Thursday, December 1, 2022 - 04:17




Ed. Amanda Haste & Linda Baines

Foreword by Ronald Gross (author of The Independent Scholar's Handbook)
(South Bend IN, USA: National Coalition of Independent Scholars, 2024)
ISBN: 979-8-9872764-1-9
First edition published online 25 March 2024

" excellent resource for existing or would-be independent scholars and independent researchers" - Helen Kara
"These pages brim with inspiration and advice from our colleagues who have themselves struggled with the challenges we all face. They have distilled hard-won wisdom into useable how-to." - Ron Gross, author of The Independent Scholar's Handbook.
   In line with NCIS's commitment to open access, this volume is free to download and print. It contains active hyperlinks, and is eminently searchable.
   Copyright of each chapter remains with the respective authors, from whom permission to reproduce material should be sought. 
The inspiration for this volume is Ron Gross’s The Independent Scholar’s Handbook (1982; 1993) which has long been the seminal guide for Independent Scholars, and we are honoured that Ron has provided the Foreword for this volume. Thirty years on from the Handbook, the academic landscape has changed immeasurably, with the arrival of the internet, ever-increasing adjunctification of universities, and deteriorating conditions within academia. NCIS is seeing an increasing number of applications, not only from adjunct faculty, emeritus professors, and PhDs who have not considered an academic career, but also from tenured faculty who are increasingly leaving their secure jobs in favour of a better work-life balance. The time is thus right for NCIS to produce this new Guide for Independent Scholars, and we are indebted to our contributing authors for making this volume such a rich resource.
In Part 1 “Situating Independent Scholarship” Amanda J. Haste and Linda Baines first discuss “What is an Independent Scholar, and how do they survive?”; Susan Breitzer then makes the case for increasing the visibility of Independent Scholars in the academic landscape, while Linda Baines explores the phenomenon of “Late-Blooming Researchers” (LBR) which sees many people undertaking doctoral research later in life. In Part 2 “Journeys to Independent Scholarship” we present three personal essays: former diplomat Ruth Adler explores her experience of doing two PhDs, and examines the reasons for doing a PhD, how to go about it and how to ensure completion. Jane S. Gabin relates her career as an academic administrator, which fed into a life of activism, using her writing skills for the improvement of working conditions for adjunct/contingent faculty. Kathryn Burrows then gives an honest account of the challenging – yet fulfilling – role she has carved out as an Independent Scholar. In Part 3 “Making Life Easier for Ourselves” Tisa M. Anders tackles the power of mentorship, Phillip Reid discusses being an independent historian, and Susan Breitzer draws inspiration from creative works to explore the challenge of maintaining ones “‘spark’ and motivation” in independent research.
Part 4 “Practical guides for Independent Scholars” focuses on the nitty-gritty of research: Amanda J. Haste explores interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, Sandra A. Ham explains technical writing, Kevin Hans Waitkuweit discusses using data, methods and software, Helen Kara investigates the ever-present ethical issues in research, and Amanda J. Haste explains the various ways you can ensure the rigor of your research through various forms of peer review. In Part 5 “How to survive as an Independent Scholar” Phillip Reid discusses the reality of getting grants, Helen Kara tells us how to make a successful living as an Independent Scholar, and Amanda J. Haste and Linda Baines look at self-care for Independent Scholars As a further resource for readers of this volume, Part 6 “Resources for Independent Scholars” provides details of both physical and virtual resources of use to ISs, including books, articles, academic blogs and Facebook/Meta pages,(both serious and lighthearted) that are so useful in supporting our academic lives.
As you can see, this volume goes well beyond simply expounding comforting theories and is rather built on the lived experience of those who have been conducting independent research for many years. We hope you will benefit from the advice and encouragement offered, as you pursue your own journey into the liberating world of Independent Scholarship beyond the confines of academia.




The idea of a scholarly cookbook is not new, but this one is the first to be compiled by proud independent scholars, namely members of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars (NCIS) and its affiliated partner groups around the world.

This volume aims to give you an insight into different foods, traditions, and food-related experiences, through brief essays – some scholarly, some personal accounts – each of which has a related recipe. It is completely open access, and freely available to download here.

For best results, print out as a booklet and settle down for a good read. You could also print out separate copies of your favorite recipes to keep in the kitchen.



Caccipuoti, Christine, and Elizabeth Keohane-Burbridge (eds.Independent Scholars Meet the World: Expanding Academia Beyond the Academy(Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2020).

Gross, Ronald. The Independent Scholar's Handbook: The Indispensable Guide for the Stubborn Intelligence (Ten Speed Press, 1994).

Haste, Amanda. "Affiliation? Who Needs It?" The Independent Scholar Quarterly (May 2014), 5-7.

Kara, Helen. "What I have learned from 20 years as an Independent Researcher." Social Research Association. Blog. n.d. 

Mahlberg, Gaby. Blog. n.d.

Nelson, Megan Kate. "Hey Academics, Please Stop Calling Me an 'Independent Scholar'” Blog post (September 2017).

Nicolaides, Becky. "My Journey through the Research Access Crisis" (UCLA Center for the Study of Women, March 2019).

Nicolaides, Becky. "Locked Out: Research Access as a Challenge for the Discipline.". Online. Perspectives on History (American Historical Association, August 2018).

Sheldon, Kathleen, with Sandra Trudgen Dawson, “Independent Scholars, Feminist Research, and Diminishing Support,” CCWH (Coordinating Council for Women in History) Newsletter, 46, 4 (Dec 2016), 7-8.

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