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Baby on board, so time to take my leave (at least for a little while!)…by Anna Tarrant

baby-on-boardThe time has come to announce that this is my last post for PhD2Published for a little while (boo! :-( because I am going to be taking some time off to have a baby! :-) She (yes apparently it’s a girl!) is due at the end of April 2013 so my attentions will be re-directed elsewhere for a while.

I have thoroughly enjoyed being the Managing Editor for PhD2Published and given that my body is being incredibly productive, I thought I would also take this opportunity to reflect on my time with PhD2Published to share some of the things I have learnt.

Becoming Managing Editor was a ‘seize the moment’ type affair (my first tip; seize any opportunity that you can – but be strategic!). I was working as a Senior Teaching Associate at Lancaster University (a teaching only position) at the time and I felt really disconnected from the world of academic publishing and research. In identifying a need for support and guidance in publishing I embarked on an online search for resources and that was when I came across PhD2Published.  As luck would have it, Charlotte was looking for someone to fill the Managing Editor role so I jumped at the opportunity and just over a year later I am so grateful I did. Here’s why:

I have learnt about how and where to publish

One of my roles as Managing Editor is to source material relating to topics relevant to academic publishing. With a desire to publish myself I sought information that would not just help me, but others too, in all our publishing journeys. This helped me to collate useful material that also built a strong personal, but openly accessible narrative about publishing.  In the past year I have invited academics of various career stages to write blogs, ranging in focus and including (but not limited too): contemporary publishing models such as Open Access; developing academic writing (see the benefits of writing in groups and collaborative writing); and reflection on publishing and emotion (e.g. Publish or Perish). I have even written my own resources for the site (see my series of #acwri summaries and what not to send for peer review) and for other reputable blogs including Guardian Higher Education.

As well as publishing blogs, I have gained a great deal of knowledge and confidence in publishing in more traditional ways. In the past year I have had three journal articles accepted, have had a book chapter published, with another on the way, and have been asked to peer review for several journals – all skills I needed to acquire but felt less able to in my teaching post. Needless to say, I am now a Research Associate at the Open University and can boast a much-developed CV.

I have upskilled

  • I have learnt how to blog, how to set up a blog site and how to write for different audiences,
  • I have learnt how to use Twitter, to network, to establish a professional identity, to share resources, to chair and manage a live chat (#acwri) and a large scale online project (#acwrimo),
  • I have also learnt how to use a range of different social media and applications including Twitter, Storify, Paper.li, Dropbox and Google Docs.

Networking: online and off

Networking and contacting academics from a variety of backgrounds, disciplines, geographic locations and so on has also launched me into a supportive, active and engaged community across multiple social media platforms; the website itself, Twitter and Facebook. Meeting people at conferences who know of me through Twitter has undeniably enhanced my ability to network and to meet people in my fields of research. Get known on Twitter, it helps to enhance your networking skills and visibility at conferences!

I have become involved in emerging academic debates about publishing/writing

Finally, PhD2Published has also expanded my research interests and expertise, so much so that I gave a conference paper about it at the SRHE Annual Conference 2012. This has afforded me the opportunity to reflect critically on academic use of social media for knowledge production and there is even a publication in the pipeline about this very topic, so watch this space!

Last but not least, as well as acquiring a range of skills I have also found a great colleague and friend in the one and only, charismatic and creative, Charlotte Frost. She is a quirky, selfless lady (with a penchant for pretty, purple, glittery things) and a true inspiration. I have the utmost respect for her and she has truly shown me that respect is earned; through hard work, tenacity, friendship, intelligence and a lust for life. I have a lot to thank her for and everyone who I have had the pleasure of working with/meeting in the past year or so.

Of course, I am not disappearing completely so hope to see you online soon!!

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