conference contributionposted on 17.08.2016, 14:24 by Cheryl Hurkett, Mervyn Roy, Graham Wynn
Most undergraduate science programmes provide students with a project through which they can obtain some experience of the research process, but few students get to know the mechanism by which research output reaches the public domain. Fewer still get to appreciate that the hard part of originality in science is to ask the right questions. At the University of Leicester we have introduced a module to explicitly cover these areas. Our Physics students and Natural Sciences students learn about scientific publishing and peer review by acting as authors, referees, and editors of their own scientific journal. Split into small research groups, the students come up with original ideas for, research, and write, short scientific papers. Importantly, they peer-review the work of other groups. The process is overseen by a student editorial board who, based on the referees’ reports, have the final say on whether or not a paper is published. We use professional Open Journal Systems software to run the submission, review and publication processes of the journal online and, since 2008, all the students’ published work has been publicly available from the journal website. The student experience is now a true reflection of that of professional research scientists and, as an added incentive to the students, some of the more creative published papers have recently gone viral, including interviews on Radio 4 and CNN international. In this presentation we shall describe our Special Topics module and discuss how it can be incorporated into other degrees. We will also give a preliminary analysis of data quantifying the student experience.