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Research Guides

Student Journal Publishing

Student Journal Presentations

Behind-the-Scenes Manuals, Documents, and Policies for Maintaining Journal Consistency


  • Zack Ferns (he/him), Western University
  • Erin Van Dyke (she/her), Western University

Journal: Nota Bene: Canadian Undergraduate Journal of Musicology

Many student-run journals, Nota Bene included, feature frequent editorial turnover as academic years pass by quickly and editorial team members graduate or move on. As a result, challenges in maintaining operational consistency can arise. In this presentation, the editors-in-chief of Nota Bene will provide an overview of strategies they use, namely manuals and policy documents, to ensure that Nota Bene’s operations remain consistent and smooth, year after year. The documents about which we will be speaking include our Editors’ Manual, Tailored OJS Manual, House Style Guide, French-Language Submissions Policy, and Review Panel Policy and Guidelines. We will begin our presentation by discussing the context of the creation of these documents and how we keep them organized and up-to-date. We will then go through a brief overview of the content and organization of each of these documents, discussing their specific roles in helping us fulfill our mandate and operational goals and tasks. We will conclude our presentation by emphasizing that every journal is unique. The documents we use are helpful to our operation, and we hope other journal teams find some inspiration from our presentation, but we want to stress that teams should carefully consider the needs of their operation, and develop manuals and policy documents according to those needs.

Breaking Barriers: Championing Equity in Undergraduate Publishing


  • Mayank Bansal, Queen's University
  • Caitlyn Dignard, Queen's University
  • Sophia Shi, Queen's University
  • Ruslan Amruddin, Queen's University
  • Kyran Sachdeva, Queen's University
  • Aishwarya Rajesh Krishnan, Queen's University
  • Bohan Zhu, Queen's University

Journal: Qapsule Queen's Undergraduate Health Sciences Journal

This session, titled "Breaking Barriers: Championing Equity in Undergraduate Publishing," will focus on the pivotal role of Qapsule, Queen’s Undergraduate Health Sciences Journal, in promoting equity in academic publishing. As a student-led, open-access journal, Qapsule stands at the forefront of addressing the underrepresentation and disparities in academic publishing. The session will explore how Qapsule empowers a diverse array of undergraduate scholars by offering equitable opportunities for publication and involvement in the editorial process. By examining the challenges encountered in establishing inclusive publishing practices, this presentation will shed light on the journal's innovative approaches to integrating equity in all facets of its operation. Emphasizing on mentorship and training, Qapsule ensures all students, irrespective of their prior experience, can contribute to and benefit from the academic discourse. The session will also highlight the journal's success stories and the impact of its equity-driven initiatives on the academic community. Attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of the necessity for equity in undergraduate publishing and practical strategies to implement similar practices in their journals.

Discoverability Boosters 101


  • Laura Reumont (she/her), McGill University
  • David Derish (he/him), McGill University
  • Benjamin Levesque-Kinder (he/him), McGill University

Journal: McGill Science Undergraduate Research Journal

We present three tools that enhance the discoverability of undergraduate journals, notably search engine optimisation (SEO), the acquisition of direct object identifiers (DOIs) via CrossRef, and indexing with the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). After participating in this session, attendees will know the steps and barriers-to-entry associated with each tool, allowing them to assess its feasibility for their journal. In the case of search engine optimisation, the attendees will have seen some instructive examples. In the case of DOIs and DOAJ, they will know the overall process for obtaining access and, most importantly, be able to take the first step. We are delighted to share all our tips and tricks along with the challenges we faced on the way, so that other journals will feel more prepared.

D^3: Defining, Dissecting, and Developing Legacy Documentation


  • Peter Heft

Journal: Chiasma: A Site for Thought

This talk aims to tackle the issue of so-called ‘legacy documentation’ cross-(editorial)generationally. More specifically, the aim here is threefold. First, to briefly lay out the problems I have found myself faced with when taking over the role of chief editor; second, explain the tactics I have used in the past to prepare—and in turn, ensure the highest likelihood of success for—future editors in their new role(s); and third, bring to the fore what I have found does and does not work, what is and what is not helpful. Indeed, within the talk I intend to bring attention to issues that may be obvious—e.g., transferring login information, contacts, etc.—whilst also noting issues one might not immediately think of, but which are no less significant that are themselves crucial to ensure, on the one hand, aesthetic continuity whilst, on the other, minimizing extraneous work for future editors—e.g., journal-specific norms relating to style, production assets such as common images and/or logos, standard typefaces used, etc. Finally, I will give two different examples of legacy documentation, one of which has had its success empirically verified by the longevity and consistency of the publication, the other of which is a work in progress. The ultimately goal here is thus to provide attendees with, at the very least, pieces of information to consider as they form—or in some cases, re-form—the skeletal structure of their publication going into the future.

