academia. He mentions the necessity of publishing with high impact factor journals and states that we can “start reading” new OA journals, but can’t “stop reading the closed ones”. Actually, we can, but only if people stop publishing therein. This will not happen in the UK because of the Research Excellence Framework and its insistence that the higher “impact” band a journal, the more weight a piece will have. This is a delegation of the critical task of the researcher into the arms of a commercial entity. While peer review serves as a useful filter, merely trusting this, based on journals which achieve their prestige based on rejection rates, is a foolish move, driven by the equally foolish baseline of a research assessment dependent on corporations. The REF, alongside competition for academic jobs, drives this system.

Secondly, publishers are able to use institutional libraries as a shield to hide a researcher’s autosubversive behaviour. Consider that, by publishing in a closed, proprietary journal, a researcher actually limits his or her own access to material by constricting his or her own institution’s library budget. This is not how it appears to the researcher, though, because the spend is at one remove. Researchers publish for prestige and it is the library’s fault if material is not forthcoming. Open Access supported by commercial entities does make a researcher aware of the problems, because in this case they will be asked to pay up front. However, most reactions from researchers to this tend to be: “I don’t want to pay, let us revert to the model where I didn’t pay”. In this way, publishers have built a “command and control” system for an entity that functions, in its obfuscation, distribution and resilience, in a mode most akin to a piece of computer malware. Libraries must educate researchers of their own complicity in this web. Continue Reading »

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PhD2Published @ Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference
Posted by Sarah-Louise Quinnell

As a Geographer I am very proud to say that today I will be representing PhD2Published at the Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference. I have been asked to be on the panel for the Postgraduate Forum Annual Conference Training Symposium (PGF-ACTS). The purpose of the postgraduate forum is outlined below: Continue Reading »

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Getting From PhD to Published at InterFace 2011
Posted by Charlotte Frost
I was really excited to speak at the amazing InterFace 2011 humanities and technology conference on the 29th July at UCL. It was organised by a really diverse and highly-skilled group of PhD students and it was such a pleasure to be involved with.
I spoke on ‘Getting from PhD2Published’ as part of a session on publishing. My Prezi is below and for the rest of the contributors head over to the publishing page on the InterFace website.
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Dr Jigar Jogia – Advice From a Prize Winning Author
Posted by Sarah-Louise Quinnell

Over the last few months we have looked at writing and publishing journal articles from a variety of different perspectives but mainly in the social sciences so here is a post for the natural and clinical scientists amongst our readers. Todays post comes from Dr Jigar Jogia. Jigar completed his PhD in the field of Psychiatry and Cognitive Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry, (King’s College London, KCL) in 2010. He is currently a Postdoctoral researcher in the section of neurobiology of psychosis (Institute of Psychiatry, KCL). He also lectures and delivers training to staff and students for the Graduate School Researcher Development Unit at KCL. Jigar recently won the Samuel Gershon Award for Bipolar Disorder Research, in this post he reflects on the importance of journal selection. 

Recently I have published some original data in a peer reviewed Journal Molecular Psychiatry which is the highest ranked psychiatric journal at present with an impact factor of 15.470. The impact factor is a measure of the average number of citations to articles published in science and social science journals. It is commonly used as a proxy for the relative importance of a journal within its field; with journals with higher impact factors deemed to be more important. My advice to young postdocs in any field wanting to publish their research is to be realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of your studies and select the right journal, it is one of the most crucial parts of the publication process but the importance of this step is underestimated by many. Selecting a journal whereby your research can reach your target audience and have a real impact in your field is vital for furthering your career as a postdoctoral researcher. Publishing in a good journal will add indirect credibility to your work and also introduce you as a new researcher in the field. Continue Reading »

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Weekly Wisdom #53
Posted by Charlotte Frost

Weekly Wisdom #53 Don’t start promising free copies to everybody you encounter, you wont actually get that many!

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Claire Warden – How To Spend The Time Between PhD & Publishing
Posted by Sarah-Louise Quinnell

Today’s post comes from Dr. Claire Warden and considers how to spend your time while moving from PhD to published. Claire is a Lecturer in Drama at the University of Lincoln. Her first book, British Avant-Garde Theatre is out with Palgrave next year. You can follow Claire on twitter here.

While commenting on a draft copy of my book, my wonderfully generous proof-reader made me rethink my use of citation with the following soupçon of wit:

“Quite a lot of references to what other scholars are doing. Sometimes these get rather too close to the ‘as Dr Dryasdust has said, “Shakespeare lived before the steam-engine”’.

