What are the types of academic publications?

Academic publishing represents one of the most significant aspects of the work of faculty members as well as graduate students. One’s success in academic publishing fundamentally determines one’s success in higher education. Publishing is vital for getting a faculty position and critical in the tenure decision. Unlike other aspects of faculty work such as teaching or service, the high stakes world of academic publishing is fraught with complications. What counts? How is one type of publication weighted compared to another? These questions are quite context-specific depending on your discipline, institution, and department. In today’s post, I want to help unpack academic publishing and research by exploring the question of what are the different types of academic publications.

Photo credit: Sam Churchill

Like the broader publishing world, academic publishing has changed dramatically in recent years. Universities have closed academic presses and the need to turn a profit, while always present, has grown exponentially more relevant to publishing decisions.

The ratcheting up of tenure expectations with institutional aspirations has led to journals and presses being inundated with mediocre manuscripts.

How to create a reverse outline

Writing a manuscript of any length is hard, but writing a longer piece presents special challenges. Whether you’re like me and have been writing for a while or a graduate student just getting started, writing longer manuscripts present special challenges. In particular, I believe longer manuscripts present challenges in staying focused, having a strong logical flow, and keeping your reader engaged.  In today’s post, I want to describe how to create a reverse outline to improve your writing.

Typically, we think of outlines as something to be completed prior to beginning the writing process.

Reverse outlines are completed after the first draft of a piece of writing.

How to measure writing progress

There can be few things more deflating than working hard watching what you eat only to find that you gained 2 pounds. Writing and dieting have much in common. As I work with faculty, I often find myself giving advice for writing similar to dieting advice. In today’s post, I will share tips on how to measure your writing progress. As with dieting and many other areas of life, what we measure is what we improve.

Photo credit: eflon

Studying at the Library of Congress Main Reading Room

I was in Washington, DC for a conference this week and had a little free time in the afternoon.  I had some writing to get done as it is always hard to keep up when you’re traveling.  After thinking of a few neat places to write in the city, I decided to head down to the Library of Congress to study in the Main Reading Room.  I strongly encourage anyone in town for an academic conference to take a few hours for studying at the Library of Congress Main Reading Room.

My little spot in the foreground in the Main Reading Room

Some spaces are just conducive to writing and the Main Reading Room is one of them.

Learn about lines of inquiry by studying individual researchers

One of the most challenges aspects for graduate students is learning various lines of inquiry. Inside every field of study are schools of thought, methodologies, theories, and research approaches for particular topics. How do you quickly and efficiently learn about a new topic? In today’s post, I suggest that you learn about lines of inquiry by studying individual researchers.

Photo credit: youn-sik kim

When I have students that seek to learn about a new area of research, I often recommend that they look up an individual researcher that publishes extensively on the topic.  Often, I’m even able to give the name of someone to help get them started.

I recommend pulling the researcher’s CV and reading all of their publications on a topic.