How to run a book sprint – in 16 steps

A “book sprint” is a method of writing a book collaboratively in only a short period of time, usually less than a week. Lambert Heller and Helene Brinken share insights from their own experience of facilitating a book sprint to write the Open Science Training Handbook earlier this year. Here, the process is measured out over a distance of […]

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    Tips for negotiating the peer-reviewed journal publication process as an early-career researcher

Tips for negotiating the peer-reviewed journal publication process as an early-career researcher

Early-career researchers are subject to higher levels of scrutiny than ever before, with publication in academic journals essential to how they are funded and evaluated, and how their careers will be built. Margaret K. Merga, Shannon Mason and Julia E. Morris share insights from their own experiences of navigating the journal submission and publication process as ECRs, emphasising the […]

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    How to save space and stick to the limit when writing research funding applications

How to save space and stick to the limit when writing research funding applications

Research funders impose length limits on applications for practical reasons: to discourage epic submissions, and to ease the burden on reviewers. It’s also true that concise ideas are generally stronger ideas. But sticking to these limits can often seem a difficult and frustrating task. Jonathan O’Donnell offers advice to researchers looking to find a little more space in their […]

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    Six factors influencing academic writing productivity and satisfaction

Six factors influencing academic writing productivity and satisfaction

Writing satisfaction is strongly linked to publishing productivity and, potentially, career success. Chris Smith reports on research investigating the tools and systems academics from all career stages use to keep writing and publishing. Age, experience, and having a sense of certainty about what sort of writing system suits you and your life are all important to productivity and overall […]

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    The Materiality of Research: Creating a community of writing practice in the classroom

The Materiality of Research: Creating a community of writing practice in the classroom

Despite most students being partly or wholly assessed on their writing, very few would consider themselves to be writers. Nonia Williams Korteling explores how students might be supported in feeling more confident about writing processes and practices in the classroom, focusing on two methods that can help students begin to see themselves as part of a community of writers: […]

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    A PhD by publication is a great way to build your academic profile, but be mindful of its challenges

A PhD by publication is a great way to build your academic profile, but be mindful of its challenges

The PhD by publication is an option increasingly available to doctoral candidates. This model can be a great way to build an academic profile but has unique challenges of its own too. Shannon Mason and Margaret K. Merga anticipate and offer answers to some of the questions candidates considering this model might ask; including advice on co-authorship with a […]

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    To save the research literature, let’s make literature reviews reproducible

To save the research literature, let’s make literature reviews reproducible

Last week the Impact Blog featured a post from Richard P. Phelps, in which he proposed that journals get rid of their requirement for a literature review. Arnaud Vaganay agrees with much of what Phelps said, literature reviews are erratic and self-serving, but suggests doing away with them altogether is likely to make science less efficient and less credible. […]

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    Book Review: Cultivating Creativity in Methodology and Research: In Praise of Detours edited by Charlotte Wegener, Ninna Meier and Elina Maslo

Book Review: Cultivating Creativity in Methodology and Research: In Praise of Detours edited by Charlotte Wegener, Ninna Meier and Elina Maslo

The collection Cultivating Creativity in Methodology and Research: In Praise of Detours, edited by Charlotte Wegener, Ninna Meier and Elina Maslo, is comprised of short essays that offer imaginative detours from conventional academic wisdom to reflect on lived experiences of research. While the volume at times risks emphasising the unhappy aspects of academic life over and above the potential for […]

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    To save the research literature, get rid of the literature review

To save the research literature, get rid of the literature review

The literature review is a staple of the scholarly article. It allows authors to summarise previous work in the field and highlight what makes their own contribution an original or novel one. But when those previous studies are misrepresented by an author, or even dismissed altogether amid claims of a “paucity of research”, isn’t the knowledge base in fact […]

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    A scientific paper shouldn’t tell a good story but present a strong argument

A scientific paper shouldn’t tell a good story but present a strong argument

A recent Impact Blog post extolled the benefits of using a storytelling approach when writing a scientific paper. However, while such an approach might well make for a compelling read, does providing an arresting narrative come at the expense of the reader’s critical engagement with the paper? Thomas Basbøll argues that the essential “drama” of any scientific paper stems […]

