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Bioscience Horizons – the national undergraduate research journal Dr Celia Knight Faculty of Biological Sciences University of Leeds Learning and Teaching.

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Presentation on theme: "Bioscience Horizons – the national undergraduate research journal Dr Celia Knight Faculty of Biological Sciences University of Leeds Learning and Teaching."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bioscience Horizons – the national undergraduate research journal Dr Celia Knight Faculty of Biological Sciences University of Leeds Learning and Teaching Conference January 2009

2 Talk outline Journal aims Journal aims How it started How it started How it runs How it runs Evaluation Evaluation Future prospects Future prospects The journal as a learning tool The journal as a learning tool

3 Journal aims To showcase the skills potential of undergraduates and especially to future employersTo showcase the skills potential of undergraduates and especially to future employers To make available the high quality research undertaken by undergraduatesTo make available the high quality research undertaken by undergraduates To act as a motivational and learning tool for future undergraduatesTo act as a motivational and learning tool for future undergraduates To promote links between research and teaching and to acknowledge the achievements of high-achieving students, their supervisors and UniversitiesTo promote links between research and teaching and to acknowledge the achievements of high-achieving students, their supervisors and Universities

4 How did it start? Oxford University Press sawOxford University Press saw Biolog-e on-line and approached me in They also contacted Jac Potter about Origin. OUP saw potential for a nationalOUP saw potential for a national journal in promoting their undergraduate skills publications. I saw potential in creating a newI saw potential in creating a new type of journal with the backing of a professional publishers that worked for the UK Bioscience academic community

5 Creating the journal Academic consortium establishedAcademic consortium established Celia Knight University of Leeds Martin LuckUniversity of Nottingham Julian ParkUniversity of Reading Alison FletcherUniversity of Chester Jac PotterTrinity College Dublin Jonathan CroweOxford University Press Alan JenkinsConsultant Universities surveyed for supportUniversities surveyed for support –OUP and HEA mailing lists contacted –63 replies from 50 institutions 84% in favour of the establishment of a national undergraduate research journal

6 Creating the journal Journal and process created, including legal agreements with OUPJournal and process created, including legal agreements with OUP Journal publicised and departments invited (May) to nominate 1 or 2 max students (July)Journal publicised and departments invited (May) to nominate 1 or 2 max students (July) All nominations acceptedAll nominations accepted Students submitted papers rewritten to standard journal format (end Sept)Students submitted papers rewritten to standard journal format (end Sept) Papers sent for expert reviewPapers sent for expert review Editorial Board meets (Dec)Editorial Board meets (Dec) First revised submissions to OUP (Jan)First revised submissions to OUP (Jan) Issue 1 published (March)Issue 1 published (March) Issue 2 published (May)Issue 2 published (May)

7 University and student take-up University engagement has been good, involving ca. 50:50 pre-1992 and post-1992 Universities at each stage.University engagement has been good, involving ca. 50:50 pre-1992 and post-1992 Universities at each stage. Note some student nominations are accepted but fail to submit and importantly, some papers are not accepted after review. Volume 2 review process ongoing.Note some student nominations are accepted but fail to submit and importantly, some papers are not accepted after review. Volume 2 review process ongoing.

8 What do people think? The journal is being accessedThe journal is being accessed The journal was awarded a highly commended certificate for publishing innovation by the Association of Learned and Professional Society PublishersThe journal was awarded a highly commended certificate for publishing innovation by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers

9 What do people think? Academic comment "BioScience Horizons is a much better introduction to the real world of authorship than tutorial exercises. Furthermore, people need to be made aware that real research can be done, and is done, in final-year projects. Authorship is recognition, a reward due to those to whom it really belongs. This scheme sends nothing but positive signals in all directions.“ John Allen, Professor of Biochemistry, Queen Mary, University of London Student comment "I knew I wanted to work in research and this was not only great practice from that point of view, but it was also a stand-out feature on my CV when I began applying for PhDs” Samantha Fahy, student author of article in Volume 1 from THE article 7 th Aug 2008

10 Volume 2 Volume 1 successful enough for OUP to support volume 2Volume 1 successful enough for OUP to support volume 2 BBSRC grant obtained to evaluate the impact of Bioscience Horizons on postgraduate trainingBBSRC grant obtained to evaluate the impact of Bioscience Horizons on postgraduate training –Survey of academics and students ongoing. Responses from 95 academics and 125 students to date

11 Of course there are some warts… Concerns raised are:- Supervisors reticent if no publication attributable to themSupervisors reticent if no publication attributable to them Some think students should apply directly to the journal, not via their UniversitySome think students should apply directly to the journal, not via their University Some think the number of nominations per University should not be restrictedSome think the number of nominations per University should not be restricted Some think undergraduate research should only be included in mainstream journalsSome think undergraduate research should only be included in mainstream journals

12 Future Prospects Aim now to secure journal’s future financially for e.g. 5 yearsAim now to secure journal’s future financially for e.g. 5 years Contacts with learned societies to complement their educational programmesContacts with learned societies to complement their educational programmes International opportunities?International opportunities? Postgraduate opportunities?Postgraduate opportunities? Opportunities for articles other than results from final year projects to be publishedOpportunities for articles other than results from final year projects to be published

13 The journal as a learning tool – example 1 Level 2 students Tutees told to read a paper and think that their research project the following year could be good enough to be nominated for publication. Can they identify with the generic skills – e.g. writing style, graphical presentation of data etc.? What do they need to learn and practice during level 2 to be prepared for their final year project?

14 The journal as a learning tool – example 2 High-achieving final year students preparing for PhD We already see that the major difficulty that students have in rewriting their paper for the journal is making the transition from a full detailed report of all that they did, to a publication-ready manuscript that focuses on the results, the methodology used and the interpretation of the data. There is scope here to use the journal format as a learning tool.

15 The journal as a learning tool – example 3 UCAS applicants An undergraduate research journal is a good way to help University applicants identify with research. They can see research relating to them through the word “undergraduate”. That it is published professionally and available for their families to see is also motivational and a good way to disseminate University business to the community.

16 Summary A national journal to publish undergraduate research in Biosciences has been establishedA national journal to publish undergraduate research in Biosciences has been established The journal is gaining the attention of the UK research and teaching communityThe journal is gaining the attention of the UK research and teaching community Several opportunities exist to develop the journal to enhance research-led teaching and student learning opportunitiesSeveral opportunities exist to develop the journal to enhance research-led teaching and student learning opportunities

17 References M. (2008) JCom, Journal of Science Communication, 7:3. Student science publishing: an exploratory study of undergraduate science research journals and popular science magazines in the US and Europe Walkington H and Jenkins A (2008) Brookes Ejournal of learning and teaching, 2:3. Embedding Undergraduate Research Publication in the Student Learning Experience. _in_the_student_learning_experi/Walkington H and Jenkins A (2008) Brookes Ejournal of learning and teaching, 2:3. Embedding Undergraduate Research Publication in the Student Learning Experience. _in_the_student_learning_experi/ _in_the_student_learning_experi/ _in_the_student_learning_experi/ Corbyn, Z, (2008). Times Higher Education, 7 th August. Let students enjoy the power of print Corbyn, Z, (2008). Times Higher Education, 7 th August. Let students enjoy the power of print

18 Acknowledgements LTSN (HEA Biosciences), LTEF (U of Leeds), BBSRC and OUP for fundingLTSN (HEA Biosciences), LTEF (U of Leeds), BBSRC and OUP for funding Editorial Board and OUP for collegiality and developmentEditorial Board and OUP for collegiality and development Aurora Levesley for administrative supportAurora Levesley for administrative support


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