Reflections on work experience with a student-led journal

 

In this post, recent graduates Shaffi Batchelor and Mustafa Abdimalik tell us what it’s really like to work on the editorial team of the British Student Doctor Journal.  Shaffi’s role is Education Section Editor and Mustafa’s is Editorial Assistant.  You can download articles from the journal free of charge at: https://thebsdj.cardiffuniversitypress.org/


 I have always had a love of written language: it’s one of the reasons I spent three years reading English at the University of York prior to studying medicine. After graduating and feeling that I had left the arts behind during the course of studying medicine, the opportunity to become involved with the British Student Doctor Journal felt like a breath of fresh air.

I have been genuinely humbled by the scope and quality of the submissions that I have been called to review as Education Section Editor. For all that we frequently dismiss our own actions as being those of “mere” medical students, the depth, nuance and innovation that I have been privileged enough to see have all reassured me that my peers are the worthy successors to a long tradition of medical development and clinical research, one that has never before been so forward-thinking or exciting.
On a personal note, it has been enlightening to gain first-hand insight into the process of peer review, both as reviewer and editor. I find that I now have a greater appreciation for the many individuals involved in creating spaces where research and discourse can flourish, with our own BSDJ as just one example. 

I have definitely learned a great deal over the past two years as Section Editor, and now happily consider myself a champion of both the peer review process and student-led endeavours; with both, we are collectively working towards something far grander than ourselves.

Shafqat Batchelor


I first heard about the journal almost a year and a half ago. I was fascinated by the idea of a journal made and dedicated by students. To be honest, I knew very little about how to write a piece well (whether research article or reflection) and what happens after you submit it. All that changed when I expressed interest in working for the BSDJ.

Initially and for six months, I started as a peer reviewer. I still have and enjoy that role as it has provided me with insight into the process from submission to publication. Subsequently, I applied to work for the journal as peer review manager. The role involves managing peer review applications, updating the peer review database and helping section editors to identify peer reviewers during busy periods. 

I try to answer emails as promptly as possible and stay in contact with section editors to ensure articles are reviewed in a timely manner. With other work and life commitments, it is crucial to stay organised and maintain good communication on a regular basis with section editors. I have found the role both exciting and challenging at times. The work demands of the journal are not huge or difficult, but require attention and dedication.

I am grateful for the experience I have had with the journal. I believe it has improved many aspects of my academic development that are not often explored during clinical practice. I am also grateful to the amazing team we have. To sum it up, it is an experience that has been both educational and sociable.  

Mustafa Abdimalik

 

 

 

Advertisements

CardiffUP adds value!

Cardiff University Press is proud to be contributing to the University’s strategic vision of “continuous improvement of infrastructure to underpin the production of excellent research with impact”.

How do we do that? By:

  • Providing a sustainable online platform for high-quality Cardiff University journals and other publications
    We currently have 8 journals regularly publishing with us, and another 2 to be launched in the near future. We’ll also be starting to publish 2 working paper series this year. Do you have a proposal for another journal or series that we could add to our portfolio? Let us know at cardiffuniversitypress@cardiff.ac.uk if so!
  • Launching innovative publications using a fully Open Access ‘Diamond’ model of publishing
    Our Diamond OA model, meaning no charges to readers for downloading our publications and no charges to authors and editors for publishing with us, has been applied to all our journals and series. No other institutional publisher in the UK does this quite like we do, although UCL Press in London is a fully Open Access publisher too.
  • Relaunching established publications using a specialist Open Scholarship publishing platform (Ubiquity Press)
    In 2017 we teamed up with Ubiquity Press, also based in London, who created a new online space for us on their platform. Our publications have now been relaunched there to provide an improved service to our readers, authors and editorial teams.
  • Providing opportunities for monograph publication to add to the Open Access journals and series published through the Press
    We’re now piloting the publication of monographs, in the hope that we can offer this service more extensively in future. Exciting times!
  • Improving the IT and publishing skills of academic staff and students
    In addition to training staff and students to use our publishing platform, we’re planning an external training session soon which will focus on copy-editing and proofreading skills.
  • Professionalising students and enhancing their employability
    We offer students opportunities to gain work experience with us in a variety of different roles. These roles range from book reviewers, proofreaders and social media publicists to journal editors and student reps on the Editorial Board of the Press itself. Experience of this kind, and the skills gained from it, look amazing on a student’s CV and could lead to a fascinating career after graduation. Unsurprisingly, our work experience opportunities are much in demand!

    Follow this blog for updates….

Student volunteering opportunities – your chance to work with the Press

Are you a Cardiff University student who’s interested in working with us? We’re always on the lookout for enthusiastic students who can make a difference to what we do. In fact, you can see on our website that Cardiff University Press aims to support the professionalisation of Cardiff University students by connecting them to our editorial teams who can offer work experience.

Student working

In other words, we give students the chance to work alongside some of our editors to create and publish academic outputs, so that they can learn transferable skills and improve their employability for their future careers. If you have an ambition to work in academia and/or in publishing, this is a great place to start acquiring the necessary knowledge. You can plan the work around your studies, and in most cases it can be done remotely, without the need to stay on campus. 

Here are some of the ways that students can get involved:

  • Copy editing or proof reading of newly-submitted papers
  • Editing/co-editing student-led journals
  • Writing and submitting book reviews and conference reviews for publication
  • Writing and submitting papers for publication
  • Helping to design and lay out new journal issues and working papers
  • Maintaining web pages on external sites of our publications
  • Uploading back issues to the official Cardiff University Press website, as needed
  • Using social media to promote and raise awareness of our publications
  • Contributing guest posts for this blog
  • Serving as student representatives on the individual editorial panels of our publications
  • Serving as student representatives on our Editorial Board

Interested? Watch this space! As we have recently had a lot of applications from students wanting to volunteer for the Press we are currently not taking any further details, but we may call on you again in the future! Thank you so much for your interest!