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How to be an Academic Superhero

Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities

Iain Hay

In universities across the world, academics struggle to establish and sustain their careers while satisfying intensifying institutional demands. Drawing from the author’s decades of observation and experience in academia, this exceptional book responds to the challenges of fostering and sustaining a successful academic career.
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Chapter 8: Get informed and stay current

Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities

Iain Hay


If you are to be an academic superhero, it is imperative to keep abreast of scholarly work and current events in and around your field. What is going on? Who is doing what? Why? Where? You will probably find yourself doing this out of natural curiosity, but it is also rewarding to be comprehensive and systematic in your quest.

First, find out about the key professional and scholarly societies in your field and, if your budget allows,1 join those that seem most important to you and your work. Read their newsletters and journals as these are often useful sources of information about ‘who is working on what’, grants, job openings and forthcoming conferences. Many societies offer substantially discounted student memberships as well as funding opportunities to attend key conferences in the field. A single conference attendance subsidy may not only cover more than the annual costs of society membership, but it may also offer useful leverage from other agencies or your university to secure additional funding.

Second, make a point of reading the latest issues of key journals or at least signing up for their email alerts. Many scholarly publishers will provide you with electronic alerts outlining new contents of journals you have specified. Information from these alerts and your reading will allow you to see connections between your work and that of others. It may also help support your professional development by keeping you up to date with new techniques...

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