The Journal of Young Investigators (JYI) is an exciting student-led initiative to broaden the scope of the undergraduate scientific experience. JYI provides opportunities for students to participate in the scientific review and publication processes, primarily through the operation of its peer-reviewed journal for undergraduates. Incorporated as a non-profit, student-run corporation, JYI’s staff members currently represent over 30 different academic institutions. JYI has been featured in EurekAlert!, Chemical Engineering News, and The Chronicle on Higher Education. An article highlighting JYI appeared in The New York Times (17 February 1999).
What is the web journal and what is its purpose?
JYI’s web journal (which is also called JYI) is dedicated to the presentation of undergraduate research in science, mathematics, and engineering. It publishes the best submissions from undergraduates, with an emphasis on both the quality of research and the manner in which it is communicated. The journal, JYI, also allows students to experience the other side of the scientific publication process: the review process. Students working with their faculty advisors review the work of their peers and determine whether that work is acceptable for publication in JYI.
How does JYI improve undergraduate science training?
If undergraduate education is to best prepare individuals for future participation in the scientific research community, then it clearly must include an introduction to the scientific research enterprise in its entirety. While many efforts to improve undergraduate science education are focusing on the important goal of making a student’s experience more experiential and research-oriented, JYI is focusing on the rest of the problem: how to introduce students to the exercise of communicating their research, reviewing and being reviewed by peers, and other aspects of publishing and disseminating scientific information.
JYI focuses on providing this introduction to two groups of students – authors and editors. For student authors, JYI recognizes that they are likely to have little experience in scientific writing and in a peer-reviewed publication system. JYI therefore helps guide these students towards more effective scientific communication by encouraging them to publish their research and then helping them to develop their skills. Student editors – the other group of students – receive an in-depth experience in which they are trained as scientific reviewers and engaged in a dialog concerning the methods and future of scientific publishing. Recently, JYI’s student editors gathered at the journal’s annual editorial conference to discuss scientific publishing and participate in workshops lead by senior editors of Science Magazine. When these JYI authors and editors become professionals, they will be informed and experienced in issues concerning scientific publishing and will be effective communicators and reviewers.