Monday, May 13, 2013

Writing :: Integrated Writers, Integrated Writing, and the Integration of Distributed Work

Spinuzzi, C., & Jakobs, E.-M. (2013). Integrated writers, integrated writing, and the integration of distributed work. Connexions: International Professional Communication Journal/Revista de Comunicação Profissional Internacional 1(1). Available:

This is another in my series on writing texts. Whereas the previous post in this series was on a single-author book, this one is on a coauthored position paper barely longer than an extended abstract. My coauthor is Eva-Maria Jakobs, a brilliant professor at RWTH Aachen.

So what is there to say about this short piece?

First, this piece is a nice example of taking an opportunity when it comes up. Eva and I met at Writing Research Across Borders in February 2011 (David R. Russell introduced us). She and a coeditor were attempting to generate interest in an international collection on writing research, the Handbook of Writing and Text Production (to appear in de Gruyter's Handbooks of Applied Linguistics series). the idea was to have coauthors from different continents collaborate to provide global perspectives on research. Eva was gracious enough to invite me to collaborate on a chapter with her on our shared interest, writing in professional domains.

We have written that chapter, which is now in production, and in the process we found that we are well suited to be collaborators. As we developed ideas for that chapter, we focused on three trends that we had seen in our separate research projects. I think Eva is the one that named these: integrated writers, integrated writing, and the integration of distributed work.

These three trends, we agreed, should be discussed more widely. And we decided that when the opportunity presented itself, we should put together a standalone piece to describe it.

Coincidentally, in October 2011, Rosario Durao asked me to join the editorial board of her new journal, Connexions, which focuses on international professional communication. She also sent out a call for papers for the first issue. The CFP asked for a "400-500 word position paper"—which seemed ideal for breaking out the three trends that Eva and I had wanted to discuss.

Eva and I quickly developed a position paper that outlined these three trends along with some literature supporting the work. The work was equal, and I ended up being listed as lead author mainly because I handled submitting the paper and receiving feedback.

It's a short publication, and it's free, so please take a look and see what you think. Eva and I are intrigued by the three trends we describe here, and we plan to continue examining this area. If you're interested in the trends, I commend the extended discussion in our forthcoming chapter in the Handbook of Writing and Text Production.

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