Research Article

Student-Run Academic Journals in STEM: A Growing Trend in Scholarly Communication

Abstract Student-run academic journals that publish high school, undergraduate, and graduate scholarly research are a growing trend in scholarly communication. These journals have the potential to improve the quality of future publications and editing by engaging students with the peer-review process and critical appraisal early in their professional careers. The number of student-run journals increased 9.9-fold from 1995 to 2015 and is projected to reach 222 by 2020. A mixed-methods Google Forms survey with 44 questions regarding journal structure, review methods, and journal management was distributed to 122 North American student-run journals. The survey received 29 responses for a 24% response rate. The majority of journals focused on expanding within their respective institutions to engage students: 80% of the journals’ mission statements included promoting student research or encouraging student publication. Despite recent growth, a large percentage of journals cited challenges including gathering manuscripts (65%), recruiting reviewers (42%), and transitioning managers (38%). Interestingly, only 33% of interinstitute journals reported these tasks as challenging. We expect the community of student-run journals to continue to grow and benefit scientific editing and publishing. Challenges these journals face may be addressed through the support of senior researchers and organizations that promote collaborations between journals, allowing journals to pool resources and expertise. Introduction A rapidly growing advancement in scholarly communication is the student-run academic journal. Student-run journals are defined as journals managed predominantly by student editorial boards that review manuscript submissions. These journals are diverse and address law; medicine; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); and […]

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