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I’ve been collecting resources for this blog for some time and have just started sharing them. This is one of those posts that may seem a little out of time, but great information is timeless. That’s why I’m sharing some links from a list of the top posts of 2013. You can review the full article there, or just jump to the highlights I’ve compiled below. Continue reading “Some of the top posts from the past”
Over the last few months I have been digging into great resources for the Cited Scholar community. One of the best publishers that has quickly risen to the top of the list is the London School of Economics blog about the Impact of Social Sciences.You’ll be seeing references to a lot of their articles here. Continue reading “London School of Economics: Impact of Social Sciences”
There are some tools that every scholar must have in their toolbox. These are the staples for the profession, but there are specialty tools for each discipline.
If you’re not familiar with RSS feeds, take a look at my article about using the Feedly RSS Feed Reader. Using an RSS reader, you can collect up-to-date content from around the internet and have it delivered to you automatically. This is the best way to stay informed about the latest news and events relevant to your research. Additionally, it’s a great way to keep an eye on the work of other scholars in your field. The reason for creating you own academic blog is to let people know what you’re studying, and RSS feeds help make that happen. By following the work of other scholars in your field you can begin to develop relationship and collaborative research projects.
Where do you like to work? For some people, the best place to get some work done is at a coffee shop. For others, it’s in a quiet library. No matter where you like to work, you need to find your ideal office space. If you work at a university and they provide you with a private office then you have some options. You could play music if you like background noise or you can create a quiet space with minimalist design – or anything in between. Many academics, however, will need to find the right office space for their needs.
Depending on how and where you work best your office needs can be quite different from others. For example, an academic that travels regularly would benefit from an office at one of the many Regus business centers located around the globe. Another person may work well from their home office or even the library. Find your ideal space and design your work flow to match.
No matter where you get your work done, you must backup your data regularly. It’s a good idea to have a program like Dropbox backing up your files while you work. However, you also need to make regular backups of larger files. Ideally, your backup system should include at least three copies – one on a local disk, one off-site, and one in the cloud. If you’re not backing up your files to all three of these locations then your data is at risk.
Most people are familiar with Microsoft Office and academics can’t live without Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. However, there are other office suites on the market for the lone academic on a budget. Rather than forking over a hundred bucks or more to use the Microsoft version, why not try an open-source office suite. Two great options are OpenOffice and LibreOffice. I’ve been using these programs for years without any problems.
If you’re one of the lucky academics with a university job then you’ve got access to some of the best resources in your library. Even if you are conducting your own research you can take advantage of the public library system. These libraries can often request materials from local universities and deliver them to your local branch. Not to mention the free wifi and research areas you can use as a temporary office space. Your local library is a commonly overlooked resource.
Scholars that work within an institution may have easier access to funding, but that’s not always guaranteed. When you need to fund your own projects, it’s important to know how to create a budget and live by it. Take some notes from the ‘extreme early retirement‘ community and you’re sure to find all the funding you need. When travel is your limiting factor, take a look into ‘travel hacking‘ for inspiration.
From here, you’ll need to customize your tool kit to match your scholarly endeavor. Computer Science, Literature, Mathematics, Philosophy, and Photography all require different tools. However, the above tools are required by all academics. What is your seventh scholarly tool? Feel free to list your favorite specialty tools in the comments section below.
The internet provides a wealth of information, and more is added every day. There is no way that anyone can keep track of all the news, events, reports, and other information being published around the world. However, an RSS feed reader can help.
If you’re wondering what an RSS feed is, you’re not alone. A Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed provides a way to be notified when a website changes. Any new content published on the site is automatically sent to everyone that subscribes to the RSS feed for that site.
How academics can use RSS feeds
As I was working on my MA thesis I found dozens of websites, blogs, and search results listings that were relevant to my topic. These is no way that I could check each of them for individual updates while working on my own research. Instead, I compiled a list of their RSS feeds and added them to my feed reader. At the time, I was using Google Reader but that product has been discontinued. Now, I use Feedly and I’m even happier with the results. All I have to do is add the RSS feed to Feedly and organize the feeds into categories. It’s like designing my own newspaper that is filled with only the stories and information that interests me.
