Facilitating Student Growth and Elevating Access: The Inaugural Edition of Peer Review

The Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI) has just launched its inaugural edition of its undergraduate research journal, Peer Review: The Undergraduate Research Journal of the Ethnography of the University Initiative. As the title suggests, our journal exists specifically as a platform to highlight research conducted by undergraduate students.  Moreover, the scope of the journal is to publish research that centers on the university experience (at the University of Illinois or otherwise).


Cover art for the journal, designed by Brett Lauren Eaton

EUI promotes student research on universities and colleges as complex institutions. Based at the University of Illinois, EUI supports faculty from various disciplinary and methodological backgrounds to integrate original student research on universities and colleges into their courses through faculty development workshops, customized web environments, Institutional Review Board permissions, and bi-annual student conferences. In EUI-affiliated courses, students use a variety of ethnographic, archival, and related methods to examine the university in the broader context of our social and political times. At the end of each semester, students have the opportunity to contribute their work to the EUI collection in the U of I’s digital repository, Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS).  Now, as we launch our journal, students have a new outlet to highlight their work.

In the spirit of a journal for undergraduate students, five undergraduate editors managed the selection of articles, led the editing of those works selected, and facilitated the final production of our first edition. The most integral characteristic of our journal, in my view, is the open access platform through which we make our journal available digitally and free.  While much of academic scholarship is hidden behind the proverbial wall of institutional journal subscription fees, the very possibility to expand the audience of academic work through the Open Journals Systems (OJS) is exciting. Investing time and resources into undergraduate research is telling of the University’s commitment to its students and to fostering a new generation of future graduate students and researchers who will likely consider this early outlet for their research as a vital component of their decision to continue important work.

Our inaugural issue features two peer-reviewed articles. The first examines accessibility issues at sororities and highlights the limitations of temporary accessibility accommodations typically made during recruitment whereas the second article examines Illinois State University’s student health agenda and suggests that despite links between student health and academics, student health is taken for granted. The digital platform uniquely affords us the ability to also publish and highlight research that is presented in multi-media platforms. As such, our first multi-media project explores the experiences of LGBTQ students as they engage in different social spaces across campus.

We invite you to explore the online platform of the journal: https://ugresearchjournals.illinois.edu/index.php/preui/index

 T. Jameson Brewer, Senior Editor

Re:Search, The Undergraduate Literary Criticism Journal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: The Inaugural Issue

This year marked the inaugural publication of the first issue of Re:Search: The Undergraduate Literary Criticism Journal at the University of Illinois. Re:Search is an undergraduate-produced, peer-reviewed journal designed to annually publish articles exclusively authored by undergraduate Humanities students. It seeks to create a venue for undergraduate students to showcase and publish literary criticism within a greater academic discourse while nurturing a collaborative community between faculty, administration, and undergraduate students.

Cover Art for the journal, designed by freshman undergraduate Graphic Design student, Madison Ross-Ryan

Cover Art for the journal, designed by freshman undergraduate Graphic Design student, Madison Ross-Ryan

A particular feature that distinguishes Re:Search from other undergraduate journals is that it supports students throughout the research and publication process. Particularly, this journal offers a faculty mentorship, where students work closely with a faculty advisor while drafting their article. While the publication of the journal is certainly an accomplishment in its own right, what this journal also strives to do is foster a culture of collaboration amongst the undergraduate student body, faculty, and university departments across campus (including the Scholarly Commons at the University Library, the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR), and the English Department) with the collective vision of encouraging undergraduate research.

Re:Search site

Open Journal System online platform for Re:Search

In addition to offering hard copies of the journal available to print on demand through the Espresso Book Machine in the Illini Union Bookstore (and generously funded by the English Department), the University Library and OUR both funded and assisted in the founding of an online, fully-indexed platform through an Open Journals Systems (OJS) to showcase the completed work of undergraduate students. By working alongside University Librarians and Graduate students in the Graduate Library and Information Sciences (GSLIS) program, we have established an online platform that is accessible to a wide audience, including: current university students, instructors, administration, alumni and prospective students. This OJS platform will continue to be instrumental in future publications as it enables us to regulate the peer-review, copyediting and proofreading processes in one localized site.

Example of an article

Example of an article on the online platform

The increasing recognition of the value of undergraduate research in the University of Illinois is empowering for us undergraduate students, and I believe signals towards a transformative shift in the research culture here on campus.

We invite you to explore the online platform of the journal: https://ugresearchjournals.illinois.edu/index.php/ujlc

We are also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/litcritjournaluiuc

To learn more about Re:Search and opportunities to be involved, please visit our microsite: www.publish.illinois.edu/undergradliterarycriticismjournal

Nick Millman, Editor in Chief of Re:Search