Category: NOSC2012

NOSC 2012: Who is Publishing?

By Kirsten J. Barnes, Center for Community-Based Partnership

Dr. Diane M. Doberneck explored who is publishing and what they are publishing during a presentation at the 13th Annual National Outreach Scholarship Conference. Doberneck is a researcher at Michigan State University’s National Collaborative for the Study of University Engagement and an adjunct assistant professor in the Liberty Hyde Bailey Scholars Program.

The study reviewed an array of information, including who the authors were, what they studied and how the studies were conducted. By reviewing seven scholarly journals and their publications over the past 20 years, Doberneck and John H. Schweitzer studied community engagement journals.

The study found that more tenure track professors at public universities with more than 10,000 students produced the bulk of the articles found in the publications they studied.

"Fifty percent of the articles were qualitative studies," Doberneck said. "Some journals published qualitative and quantitative studies. In fact, six of the seven journals that we studied published articles that involved both qualitative and quantitative studies."

The study showed the first authors typically are full professors, academic staff members, or administrators, while doctoral research was also high on the list.

After discussing who is publishing, James Taylor and Drs. Jessica Averitt-Taylor, Edward Mullins and Cassandra Simon went over the nuts and bolts of writing.

"Many times when writing our research, we say one thing and do another," said Taylor, a lecturer in the College of Education and Human Services at Northern Kentucky University. "Do the research before you submit your article. Study the journal and the types of articles they publish. Also, be aware of other avenues of publishing, especially when you think about engagement writing."

Although the workshop was mostly focused on traditional scholarly writing, Averitt-Taylor, now an assistant professor of social work at Northern Kentucky University's Department of Counseling, told participants that UA's National Outreach Scholarship Conference-funded Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship includes literature reviews and personal well-thought essays.

She advised writers to use reference books, "Elements of Style" and a current edition of American Psychological Association stylebook.

"We include pictures in JCES, particularly for our younger generation of readers," Averitt-Taylor said.

Mullins, former dean of UA's College of Communication and Information Sciences and production editor of JCES, informed attendees about a great tool for readability.

"How many of you know that Microsoft Word has a readability test?" Mullins asked the group of approximately 40 people. "The higher the score, the easier the document is to read. It also will give you the number of years of education that it will take to read and understand your work."

Mullins said shorter paragraphs and sentences improve readability significantly.

NOSC 2012: Editor’s Panel

By Kirsten J. Barnes, Center for Community-Based Partnerships

During the Editor's Panel held at the 13th Annual National Outreach Scholarship Conference, several editors for various research journals discussed the types of articles they are interested in publishing and what writers should do to better prepare their manuscripts for publication.

"We're creating not just scholarly work, we're creating a culture and an environment for engaged scholarly work," said Dr. Nancy Franz, editor of the Journal of Extension and Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach to Family and 4-H Youth Development within the Iowa State University College of Human Sciences.

The editors talked about their plight to bring more recognition to engaged scholarship, while defending and championing its academic merits.

"If I don't think the article can survive a peer review, I automatically reject it," said Dr. Hiram E. Fitzgerald, associate provost for University Outreach and Engagement at Michigan State University and editor of Infant Mental Health Journal. "I really don't feel it helps authors to go through a lengthy peer review process when the outcome is evident."

However, he said in some instances the feedback on a rejected article can be helpful if the article can be salvaged but simply needs more work. Yet, he had a special note for students who speak English as a second language to employ the insight of a person who is more familiar with the English language before submission.

"You don't want a reviewer to read a manuscript and be biased by the English," Fitzgerald said.

Another theme from the panel discussion was the acceptance of engaged scholarship journals. Although Fitzgerald is editor of a traditional journal, other editors represented newer journals, which focus solely on engaged scholarship.

Dr. Cassandra Simon, associate professor of social work at The University of Alabama and editor of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, along with Dr. Ed Mullins, former dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences and production editor for JCES, discussed the journal's emphasis on community partnership and the inclusion of student and community voices on its pages.