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    Don’t let publication be the end of the story – transforming research into an illustrated abstract

Don’t let publication be the end of the story – transforming research into an illustrated abstract

Publishing research that can be accessed as widely as possible is clearly crucial, but ensuring that research is accessible to similarly large groups of people is an altogether different challenge. The CC BY license, required by many funders when publishing open access, permits users to transform and build upon the licensed content, creating something new and original. Lucy Lambe […]

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    Alphabetical name ordering is discriminatory and harmful to collaborations

Alphabetical name ordering is discriminatory and harmful to collaborations

When multiple authors collaborate on an article, book, or report, the order in which they are listed is important. How this is done may vary by scientific discipline, with most determining the order according to the authors’ respective contributions. But some fields continue to follow the convention whereby authors are listed in alphabetical order. Matthias Weber argues there is […]

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    Writing a page-turner: how to tell a story in your scientific paper

Writing a page-turner: how to tell a story in your scientific paper

People love stories. We watch, read, tell, and listen to stories every day. Despite this, most researchers don’t think in terms of story when they write a journal paper. To Anna Clemens, that’s a missed opportunity, because storytelling is easy to implement in your manuscript provided you know how. Think of the six plot elements – character, setting, tension, […]

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Understanding the frustration of academic writers

Have you ever found yourself unable to complete a piece of writing because something else got in the way: a more urgent commitment, a lack of crucial information, an inability to find the right words? If yes, then you are probably well acquainted with frustration, an emotion commonly felt by academic writers but seldom explicitly discussed or examined. When […]

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    Five steps to meeting the challenges of maintaining an appropriate writing voice

Five steps to meeting the challenges of maintaining an appropriate writing voice

It’s often said that to embark upon a PhD you must be passionate about your topic. But when it comes to writing up your thesis, being passionate can seem at odds with the need to maintain an academically cool and objective writing voice. Daniel Beaudoin shares five simple steps to keep the “me” in check; including firstly by recognising […]

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    Writer’s block is not a struggle with your writing but with your thinking. Write your way out of it

Writer’s block is not a struggle with your writing but with your thinking. Write your way out of it

Most graduate writers who are struggling with their writing are actually struggling with their thinking. It isn’t a psychological block, but rather the intellectual confusions endemic to the process of communicating sophisticated research. To Rachael Cayley, these confusions are real and can have deleterious consequences for writing, but when we treat these problems as conceptual problems in our thinking […]

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Six academic writing habits that will boost productivity

What’s the secret to a productive spell of writing? Chris Smith shares insights gleaned from interviews with a diverse group of academics, from which a number of common academic writing habits stood out. These range from the simple acts of scheduling and setting self-imposed deadlines, to both formal and informal accountability partnerships and the use of “freewriting” techniques which […]

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    All journals should have a policy defining authorship – here’s what to include

All journals should have a policy defining authorship – here’s what to include

Scientific research papers with large numbers of authors have become more commonplace, increasing the likelihood of authorship disputes. Danielle Padula, Theresa Somerville and Ben Mudrak emphasise the importance of journals clearly defining and communicating authorship criteria to researchers. As well as having a policy for inclusion, journals should also indicate unethical authorship practices, clarify the order of authors at […]

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2017 in review: top posts of the year

As 2017 nears its end and before our focus is drawn to whatever the new year might have in store, now is the perfect time to look back and reflect on the last twelve months on the Impact Blog. Editor Kieran Booluck reports on another year in which our readership has grown, and also shares a selection of the […]

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    2017 in review: round-up of our top posts on academic writing

2017 in review: round-up of our top posts on academic writing

“Remember a condition of academic writing is that we expose ourselves to critique” – 15 steps to revising journal articles
Before having your paper accepted for publication you’ll almost certainly be required to revise it at least once. For less experienced authors this may not feel so straightforward. Deborah Lupton has compiled a list of tips for authors who have been asked […]

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