Fast Writing

Gregory Semenza writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Vitae website (free but requiring registration to view) recommends “Better Writing Habits in Just 10 Minutes.” Using Robert Boice’s “contingency management” (in which you schedule time daily for writing), Semenza recommends grabbing 10 or 15 minutes between doing other things (instead of checking Facebook or watching YouTube). There are three advantages: “It makes writing less daunting. . . . it makes you want to write more. . . . It helps you stay in the flow.”

Details here:

How to Get Published, or Not

Two summertime articles in Inside Higher Ed remind us of some basic principles for successful scholarly publishing.

Social scientist Maureen Pirog outlines key elements of successful research and publishing:

  1. Think globally.
  2. Create a good research team.
  3. Select a strong research design.
  4. Use good data and measures.
  5. If your paper has flaws, do not ignore them.
  6. Get to the point and write clearly and compellingly.
  7. Constructive feedback is your friend, especially before you submit your manuscript to a journal.
  8. Be strategic.
  9. Get it off your desk.

Details here:

Humanities scholar Rob Weir takes the counter-intuitive approach, reminding us of the self-imposed impediments to publishing:

  1. Demonstrate your illiteracy.
  2. Assume your research is so important that it speaks for itself.
  3. Disrespect the profession.
  4. Disrespect the journal.

Details here:

NLN Scholarly Writing Retreat Shows Results

The Spring 2014 issue of The NLN Report includes an article on the long-term impact on ongoing writing behaviors of the NLN Scholarly Writing Retreat. See here and scroll to page 10.

Of 111 participants, 62 responded to an outcomes survey; of those 61 submitted manuscripts. Eighty percent were published, with an additional 11.5 percent still in review.

More about the fall writing retreat here:

Write First, Clear Decks Later

Joli Jensen, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Vitae reminds us: If you’re waiting to clear the decks before you start writing, you won’t get to around to writing:

Letting go of the delusion that things are going to settle down later will free you to figure out how to secure writing time now. If your heart sinks at that prospect, it may be because (like my colleague) you believe you can’t possibly put one more obligation—like writing—into your life right now. The key is to remember that your scholarly work is not just one more commitment. It is not “one more thing.” It is the main thing in your professional life. It is what you need to do to be happy in your chosen field. And it can be a rewarding thing, once you establish frequent, low-stress, high-reward encounters, in a supportive environment, with a project you care about.

See more at:


Brain Pickings: The Psychology of Writing and the Cognitive Science of the Perfect Daily Routine

Maria Popova, writing for the online Brain Pickings, summarizes the literature on developing an effective writing habit, which includes establishing a place, time of day, and time to write regularly. Details here: 

Predatory Publishing: It’s a Jungle Out There in the Wild West

OK, so I’m mixing metaphors here, but the new landscape of online publications does invite both the image of the predatory jungle (“Nature, red in tooth and claw,” as the poet Tennyson wrote) and the lawless American frontier West. Compliments of Edie Brous, nurse attorney——a compilation of recent reports on predatory open-access journals and scholarly conference scams.

Jeffrey Beall, 9/12/12

“Predatory Publishers Are Corrupting Open Access”

Declan Butler, 3/27/13

“Investigating Journals: The Dark Side of Publishing”

Declan Butler, 3/27/14

“Sham Journals Scam Authors: Con Artists Are Stealing the Identities of Real Journals To Cheat Scientists Out of Publishing Fees”

Kyle Crocco, 3/12/14

“Welcome To The Dark Side Of Academia:  Fake Conferences And Faux Journals”

Carl Elliott, 6/5/12

“On Predatory Publishers: A Q&A With Jeffrey Beall”

Martha Harbison, 4/9/13

Bogus Academic Conferences Lure Scientists

Gina Kolata, 4/7/13

“Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too)”

Amy Novotney, APA 2014

“Watch Out For Faux Journals and Fake Conferences”

Be careful out there!

LAP Dancing

Please forgive the naughty (but, I hope, attention getting) subject line, but I want to draw your attention to a book publishing scam: LAP (Lambert Academic Publishing).

One of our recent doctoral graduates received a solicitation from LAP to publish in book from her dissertation.

Here is what Jeffrey Beall had to say about LAP back in 2012:

This publisher solicits from recent graduates, and its Web site invites the publication not only of doctoral dissertations but also master’s theses and even baccalaureate theses.

They offer a quick turnaround from the time of your ms submission to its acceptance (almost certainly guaranteed). There is no anonymous peer review, and LAP even acknowledges that copy editing would only add cost, so your ms is ready for print.

Trust me when I tell you: Reputable academic publishers rarely solicit book manuscripts (except from seasoned scholars or emerging scholars of conspicuous excellence), and even less rarely will they solicit a dissertation. Their in-boxes are already full of book proposals and sample chapters, and the successful publication of a book requires substantial revision of the dissertation. (For example, I chopped my 600-page behemoth dissertation down to a 300-page ms that was published as AIDS and American Apocalypticism.)

A couple of observations about scholarly book publishing. First, a reputable university or scholarly press will subject a ms to rigorous review: not only the acquisitions editor and a specialist series editor (usually a university professor with an active research program) but also two or more anonymous peer reviewers. In other words, a scholarly book (the gold standard for publishing in the humanities, for example) is as rigorously reviewed as a journal article ms.

However, in the discipline of nursing science, the peer reviewed journal article is generally the gold standard for disseminating new knowledge. So, doctoral students and recent grads, work on revising the dissertation in the form of one or more journal articles.

Current doctoral students or recent graduates should consult with their dissertation advisers in order determine the appropriate journals to which they should submit their mss.

Always check Beall’s website if you are uncertain:


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