Resources & Recommended Reading for “Beyond STEM”

Resources, in the order in which they are discussed:

Figure 2.1 from Sword’s Stylish Academic Writing (click to enlarge):

I wrote about the shapes of journal articles in my January 2019 piece, “How to craft an organizational structure for your research article,” in which I discussed this representation of Woolf’s To the Lighthouse:

Figure 8.1 from Hayot’s The Elements of Academic Style:

I wrote about four different ways that social sciences and humanities (and, let’s be honest, education) researchers can describe the significance of their proposed work in SSHRC funding applications in my November 2020 article, “How to show your project’s worth in social science and humanities research proposals.”

You can look up the names of the members of last year’s peer adjudicators on the SSHRC Selection Committees webpage.

I wrote about three types of jargon, and how to identify & use them, in my January 2019 article, “Jargon can make for good academic writing”. Since I wrote that piece, Markowitz has published a follow-up article showing the correlation between using complex words and having a conference proposal accepted (see “Words to Submit By,” Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Jan 2021).

I recommend Lamont’s How Professors Think for an insider’s perspective on peer review in non-STEM funding. The book is now over 10 years old, but it remains nonetheless a helpful study of peer review in funding applications.

Chapman et al’s “Games academics play and their consequences” (Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Dec 2019) includes a primer on how JIF & h-index work and why they are problematic. Chapman’s article is written in the context of scientific publishing, but the trends in non-STEM disciplines are sadly no different.

For clients who don’t publish in high JIF journals or who don’t have an above-average h-index, consider highlighting alternative metrics in their tenure & promotion dossier, as I’ve discussed in “Telling your research story with numbers,” my piece from March 2021.

Katina Rogers called prestige “the coin of the realm” in the humanities in her 2020 book, Putting the Humanities PhD to Work.

Student evaluations of teaching are exceptionally problematic. They have been shown to be misogynistic, racist, ableist, ageist, and on and on. Even the ones that aren’t biased are still poor indicators of teaching quality, as Esarey & Valdes have shown (see “Unbiased, reliable, and valid student evaluations can still be unfair,” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, Feb 2020).

Ryerson fought for 15 years to get rid of SETs in promotion & tenure considerations (see “Arbitration decision on student evaluations of teaching applauded by faculty,” University Affairs, Aug 2018).

I wrote about strategies for approaching the promotion & tenure dossier in my July 2020 article, “How to write persuasively in promotion and tenure documents.”

If you want to work on tenure & promotion dossiers, I suggest reading Matthew’s 2016 collection of essays, Written/Unwritten: Diversity and the Hidden Truths of Tenure. It’s not a resource book like Lamont, Hayot, and Sword — instead, it’s a collection that will help you to better support scholars of colour and to better emphasize with all clients going up for tenure or promotion. Hey, by the way, did you hear that Harvard denied tenure to Cornell West in 2021?

My recommendations for content marketing best practices are adapted from Bly’s Content Marketing Handbook, which wasn’t really written with people like us in mind, but is still a useful read. I also liked Morgan’s self-published Anti-Sell, which recommends tactics for content marketing and building your local network.

My biggest content marketing platform is my column, “Ask Dr. Editor,” though I didn’t know it was content marketing when I started it. I also do what Bly calls “setting the scope” on my “how to hire an editor” webpage — and I’ve borrowed from Ann Friedman’s “I recommend” webpage in also suggesting that potential clients check out some of my friends and colleagues.

If you watched the webinar live or watched the recording in the first half of 2021, then maybe you’d be interested in attending my networking and collaboration session at this year’s Editors Canada conference, which is called “Developing content marketing opportunities.” Since that is a collaborative session, it’s best attended live; there will be little available in the recording!

Do you need a slick website? I don’t know if you need a slick website, but I do think having a website is a good idea. The book I was looking for on my shelf is McMakin & Fletcher’s How Clients Buy: A Practical Guide to Business Development for Consulting and Professional Services. I also have a 3-hour recorded webinar about developing an online portfolio of work: “Showcasing your skills and accomplishments in an online portfolio.”

What to fill up your karmic piggybank? AuthorAid is a fantastic platform that connects editors and other experts to academics in the Global South. It’s a great way to do some meaningful volunteer work. Can’t recommend it highly enough.

Not mentioned but still recommended reading:

Burnham, Joy J., Lisa M. Hooper, and Vivian H. Wright. Tools for Dossier Success: A Guide for Promotion and Tenure. Routledge, 2010.

Kumar, Amitava. Every Day I Write the Book: Notes on Style. Duke University Press, 2020.

Milner, Jeremy T., and Kelly C. Ball. Models of Proposal Planning & Writing. Greenwood Press, 2016.

Younging, Gregory. Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples. Brush Education, 2018.