FAQ

Q. What should I submit to the GSA Journal?

A. The goal of our Journal is to provide students experience in academic publishing through a supportive educational environment. The Journal offers a place to learn about the peer review process (both receiving and providing peer review) and how academic publishing processes work. 

The Journal accepts contributions from all disciplines. Contributions can range from experimental pieces you would never try to publish elsewhere to the normal type of scholarly publication in your discipline. We accept research articles, articles about teaching, data, blogs; we’re willing to work with you to develop ideas.

Q. Why should I bother publishing in the Meeting of the Minds Journal?

A. Writing for a journal is very different than writing for a professor. Unfortunately, developing journal writing skills is not often taught at university and when they move on in their careers and have few resources to call upon to help, many people find the process very difficult and frustrating. Our Journal seeks to help students publish their important research whilst simultaneously receiving important mentorship on their work and on their writing — preparing them for an important aspect of their developing academic career. 

Additionally, having being published is meritorious when applying for graduate school; being published, therefore, will help you be more competitive in your applications.

Q. How does your peer-review process work?

A. The GSA Journal tries to provide two mentors for every submission. One of those mentors is a U of L faculty member, and the other is a student in the author’s discipline and/or broad area. Each mentor is asked to provide their impressions of the submission, as well as a Microsoft Word document (or equivalent format) with suggested changes.

This review structure gives faculty members the chance to work with both the author and the student reviewer to cultivate fundamental academic skills. Additionally, it gives the author two different perspectives on their work.

The GSA Journal asks all authors to offer the names of two faculty members who could serve as potential reviewers when submitting an article. This is not an attempt to guarantee friendly reviewers (in fact, asking for reviewer recommendations is standard practice for many academic publications) — instead, it simply helps the Journal’s editorial board select knowledgeable reviewers in a more efficient manner. In many smaller departments and graduate cohorts at the U of L, it would be impossible to provide a reviewer that does not know the author or work with the author on a regular basis.

We do refrain from allowing supervisors to mentor their student’s submissions, as we assume that the student in question is already experiencing significant mentoring in that relationship.

Q. What publication style should I use? What submission format?

A. Because we are an interdisciplinary journal, we ask authors to use the submission formats and styles that are the norm in their discipline. So in English, this would mean Word files and MLA or Chicago citation style. In Psychology, it might mean LaTeX files and APA citation style. Ask your supervisor for advice about the norms in your field.

Please use a consistent spelling (we prefer Canadian spelling unless your field normally uses something else. British or American are also acceptable).

Unless your field requires it (e.g. some Historical disciplines), we prefer that you avoid footnotes whenever possible — however, if you are in a disciplines which encourages footnotes (such as Philosophy), then feel free to use them as guided by whatever format you are writing in. 

Q. Will publishing in the student journal help my career? Will it hurt it?

A. Whether a student journal is an appropriate place for you to publish a specific piece depends on a number of factors, including disciplinary expectations, the nature of your research, and your career goals.

As a rule, publishing in the Graduate Student Journal will help your career if:

  1. You are looking for some practice in preparing manuscripts for publication, understanding peer review, and/or getting an overview of the publication process in a supportive environment.
  2. You are looking to publish something preliminary or something that you might not otherwise consider submitting elsewhere (e.g. teaching notes or preliminary results)
  3. You want to get things out quickly and/or publish a lot and want to get some work out that you can’t place elsewhere.
  4. Your research is unusual, controversial, or a bit ‘left field’ and may be difficult to home in a more traditional journal.

That having being said, there are some circumstances where it might be unwise to publish in our Journal:

  1. In some disciplines, graduate students tend to publish research as part of large teams with their supervisors or other faculty members. It is unlikely that other team members in such cases would want to publish major results in our journal. It is possible, however, that such teams might want to publish results that might be otherwise ‘unpublishable’ (i.e. too small for major journals, too controversial, in order to give students experience as lead author, or so on).
  2. In some disciplines, the ‘Impact Factor’ of a journal is considered very important. As a graduate student-run and non-discipline-specific journal, our Journal will never have a high impact factor. If it is crucial to you that you publish everything in a high impact journal, you should publish elsewhere.
  3. If you have an extremely significant result or argument that you could easily publish in a major disciplinary journal (i.e. a non-graduate student one), then you should probably publish it there: our Journal will never have the exposure of a major disciplinary journal.

If you have any doubt about whether or not you should publish a piece with us, you should ask your supervisor, members of your committee, or other faculty members in your discipline. Every discipline has different practices and expectations; people in your field can give you the best advice with respect to your queries.

Q. Where do you publish?

A: The Journal publishes to Zenodo, a free digital repository run by CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research — the people with the bg collider!). The Journal also maintains a front-end WordPress website. Zenodo provides us with a DOI for all submissions.

Q. So I get a DOI…what is that?

A: A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned to a digital work.  Websites can be removed, and URLs can break, but once a DOI is assigned, it will never change. DOIs are increasingly standard in scholarly communication and they make citing your work extremely easy (most citation managers will find and upload articles on the basis of a DOI alone).

Q. How is my work archived?

A: Because we use Zenodo as our repository, publications will remain available for as long as CERN and its successors continue to exist. Zenodo is part of OpenAire, the main European Union Scientific computing grid.

Q. How do I get involved with the Journal editorial board?

A: Please feel free to contact us by e-mail (gsajournal25@gmail.com) and the Editorial Board generally meet once a month for two hours. Being involved with the journal is a great experience for students interested in the publishing/peer review process and will be an important addition to a CV.

Q. What is the Journal’s copyright policy?

A: As the author of your article, you retain copyright. This means you can sell your article later, publish it elsewhere in the same or revised form, and so on (be aware, however, that most presses and journals will not consider an article that is substantially the same as one that has already been published).

Since you retain copyright, you must give us a licence to publish your work. We use two licences: one that you give us that allows us to work with your article, and another that we use with the readers of our journal and dictates what they can do with the published version.

  1. We ask you give us a Creative Commons Attribution Only licence (CC-BY) {{link}}. This is the most commonly used Open Access licence. It allows us to publish your article, put it in special collections, arrange for third party aggregation or archiving, and so on, provided we always identify you as the author and require others to do so also. We ask for this licence so that we do not need to find and contact former students should we need to move the Journal to a new URL, decide to deposit articles in the institutional repository, publish a retrospective of student work, and so on.
  2. We publish your work in the Journal, however, using a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives licence (CC-BY-ND) {{link}}. This is the second most commonly used Open Access licence and it permits our readers to reuse your article in the form we published provided they do not modify it and provided they always attribute it to you. Under this licence, they can put it in course packs, post it to websites, share it with others; but it must always be in the form that was published and it must always be credited to you.

As you retain copyright of your article, you are free to licence your work using different rules to whoever you want. You can sell it to a publisher for anthologisation, use it in chapters of your own book or dissertation, place it in the public domain–anything you want, provided we retain the two non-exclusive licences mentioned above.