The first issue of UW Tacoma’s online student based academic journal — ACCESS*: Interdisciplinary Journal of Student Research and Scholarship — went live Sept. 28.
The annual publication — which will now be published each fall — includes student scholarship covering a wide spectrum of disciplines and is available worldwide on Digital Commons. ACCESS* exhibits the diverse research and scholarship being done by UWT undergraduate and graduate students. The first issue contains seven articles spanning a wide range of disciplines and topics — from law and politics to religion and literature.
Margaret Lundberg, editor of ACCESS* and instructional writing consultant in the Teaching and Learning Center, says the overall mission of the journal has two components. The first of which is to “help interested students gain that all-important first publication.”
However, according to Lundberg, the second reason is even more important: “teaching students about the process of publication itself — from the writer’s side, at least.”
This is where writing for ACCESS* diverges from general course writing assignments. Lundberg explains writing for a general and academic audience requires the writer to include more details than writing for a specialized class.
Introduction to the review process is a critical learning point for ACCESS* writers. The process of being published in an academic journal is important for students who plan on attending graduate school or pursuing a career in academia.
Lundberg believes this important skill prepares the writers for future academic writing and helps them make their writing clearer.
The title of the journal itself reflects this goal to introduce students to academic publishing. The asterisk in ACCESS* references a definition of “access” on the journal’s Digital Commons site: “a means or opportunity for entry.”
Lundberg believes learning the revision process can be tricky:
“Learning what revision really means when it’s based on feedback from three different reviewers, all of whom might have different ideas of what’s needed based on differing level of background knowledge on your paper’s topic.”
Faculty representing a wide range of academic disciplines are members of the ACCESS* editorial board. The editorial board also consists of TLC and library staff, and TLC peer writing consultants.
Any UWT undergraduate or graduate student — along with alumni who have graduated in the past year — can submit a paper for consideration on the ACCESS* Digital Commons site. According to the ACCESS* site, a wide variety of papers are acceptable: original case-studies, research papers, personal essays, field notes and chapters or sections of theses or capstone papers.
Students can submit their work any time before June 16. The deadline is early to ensure ample time to make the editorial board’s suggested corrections on one’s original submission before the final draft is published in the autumn 2018 issue. A list of specific policies and requirements — including text length, citation methods and more — can be found on the journal’s Digital Commons site.
Since ACCESS* focuses on student research and scholarship, creative writing papers will not be accepted — although students can submit these works to UWT’s literary arts journal, “Tahoma West.”
Students will not only be writing for future graduate schools or employers, but a global audience as well. The map on the journal’s Digital Commons site — showing where people have accessed each article across the globe — showcases the journal’s goal of being accessible worldwide. People from Tacoma to Israel, from Ghana to Thailand have read the current issue’s articles. Over 175 downloads have occurred since the journal’s launch.
“Finding an objective audience for your work, one that can give you great feedback and really help you focus your ability to communicate clearly in writing, is a great thing for any writer,” Lundberg said. “I actually think it’s a great thing for every person!”