Editor’s note: When we changed the 2020 Library Publishing Forum to a virtual conference format, we gave presenters the option of converting their presentations into blog posts. This is a guest post in that series.
By Stephanie Savage and Gavin Hayes
At the University of British Columbia undergraduate research is a growing area of interest both for students and the institution. While UBC is actively supporting increased opportunities for undergraduate research, this interest has yet to extend to student publications. Despite the value of undergraduate journals and the central role they can play in the research process, there is little formalized support available to them and most rely on varying levels of financial and mentoring support from their affiliated departments. This presentation will outline a small grant-funded project to provide services and support for undergraduate student journals on campus as one initiative to engage undergraduates in the research process.
To begin we will summarize the four main objectives that we entered into the project with:
- To conduct an environmental scan of the student journal landscape
- To manage and grow a community of practice for student journal editorial staff
- To provide targeted professional development opportunities for student journal staff
- To encourage journals to adopt practices and policies that will enhance sustainability in the face of high turnover rates among journal staff
We will then outline how we operationalized each of these objectives throughout the course of the project. Specifically, we will speak to the identification and outreach strategies we employed when contacting journals and will share the results of the data we collected, including the results of a survey we distributed to student journal editors asking them to share their workflows and potential areas for professional development opportunities. Additionally we will point participants to the resources we have created for the student journals and our plans to facilitate better communication and knowledge sharing among them.
We will also speak to some of the challenges of doing this work, including the difficulty of engaging students, who are often busy and hard to schedule in-person events with, and the impact of high turnover on a sustained outreach campaign.