Peer-reviewed student journal Inter-section in the spotlight: ‘We aim at quality work’
Point your talented students to Inter-Section! That is the main message of the journal’s Editorial Board. But what exactly is Inter-Section? ‘It is meant for students to create an opportunity to publish a peer-reviewed article during, or just after, their study.’
Inter-Section, bearing the subtitle Innovative approaches by Junior Archaeological Researchers, was launched in 2015, in response to the difficulties encountered by students to get their research published. ‘By creating an in-house journal we wanted to give students the opportunity to publish in a peer-reviewed open access journal, with the help of their own supervisor and the Editorial Board,’ Yannick Boswinkel, member of the Editorial Board, states.
Fellow board member Paul Kozowyk agrees: ‘They get this opportunity with a little bit more support that you would get if you jumped into an international journal.’ Aside from this, students will also have the chance to experience the entire publishing process, Yannick adds. ‘They start off with an idea, move on to writing, get feedback, which can sometimes be harsh from the peer-reviewers, improve their work, and then turn it into an actual publication. Writing an article is also something not necessarily touched upon in the education at our Faculty.’
‘Students can do it’
‘We aim at quality work,’ Femke Reidsma, Editor in Chief, points out, ‘while helping the student to get to a higher quality article. Some staff may have the misconception that because it is a student journal, the quality is lacking. On the contrary, we take the scientific value very seriously.’ That is why the Editorial Board is so bent on external peer-reviewing. ‘It needs to be solid research and we should have faith in the quality of the articles. Students can do it.’
So what is the role of the Faculty’s staff? ‘Support your students!’ Femke gestures emphatically. ‘Support ideas, even if they are not fully fleshed out yet. If you see that your student is talented or that they have potential and that they wrote an interesting essay or internship report, encourage them to turn it into an article.’ She points out that students are not always sure of themselves and about their work being right for publication. ‘We have a lot of potential in our Faculty.’
Daniel Turner, also member of the Editorial Board, notes that the publication process has been revised. ‘Previously we would have students send in proposals based on a paper or a thesis. But now we want students who are encouraged by staff to submit to the journal to contact us directly. They can skip the proposal part.’ From here, the Editorial Board will work directly with the students. ‘My focus has been on improving writing, to teach students the trick to get to the point.’
Creating a foundation
‘I would say Inter-Section is a success when it forms an integrated part of this faculty,’ Yannick remarks. ‘When it is a natural step for staff to direct students to Inter-Section when they have written a good paper or essay.’ He notes that if a paper or thesis subject can be published, then Inter-Section would be the first step. ‘If we can create a foundation for students to gain this initial experience to make it easier for them in their subsequent career to continue publishing, we have reached our goal.’
So what does the name Inter-Section actually mean? The Editorial Board members laugh and then Femke jumps in: ‘None of the current Board members were around and involved when Inter-Section started, but the name is related to archaeology being on the intersection of disciplines, and to the students being on a crossroads in their career, but it’s also a play on the sections we create in the field.’
And, perhaps, Inter-Section itself will form a permanent crossroads where the Faculty’s students and staff meet, exchange ideas, and work on innovating the archaeological discipline.