I am currently researching the foundations of graph theory (math). I have noticed two kind of things in introduction books.

  1. There are results seemingly so obvious nobody writes about it.
  2. There are variants of the topic mentioned in almost any book, but covered in detail in none.

At the time of writing this question, the stack exchange community was unable to help me with my observations in my specific case. Since I think very highly of this network, I’m starting to believe that currently there are no suitable books about these topics.

But I feel like there ought to be books about it. The question is, what do I do in this situation? How can I “help” that such a book gets written? The most obvious answer would be “Write the book.”. Although I like the approach, this is not possible. For simplicity’s sake let’s just say I lack the time. So what to do? Like, can I just mail a publisher “Why don’t you already have this kind of book?”, although I don’t know anyone working at any publisher? Do I ask a professor at my university if (s)he would like to write one? Btw I’m a graduate student, but I don’t think it is relevant for the question.

Please note this question is not about how I can research a certain topic. It is really about how books of some topic do not exist. Please assume for answering that they don’t. If you happen to know about books about the exemplary example topic I provided here, please answer in my linked question, not here.

I’ve submitted the final manuscript for a book with a reputed social science publisher. My publisher wants a list of people who might be willing to provide endorsement for the book.

Whom should I suggest? In particular, is it appropriate to suggest people I’ve been working with, for example my supervisors? On the one hand, they would not be neutral, but on the other hand, that seems to be precisely the point of an endorsement. Should I approach them myself before suggesting them to my publisher?

I’m not sure what exactly “endorsement” means, but I believe it’s about writing one of these “blurbs” that you see on the back of some books. In any case, the purpose is for marketing, not for scientific review.

I recently accepted a TT asst prof position in computer science at an elite SLAC in the US.

During my job search I perused Karen Kelsky’s book “The Professor is In”, and I found it very valuable, especially to reflect about different aspects of the job search process that I hadn’t considered.

I’m now looking for a similar resource for new faculty members.

Here’s what I found (but haven’t bought yet):

  • Robert Boice, Advice for New Faculty Members, 2000
  • Russell James, Tenure hacks: The 12 secrets of making tenure, 2014

Does anyone have any comment/review about these books, or advice about any other written resource?

Thank you.

Steven Krantz’s book A Mathematician’s Survival Guide: Graduate School and Early Career Development has been mentioned in answers on this site. The book is full of good advice for graduate students in math in the U.S. and undergraduates who plan to apply to graduate schools.

I would like to know if any analogous guides have been written for graduate school in physics.

If I’m allowed, I’d like to ask exactly the same question for computer science.

Thank you.

A couple of colleagues and I were thinking about publishing a book in engineering. I have heard repeatedly that people who go with a traditional publisher don’t get any royalties, they transfer the copyrights, and on top of that, the book ends up being sold for a lot of money (which is something we’re against as people from developing countries don’t have access to them). Thus, after a short discussion we all agreed that going through the traditional means is no longer necessary. We’re all skilled in LaTeX so we don’t need the services that publishers usually provide for formatting the book. As a matter of fact, we’re not planning on making any profit either, so we’re very excited about the opportunity to provide the book as an open electronic document.

The main question we have is how do we make sure that people can cite our book and that we have a way to count the citations?

This question already has an answer here:

I have finished university already some years ago, and am now working in the field of my previous studies. I was always very careful, diligent and organized when it came to collecting and archiving my course notes and course text books.

Well, in the current situation, I have all these notes and books stored at my parents’ attic. However, quite often at work, I remember some of the content I studied and think “well, that would be quite useful now to know” or “I did a case study at school that was very similar to my current project – what did we do back in the days?”. I can even point to the specific book or course, where the topic was covered. However, I cannot look up anything because they are physically stored somewhere in a geographically remote place.

So I have been asking myself repeatedly: “why don’t you digitize your course notes, text books, hand-outs, etc.?”

  1. Has anyone of you similar issues? How did you handle it?
  2. Is it even legal to scan full text books for private use? I would store them in my Dropbox and do not intend to share with anyone. Of course, there is always the risk that my account gets hacked and files leaked, but I definitely do not have the intention to share any of these files (also, I do not know how probable this threat scenario is, given that I use two-factor-authentication). It is only and exclusively intended for my private use.
  3. Is it even feasible to scan dozens of books and folders full of notes and print-outs?

I am really curious to hear your opinions!

This question was suggested to me by How can I sell my text book to my students in e-book format? which asked about the practicalities, but attracted many comments about the ethics. So this question is to ask about the ethics directly.

Suppose I have written and published a textbook, and I want to use it as the text for a course I am teaching. I receive royalties from each copy of my book that is sold, so if my students are required to buy my textbook for the course, I will make some money. Is it ethical to do so?

Well-reasoned opinions would be useful answers, but even more useful would be pointers to institutional policies, professional codes of ethics, etc, that address this issue.

Of course, there are many ways to avoid profiting from the sale of my book to my students. If my contract with my publisher allows it, I could distribute PDFs to my students, or have the university bookstore print out copies and sell them at cost. Another approach I’ve heard of is to compute how much I earn in royalties on each copy, and refund that amount from my pocket to each student who buys a copy. Or, use my royalty earnings to buy pizza for the class. Certainly these are nice gestures, but I would like opinions on whether they are ethically required.

Edit: To address some questions that have arisen in the comments:

  • This question is hypothetical. I haven’t published any textbooks myself and have no immediate plans to do so. In any case, my personal preference would be to make the book available to students for free, if at all possible. So I’ve phrased this question in the first person for rhetorical convenience only.

  • I had intended the question to be only about the potential financial conflict of interest that could arise if I make money by assigning my own book. Some of the answers feel that it is improper for me to assign my own textbook at all, whether I make money or not, but I don’t think this point of view is prevalent within the academic community. If it happens that my book (as a pithy but now-deleted comment put it) “blows”, I think most would agree that my decision to assign it is pedagogically unfortunate, but not unethical.

  • I don’t literally mean that students would be required to buy the book, only that they’d be expected to have it. I might assign readings or homework problems from the book, so that the student needs access to the book in order to do them, but they could certainly achieve this by getting a used copy or borrowing from a friend. But probably most students would buy new copies anyway, since that is the most convenient way.