Category: academic writing

Unbundling is Over-rated: On the value of contributing to an edited book

Terry Clague sheds reasonable doubt on the assertion that contributing to edited book chapters is a waste of time. The sole aim of publication isn’t necessarily to maximise citations. If citations are the only measure of academic value then there’s a danger that academic research becomes the X-Factor. Furthermore, edited collections can also aid discovery of new material where new […]

The researcher’s guide to literature: Visualising crowd-sourced overviews of knowledge domains.

Given the enormous amount of new knowledge produced every day, keeping up-to-date on all the literature is increasingly difficult. Peter Kraker argues that visualizations could serve as universal guides to knowledge domains. He and colleagues have come up with an interactive way of automating the visualisations of entire knowledge domains and relevant articles within fields. Through similarity measures identified in a Mendeley powered data-set, an interested […]

How to write a killer conference abstract: The first step towards an engaging presentation.

Helen Kara responds to our previously published guide to writing abstracts and elaborates specifically on the differences for conference abstracts. She offers tips for writing an enticing abstract for conference organisers and an engaging conference presentation. Written grammar is different from spoken grammar. Remember that conference organisers are trying to create as interesting and stimulating an event as they can, and […]

The Organized Mind: How to better structure our time in the age of social media and constant distraction.

The information age is drowning us in a deluge of data, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate facts from pseudo-facts, objective from biased sources, and at the same time, we’re all being asked to do more at home and at work. Daniel Levitin reviews the cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory, presents the differences between mind-wandering mode and […]

Shorter, better, faster, free: Blogging changes the nature of academic research, not just how it is communicated

Academic blogging gets your work and research out to a potentially massive audience at very, very low cost and relative amount of effort. Patrick Dunleavy argues blogging and tweeting from multi-author blogs especially is a great way to build knowledge of your work, to grow readership of useful articles and research reports, to build up citations, and to foster debate […]

Why Inaccessibility? Despite progressive tone, attacks on academics’ lack of clarity can be profoundly regressive.

It has become popular to denounce academic writing as elitist and unhelpful. Eric Detweiler argues that inaccessibility may be a more complex issue. “Inaccessible” writing may be the result of  an author trying to do things with language that conventional, “clear” uses of language cannot. Furthermore, these critiques are often launched at marginalised fields that are writing in non-standard ways […]

What makes a successful research project blog? Forums for generating ideas fare better than sharing final results.

Coordinating a research project blog has many benefits, but it can lead to some difficulties in practice. Pat Thomson reflects on the types of project blogs in her experience worked better than others. The ones aimed at developing ideas and connecting with external partners were very useful. But the presentation of core findings were a concern to some funders. Furthermore, when does […]

Storyboarding research: How to proactively plan projects, reports and articles from the outset.

A storyboard is just a comprehensive set of rough sketches on paper to help keep a project ticking along to completion. Patrick Dunleavy is a firm supporter of this approach for research projects. The storyboard is what you build as soon as you know you have the grant award or the contract is in the bag, and the precise resources that […]