Best Practices

ODU Writes a Book: Best Practices for Collaborative Authorship

Before the event:

  • Visit the ODU Writes a Book site to sign up as an author and post your ideas! Review the ideas and interests of others and comment on them.

  • Communicate with potential collaborators and share contact information.

  • Consider spending time pre-planning and outlining the piece you and/or your group will be composing.

  • If working with a group, consider assigning roles based on the outline you construct.

If the event has already started:

  • Start by looking through the documents on the Google Drive to see what others are doing. Maybe you’ll find an exciting idea you want to contribute to, or, if you have a topic of your own in mind, maybe you’ll find someone else has already started working on a related topic.

  • If you want to start work on a new topic, create a folder for your chapter and start writing! Be sure to use a title that will help others who might be interested in your topic to find and contribute to your work.

  • Cite your sources, if you’re using any! Use whatever formatting style you want to use. And, focus more on complete information rather than correctness of formatting, as our editors will help address the latter.

  • Go multimodal! In other words, feel free to incorporate images, videos, and/or audio into your work.

  • Whether you’re starting your own chapter or jumping into one already underway, be sure to write your name at the top of the main document, unless you don’t want to be identified as an author.

  • Cite your images and videos, or, if you created them, credit yourself as author! Often, a hyperlink will suffice to cite online materials. Respect copyrighted material online (e.g., images, videos, music, etc.) by reproducing material in ways congruent with the author’s request for how her materials are used. Consider using artifacts with a creative commons license, such as images available through flickr.

  • Hyperlink when appropriate and when you can. For example, if you refer to a work available online, consider hyperlinking to that text to enrich the reading experience of those who interact with the book.

  • Take breaks as you write. Take breaks to stand up and walk around. Take breaks to look through what other people are writing. Take breaks to edit other parts of the chapter after you’re done with a section. It’s good to step back and step away from time to time.

  • When you and/or your group complete a draft, take time to revise and proofread the composition.

  • After the event, if referring to the work you have collaborated on composing, please cite the piece accordingly, recognizing all authors.


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