Sunday, February 19, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Kelvin Ng, STEM Fellowship, Toronto, ON, Canada
Introduction: Despite the increasing number of student-run scientific journals which publish high school and undergraduate scholarly research, there is scarce literature that evaluates such journals. Consequently, it is important to assess these journals in the context of conventional academic journals, both in the nature of their implementation of a peer-review process and their integration into student and professional scientific communities. Methods: As a first step to study the student-run journal ecosystem, a qualitative online survey including 44 questions regarding journal structure, review methods, and journal management was distributed to 31 North American student-run journals. Preliminary results were analyzed from 8 responses. Results and Discussion: A majority of the student-run journals were established in the last decade, follow an open-access format, and target a university student audience. All journal respondents had a student editorial board, but editorial demographics varied from high school to graduate students. The majority of responding journals had reviewers holding PhD degrees involved in their peer-review process. All journals relied on social media platforms such as Facebook to promote new issues and communications tools, including Skype and Slack, were used for internal communications. Almost all journals are not indexed in large databases (excluding Google Scholar) and no journals had an impact factor. Responses also indicate that student-run journals face varying degrees of difficulty in finding appropriate PhD reviewers and attracting student manuscript submissions. Conclusion and Future Direction: student-run journals have become a platform that encourages original research, peer review, and scholarly dialogue in student communities. Unfortunately, many student-run journals are currently underused by students despite their social media presence. Given that student-run journals are a growing phenomenon, they also face challenges with integrating into the broader scientific publishing community. The next phases of this study include continuing the mapping process of student journals in North America, followed by other regions around the world. Subsequently; models of peer-review, post-publication and dissemination of research results in this ecosystem and how that may change scholarly communication over the next decades will be studied.