For the Love of Literature: Creative Partnership to Produce a Literary Journal


  • Divine Angubua (he/him), University of Toronto Mississauga
  • Whitney Buluma (she/her), University of Toronto Mississauga

Journal: With Caffeine and Careful Thought

Our session will talk about the infrastructure of collaboration, and the steps to take in order to achieve a creative partnership. With Caffeine and Careful Thought partnered with Literature is Alive this year for a special edition of the magazine coming out next year. We sought to create a theme centering language and the beauty of literature; why we need it in the world, and why it's important. This way, we meet the needs of both of our audiences. We also asked writers to present a short abstract or commentary on their work alongside their submission, to allow a deeper sense of not only the work itself but the craft of it. We married the goals and ambitions of our different groups through this project to satisfy the partnership. Between Whitney and myself, the responsibilities were split equally according to our skills and interests.

Managing Transitions to OJS and Journal Growth


  • Kaylee Dunn (she/her), Western University

Journal: Tulips: The Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Undergraduate Journal

Last year, 'Tulips: The Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Undergraduate Journal' transitioned from self-published to published through the OJS platform. Though this student-run journal is a smaller faculty-driven publication and has previously struggled to garner attention and submissions, the journal team has now been forced to adapt our practices to accommodate a growing number of submissions from our expanding faculty. Adaptation for ‘Tulips’ meant publishing through OJS, creating new roles within the publication team, and a more rigorous submissions vetting process. This session aims to describe the challenges of learning a new system and how to manage a journal that is expanding in size. First, the presentation will provide an overview of the primary issues the journal faced: a greater number of submissions, professionalization, size of editorial team, learning how to use OJS effectively, and a lack of transitional documentation. Then, our previous Junior Editor and current Journal Manager Kaylee Dunn will describe the strategies implemented to manage and maintain the journal’s growth and what this year’s team is doing to ensure a smoother transition for the future of ‘Tulips’. After participating in this session, attendees should have a better understanding of the challenges smaller journals will face as they begin to grow and the value of comprehensive transition documentation. Furthermore, the presentation will provide examples for how to implement strategies that can overcome and curtail the difficult aspects of journal growth, how to identify if your team needs additional roles, and how to create their own records/transition documents. This presentation will improve the attendees' organizational and management skills, which will be applicable beyond this journal.

More than a Makeover: Reviving ELIP Journal as a completely student-run journal


  • Yeliz Baloglu Cengay (she/her), Western University 
  • Vicky Chung (she/her), Western University 
  • Sarah Sharpe (she/her), Western University
  • Joe Qiu, Western University

Journal: Emerging Library & Information Perspectives Journal (ELIP)

Launched in 2018 at Western University, the Emerging Library & Information Perspectives Journal (ELIP) originated as an immersive experiential learning opportunity for students of the Scholarly Communications course. The professor and students of this course were responsible for all management and editorial tasks, with the successful publication of an edition of ELIP as the culminating project. The journal’s dependency on this class resulted in a hiatus in ELIP’s publication after the May 2022 issue, when the Scholarly Communication course ceased to be offered. When we, the current managing editors, began to revive ELIP in Summer 2023, making the essential structural changes to ensure both the independence and sustainability of the journal was our guiding principle and number one priority. To achieve this, we made profound changes across all facets of ELIP including editorial process, editorial support, design choices, as well as outreach and promotion strategies. We used social media and information sessions and workshops to reach authors and associate editors. We also planned ELIP’s transformation to meet inclusion criteria for DOAJ application. We are aiming to complete our application before the publication of our revival issue in February 2024 to increase the visibility, reputation, and usage of our journal. This session will map the holistic transformation of ELIP from a curriculum-driven publication into an entirely student-led publication. We will share ELIP’s revival story including our initial goals, achievements, setbacks, and future projections. Our aim is to illustrate that the healthy and sustainable revival of a journal goes beyond a simple editorial masthead makeover. We hope that our presentation provides a roadmap to students who are also planning to wake an existing journal up from its deep sleep at their own institutions.

