Keep Calm and R&R

It’s August, and for academics hoping to get some writing done this summer, it’s go time.

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In conversations with my writing group colleagues, who come from fields as diverse as information sciences, business, community health, and religion, we spend a lot of time discussing ways to respond to a revise and resubmit. Some of us charge right in, addressing comments the day we receive them. Some of us (in the more quantitative fields) make tables of reviewer comments and check them off one by one. Having spent years in the trenches as a writing tutor, and continuing to teach writing, I’m always fascinated by the different methods writers use to approach challenges such as interpreting and implementing reviewer feedback.

In the spirit of the many posts here at the Junto on the nuts and bolts of academic writing, I’ve written up my own process for tackling referee feedback in a revise and resubmit. It’s inspired, in part, by Wendy Laura Belcher’s brilliant Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks.

Here’s what I do when a new crop of reader reports lands in my inbox: Continue reading

Evolution of an Article

TypingIn summer 2010 I sat in the house furnished by Rhys Isaac in Colonial Williamsburg, and attempted to write my first dissertation chapter. I’d just finished my first research trip, to Library and Archives Canada, in Ottawa, and was in the middle of my second, at the John D. Rockefeller Library. I was trying to follow advice I’d read to write as I researched. There was no Wi-Fi in the house, which was a curse and a blessing. I couldn’t get distracted, but I also did not have instantaneous access to articles and books, which meant I couldn’t check basic facts and chronologies, which, turns out, tend to be missing from your research! Continue reading

Roundtable: James Merrell’s “Exactly as they appear” and Published Editions of Manuscript Sources

Merrell ArticleMany of us have been there. Sitting in front of our computers, we fret over how we will find the time and funding to examine important manuscript sources at faraway archives. And then, a few keystrokes later, we find that those sources are available in published form. Relief floods over us, replacing anxiety. But should we really be so relieved?

James H. Merrell’s recent article in Early American Studies asks exactly this question. Entitled “‘Exactly as they appear’: Another Look at the Notes of a 1766 Treason Trial in Poughkeepsie, New York, with Some Musings on the Documentary Foundations of Early American History,” it suggests that we should not be so quick to assume that published versions of manuscript sources faithfully reproduce the originals. [1]

Continue reading

Articles of Note: Early 2013

Scholarship can come at such a fast clip nowadays that it can be tough to keep up. Actually, scratch that; it is impossible to keep up with the massive amounts of articles that come out at an unrelenting rate. With the number of journals out there publishing quality work in early American history—journals that are both dedicated to our field or just sometimes carry work in our field amongst other periods—there is often an avalanche of new work that one can feel overwhelmed. Whether you receive hard copies of the many journals, use those from your institution’s library, or just get all of the content online (guilty), your reading list is always at such a ridiculous height that it is difficult to just keep track of all the recent articles, let alone read them. Such are the #firstworldproblems of the modern-day academic.

Well, that’s where the Junto comes in. Periodically, we hope to highlight recent articles that we found especially noteworthy. I’ll list a handful in the post (that are, of course, reflective of my own interests), and then we will rely on you, our dear reader, to share other recent articles you found important. Together, perhaps we can slay the beast that is the growing mound of unread articles. Continue reading