The point being, citation in a book is substantially different from citation in a thesis. Dr Dryasdust’s comment is factually correct but we do not require the good doctor to tell us! And this gets to the crux of the difference between a thesis and a book: the former is written for examination, the latter is written to be read.

The humorous comment also points to a broader issue: the PhD-to-Book process is one of learning, personal development and transforming the way you write. While I completed my PhD in 2007, my first book will only hit the shelves (or shelf on my less ambitious days) next year. This might seem like a large gap and, as I finish the final draft, it certainly feels as if I have spent half a lifetime on it! But, as the story above shows, there is merit in taking your time over this process. There is a great deal of useful material on this site about the PhD-to-Book process, so what I want to do is focus on what to do while you’re waiting. Obviously honing our writing skills and ignoring Dr Dryasdust’s unnecessary interruptions are vital, but what else can be done? Continue Reading »

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Weekly Wisdom #52
Posted by Charlotte Frost

Weekly Wisdom #52 Don’t forget to work on your CV, it needs to be just as pretty as the rest of your pitch!

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Charlotte Frost Interviewed in Adventures in Career Development
Posted by Charlotte Frost

I was recently interviewed about PhD2Published for the excellent blog Adventures in Career Development by Tristram Hooley. It was great to reflect on how PhD2Published started and has grown over the last eighteen months or so. And I was really honoured Tristram was interested in the project.

My interview starts like this:

AiCD: Who are you?

My name is Dr Charlotte Frost I’m the 2011/2012 International Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for 21st Century Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I’m a broadcaster and academic interested in the relationship between art and technology. My particular specialism is the impact of digital technologies on art historical discourse, but I’ve also been studying and writing about the developing field of Digital and New Media art for over ten years. I teach art contextual modules at Writtle School of Design and the University of Westminster. And I run a range of projects that support my research objectives while creating platforms for knowledge exchange and experimentation – particularly with reference to publishing.

AiCD: Tell us a little bit about PhD2Published? Continue Reading »

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Ernesto Priego – On Collaborative Blogging as Scholarly Activity. The Case of The Comics Grid. Part II.
Posted by Sarah-Louise Quinnell

This is the second part of Dr Ernesto Priego’s series on collaborative blogging as a scholarly activity.

“Every moment has its discontents, its challenges and failures. Yet no moment is every truly last, at least not so long as we persist in human conversation.”

-Stuart Moulthrop, 2005 [PDF]

From the start I knew that if The Comics Grid project was attractive to others it was going to grow fast. I therefore considered essential to design specific guidance documentation, that was later reviewed by the core editorial team. What started with one person, then five, has become now thirteen active contributors, including reviewers and editors. We have published 52 posts since January 2011, and have since maintained our publication schedule of two original posts per week. The blog has been viewed almost 28,000 times, and our analytics reveal that most readers find us by making comics research-related queries on Google.

A sense of mission is what has kept editors and contributors working together in spite of the logical challenges imposed by lack of face-to-face interaction (all work is done online, by email, on shared Google docs and on the blog’s dashboard). In what follows I’d like to share with you one the points that summarise our mission:

Continue Reading »

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Ernesto Priego – On Collaborative Blogging as Scholarly Activity. The Case of The Comics Grid. Part I.
Posted by Sarah-Louise Quinnell

This week we are exploring different types of publishing with posts from Dr. Ernesto Priego. Dr Ernesto Priego is an editor, journalist, translator, poet, curator and researcher. He has been writing and teaching about comics since 1994. He lives in London. You can follow him on twitter here

“If collaboration and team working are going to be expected more of humanities researchers in future, then we need to think about how to make it seem more normal.”

-Claire Warwick, 15 June 2011

One of the most satisfying and challenging projects I’ve been involved with recently is The Comics Grid. When people ask me what it is all about, I say “collaboration.” After I submitted the final draft of my PhD dissertation (ambitiously titled “The Comic Book in the Age of Digital Reproduction”), I couldn’t wait any longer to to create an actual platform, a research and teaching tool, something concrete (online resources are very much concrete and not “virtual” in the sense of “unreal”) with which to address a lack I perceived in the field.

This field is actually a multiplicity of fields. Since what has been called “comics scholarship” studies multimodal texts the methodologies employed to study them should equally be multmodal, i.e., combining different disciplines until not too long ago perceived (and in some cases still perceived) as essentially different. Media studies, communication studies, information studies, cultural studies, film studies, archeology, library science, history, geography, you name it: people studying comics within and outside academia have always employed a combination of approaches and terminologies produced and transmitted from these disciplinary areas. Continue Reading »

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Weekly Wisdom #51
Posted by Charlotte Frost

Weekly Wisdom #51 Keep your name out there by writing reviews of related books for key publications!

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