Founded in 2007 as the brainchild of UA Vice President of Community Affairs Samory Pruitt, JCES actively seeks to incorporate more community partners and younger scholars into its format. Although it is available in print and online, JCES incorporates graphics and photos to make the work easier to understand by laypeople and more attractive to readers in general.

Simon said the challenge for JCES has been to establish itself as a scholarly journal that defines community scholarship from inception to dissemination, yet still presents research that is accepted as scientifically and scholarly valuable and includes community and student voices.

However, she welcomes young authors, but cautions them against expecting the editors to do the work for them.

"If they are a young author, we will work with them," Simon said. "But if it's a seasoned researcher, they should know how to write."

Franz echoed that sentiment.

"We're not here to do your work for you," Franz said, adding that the authors need to know what type of style the journal uses before submitting documents.

Because JOE started as a journal about extension services and community outreach, she said the publication changed its name to reflect the broader reach of the journal. Yet she said her journal still struggles with attracting alternative voices to its pages.

JCES incorporates additional voices by adding sidebars and additional authors to manuscripts with university scholars.

"Even though we're not getting a lot of submission from students or community partners, within every edition there is an article that has authors who are students or community partners along with a university author," Mullins said. "For example, we published a sidebar from a community partner that gave a different perspective on the research."

Each of the editors advised writers to do research on the journals to which they submit articles by finding out what types of manuscripts the journal usually prints. They also cautioned them against manuscript shopping, or submitting the same article to multiple journals.

"Just because it is a disciplinary journal, don't rule it out," Fitzgerald said. "Look to see what types of methodology they are open to. Find out if they're looking for rigor regardless of the approach. But don't think you can't publish in a disciplinary journal just because you're doing engaged work."

The University of Georgia prints the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. However, the editors recently stopped printing. It is now only available online, but officials say subscription rates are up.

NOSC 2012: Working with Community Partners and Students

By Kirsten J. Barnes, Center for Community-Based Partnerships

Drs. Cassandra Simon and Jessica Averitt-Taylor, along with doctoral student Vicky Carter, told community partners and young scholars why they should become actively involved in scholarly writing during the 13th Annual National Outreach Scholarship Conference.

"We are facilitating the exchange of mutually beneficial knowledge," said Simon, an associate professor of social work at The University of Alabama and editor of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship.

Simon said although some scholars believe only those with the highest degree can publish in scholarly journals, she disagrees.

"Some people believe that only those who have formal education can publish," Simon said. "I don't think that just because people don't have a formal degree means they don't have something scholarly to say. I think we need to acknowledge those voices more."

Carter serves as assistant to the editor; while Averitt-Taylor, now an assistant professor of social work at Northern Kentucky University's Department of Counseling, served in that capacity before earning her doctoral degree.

"This type of research is not possible without the full involvement of the community," Averitt-Taylor said, adding that community partners deserve more than an author's note of thanks. She said community partners deserve full and/or shared authorship.

The group emphasized the same for student authors. They encouraged student researchers to become active in this type of research, but cautioned them of their responsibility in dealing with community partners as well. Additionally, they encouraged graduate assistants to negotiate their role in the research of their professors.

"Don't be afraid of people in academia," Simon said. "Nobody is more valuable than anyone else and everybody brings different resources to the table."

Engaged scholarship is a way for young scholars and community members to share valuable experiences, knowledge and skills with others; it enhances the marketability of that student in the workforce; adds to the collective wealth of the profession; leads to lasting networking and collaborations with colleagues; and builds civic contributions.

"In each issue of JCES we try to have one community perspective piece and at least one student piece," Simon said, adding that JCES is looking for community partners and students to serve on its editorial board so that the community and student pieces will become peer reviewed as well. "These are not full manuscripts. We are trying to get the model with the students perfected so we can then more fully implement the peer review with the community partners."

These perspectives are short and concise, but explain the personal or community benefit and impact of engaged-scholarship.

"We would welcome a two- or three-page community perspective or student perspective," Averitt-Taylor said. "We do book reviews as well."