September Writing Roundup
This Month in Review
September marks not only the start of a new academic year but also the opening of the academic job market season. For many of my dear readers, this time of year is both exhilarating and nerve-wracking, as it ushers in a flurry of activity and anticipation. Balancing the demands of navigating the job market, maintaining current academic responsibilities, and dealing with the uncertainty of your future is...um...a lot. I spent several years on the job market as a graduate student and after receiving my PhD, and I recall the experience vividly.
There is so much to say about navigating the market that I am excited to announce my first ever live office hours, which will focus specifically on the academic job market. You can find the details below. I hope you can join me!
Here are some of my favorite media I’ve consumed over the past month on writing, productivity, and managing all-the-things. Some of this content is new, some of it is old, but all of it has kernels of wisdom for busy academic writers.
1. Here are the Publish Not Perish posts from the past month, in case you missed any:
2. It’s academic job market season! This can be a stressful and exciting time for folks, so I thought I would offer a live office hours session for people to come and chat about strategies, tips, stress, and general ways to keep your sanity. Make sure you have a paid subscription by October 3rd to access the link to the meeting.
What: A Q&A about the academic job market
When: Wednesday, October 4th, at 4 p.m. CST.
Where: Via Zoom
How do you access it? All paid members will get a link in advance
What if I can’t make the time? We’ll record it so you can access it later.
Special Note: This session will be recorded, and you can choose to have cameras on or off.
3. I have written a few posts about publicly engaged writing recently, and one thing a few readers pointed out that I did not is that putting yourself out there in some public spaces online can expose you to racist and sexist comments, as well as other forms of vitriol. You can read their insightful comments on the original post, Academic vs. Public Writing.
This was an important point to bring up, and I am grateful that these readers did. I have been using Twitter for over a decade and have had some public-facing work published in a few places. On a few occasions, my work has brought in a few trolls who attempted to put me in my place. However, the reality is that I’ve never been visible enough to experience a great deal of negative public attention. Minoritized identities and people who write about minoritized folks or politically hot topics may be particularly vulnerable to harassment. So, while many of us want to get our work out there in the world, it is important to consider the consequences.
If you regularly write publicly, have experienced harassment, and have found ways to deal with it, I would love to have you write a guest post for PNP.
4. Do you frequently collaborate with co-authors, or do you want to? Academic writing coach Anna Clemens shared her top nine tips for a smooth working relationship on LinkedIn. You may need a LinkedIn profile to read it, but here's a summary:
#1: Who owns the project?
#2: Who is going to write which part?
#3: What is the timeline?
#4: Who is going to be the first/last author?
#5: What is the story of your paper?
#6: What is your target journal?
#7: How will you communicate?
#8: Who is going to have the final word?
#9: Which program will you use to write the paper?
I don’t do a lot of co-writing, but I have found that taking a similar approach helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page from the start. For those of you who frequently co-write, what would you add?
5. Have you noticed an increase in “journals” approaching you to publish with them but charging exorbitant fees to do so? Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen a lot more predatory journals slinking into my inbox. Basically, they promise to peer review your research and publish it for the low, low price of $500 or some other ridiculous number. What is so infuriating about this is that so many graduate students and other contingent laborers are working so hard to get published so they can find secure jobs, so this type of marketing is designed to prey on anxious people who have the least money to begin with.
As Eric Freedman and Bahtiyar Kurambayev write in their Conversation piece on the topic,
Another journal, the International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, says it publishes in about 40 fields, including criminology, business, international relations, linguistics, law, music, anthropology and ethics. We received an email from this journal, signed by its chief editor, who is listed as being affiliated with a U.S. university.
But when we called this university, we were told that the school does not employ anyone with that name. Another person at the school’s Art Department said that the editor in question no longer works there.
I get regular emails from this particular journal seeking submissions.
To be clear, you should never have to pay for your research to be published in a reputable journal. Because they frequently lack the standard of peer review that most academics seek, these predatory journals will not add to your CV. If you receive an email and are unsure, please contact a more senior scholar to double-check. The one caveat is that if you want to make your work in a journal open-access, there is often a large fee attached, but that is usually negotiated after the piece is accepted for publication.
5. Anna Clemens also had a great Twitter thread about how not to write journal article discussion sections. I don’t usually write research articles using the results/discussion format, but I do read a lot of them, and as a reader, I would like to see more discussion sections written to avoid the pitfalls that Clemens highlights! Here’s the summary:
TL;DR: The 5 most common mistakes in the Discussion section:
#1: Providing too much background info
#2: Not restating the motivation of your study
#3: Describing the purpose of each experiment
#4: Too general implication statements
#5: Skipping the discussion altogether
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