Adding an RSS feed to Feedly
Once you’ve created your account on Feedly, it’s time to start adding feeds to your list. For this exercise we’re going to use the feed from CitedScholar as an example, but the process is the same for any site.
- When you find that image on the Cited Scholar site, right click on it and select ‘Copy Link Location’.
- Then go to Feedly and click on the link in the upper left corner of the page which says ‘+Add Content’.
- Paste the link in your clipboard into the search field that says ‘enter url, title or #topic’ and press enter.
- Click the ‘+’ that appears next to the feed you want to follow in the column on the left.
- When you add a new source to Feedly, you can designate a name and collection for the feed. When you complete these fields, click add at the bottom of the column on the left to add the new feed to your account.
Now all you have to do is add RSS feeds for all your favorite sites and organize them within the collections you create.
As with everything on your computer, there are many ways to add RSS feeds and many tools to read RSS feeds. Please share your favorite RSS feed readers in the comments below.
As an academic, the most valuable product you have to offer is information. This is the result of spending many, many, years in school. As you’ve been researching, writing, and studying, you’ve amassed a significant amount of information about your area of study. This is valuable to someone, just take a look at what you paid for it in the form of tuition. Your only task now is to find the right market for the knowledge you already possess.
Can you work?
This may sound like a stupid question, but many academics are under contract to not work anywhere else. You may not even be able to start your own business. If you’re not sure about this then you should check the contract you signed when you began your academic program. This is common for teaching assistants and research assistants in PhD programs.
What do you know?
You may not realize this but you possess valuable knowledge and information that other people want. Take a look at the search results generated when you look for a biology blog. Try the same search for your area of study. Also, you can expand beyond your specific area of expertise simply by focusing on less knowledgeable consumers of information. For example, you may not be great at math but you could probably teach elementary school students about the subject.
How do you communicate best?
Once you’ve found a topic you can speak about authoritatively, you need to consider the ways you best communicate with others. Some people are great writers, others are good on video, and still others present their best work as audio. This will help you decide if you want to launch a blog, YouTube channel, or podcast. There are many ways to share your information and get paid for your content.
Once you’ve found your niche and figured out how you will share your knowledge, it’s time to devise a way to get paid. You could place advertisements on your website, in your videos, and within your podcasts. However, this tends to generate relatively small amounts of income. In addition to ads, you may want to consider offering premium content. This can be ebooks, study guides, online classes, private tutoring, or anything else that benefits your audience. Using the internet to deliver these products means that your potential market is the whole world – or at least the part that speaks the same language you do.
What other ways are you supplementing your income as an academic? Share you experience with any of these methods and others in the comments section below.
There’s always room for a little more competition in the world. Since Cited Scholar is only just now getting started building our repertoire of career guidance for academics, I thought a short resource list would be helpful. Here’s a rundown of the best academic career counseling sites Google currently has to offer. Some of these are great, some are a little dated. While I’m putting more information into Cited Scholar, take a look at what’s already available on these sites:
- Why It’s Important To Get Cited
- London School of Economics and Political Science: Impact of Social Sciences
- Academic Coaching & Writing
- 5 Times In A Career When Academics Should Hire a Coach
- Career Change For Academics
- The Professor Is In
- How To Leave Academia
- Successful Academic
- The Unemployed Philosopher’s Blog
- From PhD To Life
- Escape The Ivory Tower
- Jo Van Every
These are listed in no particular order and you’re invited to add your own suggestions to this list in the comments section below. What are your favorite resources for academic career counseling?
One of the first people that Cited Scholar is designed for would be Sam – the grad student. It’s unclear is Sam is a he or a she, because it doesn’t matter. Like all grad students, Sam is at the very beginning of their academic career and in need of some career guidance. The habits build during graduate school will determine the trajectory of Sam’s career, and Cited Scholar is here to point them in the right direction.
What do you do?
You might be Sam the grad student if you’re currently enrolled in a graduate program. You’re struggling to balance your work as a teaching assistant or research assistant, or both, with the classes you teach and the ones you attend. You now know the that you can either get good grades, have a social life, or sleep – pick two.
What are you passionate about?