Nurturing Mathematical Creativity at UTSC - A Journey of U(t)-Mathazine Since 2015


  • Zohreh Shahbazi (she/her), University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Olivia-Autumn Rennie, University of Toronto Scarborough

Journal: U(t)-Mathazine

U(t)-Mathazine is a UTSC journal where students and faculty members contribute articles and artwork related to math and stats topics. The goal is to enhance understanding and inspire exploration of these subjects. In this session, we intend to share our experiences in running this publication since 2015, providing insights from both student and faculty perspectives, and discussing the lessons learned to enhance the quality of our work each year.

Publishing a Covid Issue: Scope, Collaboration, Invitations, and Limitations


  • John Mũkonzi Mũsyoki (he/him/they/them), University of Alberta

Journal: Intonations

Working on a Covid 19 issue. Negotiating the right kind of an invitation was quite a task. As an interdisciplinary journal incorporating drama, music, art and Design, and performance studies, scope is already a resourceful undertaking but thematizing it to speak to Covid offered the challenge to take the conversation further (such as the coming together of artists wrestling with restrictions). As editors-in-chief in collaboration with the editorial board, we pondered the ramifications of publishing about Covid 19 given that everyone was talking about it. This was and continues to be a time of transformation marked by existential threats not only permeating our lives but also the strength and future of our disciplinary practices. The challenge then was the kind of conversation, commentary, and discussions we could facilitate without reducing the discussion to what covid has stalled or inconvenienced. We also hoped to shine a light on the possibilities that were emerging from the strenuous circumstances. The submissions then ended up posing vital and eye-opening challenges such as the combination of reviewers to invite, the correspondence with the authors, and the ways to configure the articles to speak to each other as well as reframing the conversation on Covid 19, artistic practice, and academic inquiry.

Student Engagement through Visual Accompaniment & Writing Mentorship Programs


  • Audrey Dong (she/her), McMaster University
  • Florence Deng (she/her), McMaster University
  • Elaine Wang (she/her), McMaster University
  • Suraj Bansal (he/him), McMaster University
  • Natalie Chu, McMaster University

Journal: The Meducator

The Meducator is a student-led undergraduate Health Sciences journal that has been a long-standing presence within the McMaster University community. Since its establishment in 2002, the Meducator has undergone advancements in management, design, and scope. Disseminating the progress of our journal and its unique initiatives to other journals will contribute to an increasingly diverse and intersectional student journal space. This lightning talk will focus on the multifaceted approaches involved in student engagement within McMaster’s community and beyond. A two-pronged plan will address these approaches, specifically encapsulating 1) the emphasis on visual accompaniment with each piece, 2) implementation of a writing-mentorship program. The Meducator’s signature blend of scientific writing and graphic design lends itself to enhanced student engagement. Visual accompaniments render academic and scientific content digestible and appealing to the typical McMaster student, increasing readership. A recent initiative, MeduGallery, is a two-page feature artwork addressing topics at the intersection of social issues and healthcare in an accessible manner. A cohesive and unique artistic approach to academic writing has cemented the Meducator as a stand out student-led publication. Moreover, MeduCollab was established in efforts to address a gap in fostering scientific literacy within McMaster’s undergraduate community. As a bi-annual writing mentorship program, mentees work alongside the Editorial Board to produce an article to be published on the Meducator. MeduCollab’s success has equipped over a hundred students with skills in scientific literacy. Through this dissemination, we aim to share and inspire the processes of the Meducator with other journals across Canada.

The Value of Centralised Forums to Promote Undergraduate Publishing


The Student Publication Caucus of Queen’s University (SPCQU) is a student-organised body that offers a centralised forum for communication and collaboration among undergraduate student publications. It was founded to address the disjointed culture of student publishing at Queen’s. The Caucus is the first of its kind at the undergraduate level in Canada. Several of our current initiatives include the creation of the Queen’s Student Publication Directory, advocating for dedicated physical spaces for student journals on campus, and developing lasting dialogues with Queen’s Libraries and Archives on opportunities for publications. SPCQU has demonstrated a strong potential in its work to foster a vibrant undergraduate publishing climate in the local context of Queen’s University. It is our conviction that other institutions should develop analogous initiatives to empower student publishers at their own campuses and facilitate collaboration between undergraduate publications across Canadian institutions. A centralized, national caucus could help expand the ethos of SPCQU to a setting with greater reach and impact. Finally, we will discuss obstacles and our strategy for ensuring the Caucus’s sustainability and longevity. Effective initiatives often take multiple years to see lasting impact, so it has been an especially important consider for us to develop a long-term plan for the Caucus. Our presentation aims to highlight the value of student publication caucuses to promoting undergraduate research, the successes and challenges we have seen at Queen’s, and encouraging other institutions to introduce their own caucuses.