Becoming an Author: Advice for Academics and Other Professionals

By David Canter; Gavin Fairbairn | Go to book overview

Postscript: Becoming an
academic author

Membership of any profession carries with it a responsibility to contribute to that profession’s development. That is why we believe that integral to the role of every professional is the duty to share their experience and their thinking with colleagues, thus adding to the running stream of knowledge and understanding that helps to maintain professional health and growth. One way in which they can do this is by writing about their work. Despite this, we recognize that even in universities, where along with research, publication is held to be so important, some people never publish, and many publish a lot less than they could. One possible explanation for this state of affairs relates to the fact that most academics are inadequately prepared for this aspect of academic life.

For most university teachers and researchers, undertaking a postgraduate research degree was the apprenticeship by which they prepared for their academic career. Given this, and given that publication is such a central plank of academic life, the fact that few postgraduates finish their studies ready to make published contributions to their field of enquiry is a clear indication of failure in the training they have received. After all, if a plumber or surgeon was incapable of carrying out surgery – whether on a hot water system or a human body – we would seriously question whether her training had been appropriate.

Admitting this failure in the ways we train tomorrow’s university teachers and researchers, and other academically focused professionals would, we suggest, inevitably lead to serious rethinking of the requirements of most postgraduate degrees, to ensure that they included training in all aspects of writing for publication. It might also lead to rethinking of the extent to which a monolithic thesis written for no other purpose than to be examined, is the most cost effective and beneficial way of testing whether postgraduate candidates have attained the appropriate academic level. Such rethinking might lead, for

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Becoming an Author: Advice for Academics and Other Professionals
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Becoming an Author - Advice for Academics and Other Professionals iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • About the Authors xi
  • 1: Publishing Without Perishing 1
  • 2: The Author’s Journey 10
  • 3: Varieties of Publication 23
  • 4: Beyond the Blank Page 34
  • 5: The Importance of Style 51
  • 6: The Importance of Structure 73
  • 7: Using Illustration 90
  • 8: Moral Authorship Responsibilities and Rights 101
  • 9: Writing for Journals 117
  • 10: The Journal Process 129
  • 11: Newspapers and Other Forms of Publication 143
  • 12: Doing a Book 155
  • 13: From Idea to Reality a Book’s Journey to Print 163
  • 14: Changing Media 187
  • Postscript: Becoming an Academic Author 194
  • Bibliography and References 200
  • Index 203
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