You’re looking forward to working as a professor, but you’re still not sure what exactly is involved with this career choice. You’ve been inspired by great professors that were passed up for tenure because they didn’t publish often enough. You’ve also been in classes taught by TA’s because the professor was too busy with their own research to devote any time to teaching. However, you’re not going to be either of these professors. You’re going to teach great classes while publishing your work and receiving international notoriety for your contributions to your field.
What are your goals?
As a graduate student, your first goal is to get past your comprehensive exam and defend your dissertation. Once that is done, your sites are set on tenure.
What are your fears?
You know what you want and you have the passion to succeed – after all, you didn’t get into graduate school by accident. At the same time, you’re not sure how to get there. The advisors in your program have great ideas about research, but there’s little or no career counseling. It seems that everyone is still figuring out the business of being an academic. Those that do well don’t seem to know why they’ve been successful, and those that fail are not there to tell their story. Your biggest fear is not meeting publishing and citation requirements for tenure, and you’re not sure how to avoid this problem.
Why should you care about Cited Scholar?
Cited Scholar provides resources, information, and guidance to help scholars figure out the business of being an academic. This includes all the content found on the blog as well as videos and podcast interviews with today’s leading scholars. These interviews come from the full spectrum of academia. Some of the people interviewed are graduate students in the same position you’re in right now, others have recently graduated and have just begun their careers, and still others have been successful academic careers for years. Cited Scholar is the one place where you can learn the business of being an academic.
Knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO), content writing, inbound marketing, self publishing, podcasting, and business strategies can be useful to an academic career. That’s why I’ve been studying these topics since 2010. After being rejected from all the schools I applied to during my first round of PhD applications in 2013, I figured this information could be useful to other academics. In many ways, sharing this knowledge was my backup plan if I didn’t get into a graduate program.
Be the best or be the first
During a conversation with an SEO expert in Raleigh, I explained this idea and he quickly began looking for available domains. This made me think that I should launch Cited Scholar before anyone else. I spent November and December of 2013 preparing to launch the site while working on my second round of PhD applications. This is when I found that academic career counseling is great in some schools, but lacking in most.
Academic career coaching
This got me thinking about using Cited Scholar to, not only share my own ideas but, to create the best resource to help academics plan their careers. After talking with my peers from UNCA, UPF, and UNC that have gone on to graduate programs around the world, I found there is a global need for academic career coaching. I also found there are few resources currently offering career advice to academics. Cited Scholar is being launch a podcast and blog to fill this unmet need.
Cited Scholar podcast
On the Cited Scholar podcast interviews new academics with great ideas and veterans of academia that have been successful. We talk about what has worked, what hasn’t, and what the future holds for academics around the world.
The importance of location independence
One of the reasons to format this information as a blog and podcast is that a location independent lifestyle allows me to live and work from anywhere in the world. No matter which graduate program I get into or which college I teach at, I can take Cited Scholar with me and continue building this resource for academics around the world. I want my work to travel with me and allow me to explore the world without loosing all the connections I build over the years. This is also a fundamental concept at the core of Cited Scholar and the future of academic careers. With online classes, learning management systems, massive open online courses (MOOCs), and other advances in technology, academics need to be comfortable working from remote locations. You may be working from Asheville, NC while teaching a course in New York, NY. There are benefits and challenges that come with this change, and Cited Scholar was created to discuss both.
Cited Scholar as a proof of concept
If I can help current and future academics take control of their careers, then Cited Scholar will be a success. This includes things like finding ways to better manage email and other communications, learning to use freelancers and virtual assistants effectively, increasing research and publishing volume without becoming overwhelmed, and much more. Additionally, Cited Scholar will need to fit around my own academic career and travel interests. Doing so will serve as an example of how academics can get more done with less time using the tools I recommend. This is how the Cited Scholar blog fits within my ideas for success.
If you’re looking for a way to stick with your New Year’s resolutions, perhaps you should try the Lift app. That’s exactly what I’m doing and Become a Better Blogger in 30 days is one of the items on my list. For me, day one of this 30 day plan is January 2nd and I’ll be done at the end of the month.
You can follow my progress as I spend the next 30 days making Cited Scholar into a better blog. I’ll be adding new links to this post as I work my way through the tasks assigned each day. As the project progresses, I welcome your feedback about the blog in the comments below.