Fail and Fail Often!

Writing for Inside Higher Ed, Kenneth Womack and Nichola D. Gutgold advise junior tenure track faculty:

The best advice we ever received when we were on the tenure track was that to be successful, we needed to keep sending our research out. We needed to work feverishly to develop an audience. In short, you have to be ready to respond quickly — or fail fast. Because what is failure? Is it merely a temporary result or a protracted state of mind? Consider the words of playwright Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Full essay here: https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2015/04/01/essay-importance-sharing-work-and-facing-rejection-advance-scholarly-career

 

Scholarly Kitchen: Why Is Science Suffering in the Modern Age?

Kent Anderson writing for the Scholarly Kitchen (“What’s Hot and Cooking in Scholarly Publishing”) asks, “Why is science suffering in the modern age?” Among the causes of the crisis of public confidence in science:

  1. Political and societal dysfunction.
  2. Economic dysfunction.
  3. Mass media dysfunction.
  4. Scientific dysfunction.

Admitting the complexities of the first three, Anderson observes of the last: “Scientists need to become better communicators.”

The article is available on line: http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2015/02/17/taking-our-eye-off-the-ball-why-is-science-suffering-in-the-modern-age/

Owning and Using Scholarship: An IP Handbook for Teachers and Researchers

Director of the Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communication at Duke University, Kevin Smith has published Owning and Using Scholarship: An IP Handbook for Teachers and Researchers. Published by the Association of College and Research Libraries and available in an open-access PDF version, the book provides scholars with a primer to intellectual property issues in the digital age:

http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/publications/booksanddigitalresources/digital/9780838987483_copyright_OA.pdf

 

Inside Higher Ed: Welcome criticism (Rockquemore)

Kerry Ann Rockquemore, writing for Inside Higher Ed, advises early-career researchers and scholars to welcome criticism rather than to become frustrated or dispirited by it.

It’s all about context, including the context of your reaction, as well as seeking out the advice of trusted colleagues: https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2015/01/28/essay-how-those-starting-academic-careers-should-respond-criticism

Chronicle: Really Obvious but Ignored Guide to Getting Published

Kirsten Bell, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Vitae, offers sage advice to authors seeking publication:

  • Know the journal to which you want to submit. (Hint: Actually read articles from several of the most recent issues and read the author guidelines usually found on the journal’s web site.)
  • Nominate reviewers if given the option.
  • Don’t make a prior rejection of the ms obvious. (Hint: In your communication with an editor, personal confessions are not required.)
  • Learn how to write a scholarly ms before submitting one. (Hint: Read and carefully study the genres, formats, structure, and language of your discipline’s articles.)
  • Be persistent.

Online for subscribers: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/566-the-really-obvious-but-all-too-often-ignored-guide-to-getting-published

Be It Resolved: Write!

In addition to losing weight, exercising more, and keeping in better touch with friends and family, have you also resolved to write more this new year?

In an editorial in Clinical Nursing Research, Pamela Z. Cacchione outlines some “Publishing Considerations for New Academic Faculty,” reminding us of the value of placing writing in our schedules, including cultivating a daily writing habit.

Writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Rob Jenkins advises readers on “Writing with a Heavy Teaching Load.” He suggests that faculty commit, organize and prioritize, schedule, be patient, and repurpose.

How to Correct the Media When They Misreport Your Research

A study published in BMJ 2014;349 reports that mass-media misrepresentations and inaccuracies concerning research findings are often the products of university communication offices’ self-promotion efforts, the result of increasing competition among high education institutions to claim points of pride.

According to this study’s abstract:

Results 40% (95% confidence interval 33% to 46%) of the press releases contained exaggerated advice, 33% (26% to 40%) contained exaggerated causal claims, and 36% (28% to 46%) contained exaggerated inference to humans from animal research. When press releases contained such exaggeration, 58% (95% confidence interval 48% to 68%), 81% (70% to 93%), and 86% (77% to 95%) of news stories, respectively, contained similar exaggeration, compared with exaggeration rates of 17% (10% to 24%), 18% (9% to 27%), and 10% (0% to 19%) in news when the press releases were not exaggerated. Odds ratios for each category of analysis were 6.5 (95% confidence interval 3.5 to 12), 20 (7.6 to 51), and 56 (15 to 211). At the same time, there was little evidence that exaggeration in press releases increased the uptake of news. . . . Exaggeration in news is strongly associated with exaggeration in press releases. Improving the accuracy of academic press releases could represent a key opportunity for reducing misleading health related news. (http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g7015)

Researchers should pay careful attention to both inaccuracies and omissions in popular new reporting of their research. At the very least, a letter to the editor or a comment on the news web site is in order.

Simple boilerplate language follows:

I am writing in response to your article [title of news article here] by [journalist’s name here] that you published on [date of the news article here]. While I am grateful that you have brought my [and my colleagues’] research to a wider audience, I need to correct some inaccuracies [and omissions].

First, . . .

Second, . . .

Finally, . . .

Our research has promise but that potential is not yet fulfilled.

By responding to news reports of your research, you refine the public discussion and inform non-expert readers and journalists, “a key opportunity for reducing misleading health related news.”

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