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The Journal of Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship

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Special Section: Online Journal Publication

This article is one of a group of articles written in response to a call to online journal editors for manuscripts describing the evolution of their online journal for the Topic "Electronic Publishing" We invite submission of other manuscripts that further the discussion of Online Journal Publication

Judith Effken, PhD, RN
Judith Ayoub, PhD, RN

Abstract

In this article, we discuss our experiences in developing the Journal of Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship, which provides a venue for undergraduate nursing students to publish outstanding papers. After describing our reasons for creating the Journal of Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship, we discuss how we created the Journal. We then discuss publishing issues related to organizational structure, economics, technical support, copyright issues, peer review, and survival skills. Because the journal is in its infancy, we focus on the challenges of starting a new online journal, as well as on our continued delight in helping undergraduatenursing students share with others their outstanding papers and their often unique, fresh views of nursing.

Citation: Effken, J., Ayoub J., (March 31, 2001) "The Journal of Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship" Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. Vol 6  No 2. Available: www.nursingworld.org/ MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Volume62001/No2May01/ArticlePreviousTopic/TheJournalofUndergraduateNursingScholarship.aspx

Keywords: online journal, baccalaureate nursing students, online publishing

History

The concept that resulted in the Journal of Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship (http//:juns.nursing.arizona.edu)was born in a chance discussion between two faculty members at the University of Arizona College of Nursing. We were lamenting the fact that, while many nursing students produce outstanding papers, for the most part their works are graded, returned, and tucked away in files until they are destroyed. Because they did not find the ideas of other nursing students in the journals they were assigned to read, it never occurred to them that they might publish their work. This significant waste of effort and resources was until now unavoidable. However, we had both discovered on-line journals at that time, and it was a small mental leap to connect opportunity and content for a new publication. The only journal we could find that accepts undergraduate nursing input is the Australian Electronic Journal of Nursing Education, which has been online since 1955. This journal publishes faculty and student papers addressing educational issues.


We were lamenting the fact that, while many nursing students produce outstanding papers, for the most part their works are graded, returned, and tucked away in files until they are destroyed.

Creating the Journal of Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship (JUNS) was much easier than we expected. The dean of our college of nursing graciously agreed that the college would host the journal. Other faculty volunteered to support us by reviewing articles or serving on the advisory board. Already in place was the college's extensive information systems support staff who helped put us on the screen. The examples set by other online journals (Online Journal of Issues in Nursing and the Online Journal of Nursing Informatics) were extremely useful. Not only that, editors of those journals were extremely generous with their advice on everything from how to handle copyright issues to how to apply for an ISSN number.

Naming the journal was more difficult. Since both editors are Judy's, we searched for a title that would result in the acronym J.U.D.Y. We discarded suggestions such as the Journal of Undergraduate Disease-Oriented Youths or Journal of Useful Disseminated Yarns, before abandoning that quest. We finally settled for a name, the Journal of Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship, with a more pronounceable acronym, JUNS, (pronounced like the name of the month).

JUNS went on line in the fall of 1999. You can see the first two issues at(www.juns.nursing.arizona.edu). We expect the third issue to be published in Spring 2001. The number of submitted papers has been fewer than we had expected, only fourteen (14) since the journal's inception. The editors rejected one of the papers and another was discarded by the reviewers; the remaining twelve either were published or are in the re-write process. Initially, the scarcity of papers was a relief as we struggled with the logistics of getting manuscripts reviewed, edited, and published. However, we hope to receive many more submissions as more nursing students and their instructors learn of our existence. We are trying to increase our visibility through links on related web sites, professional networking, and discussion at national meetings and seminars.


Because they did not find the ideas of other nursing students in the journals they were assigned to read, it never occurred to them that they might publish their work.

Purpose

The purpose of JUNS is to publish the work of students completed during their baccalaureate education. From an academic point of view, many programs now encourage students to actually make recommended changes in papers before saving them in portfolios. This means that many student papers are to some extent "pre-edited." Despite that, we recognize that the work of these students would rarely be submitted to or published in a printed journal. We accept manuscripts from BSN students or recent BSN graduates who did the work described in the paper during their program of study. It is expected that the primary audience for JUNS will be nursing students, although practicing nurses and educators also may find the journal of interest. Initially we decided that the scope of articles we would publish should include not only research, but also articles about nursing issues, case studies, policies, or even nursing humor because students demonstrate their scholarship through a variety of means. The articles in our first issue actually covered three of these areas. Recently we received two wonderful submissions dealing with the aesthetics and art of nursing. As a result we have expanded the scope of the journal to include creative works that will explore the wonder of nursing, in all its various forms. This section, called Kaleidoscope, was unveiled in our Fall, 2000 issue.

We recognize that this journal is a modest contribution to the flood of information related to health care and nursing that is present on the Web. We believe that the journal provides a unique forum for future nurses. We hope that it will stimulate their interest in participating in scholarly dialogue, researching nursing practice, and authoring professional papers. If this goal is realized, even to a small degree, we


Recently we received two wonderful submissions dealing with the aesthetics and art of nursing. As a result we have expanded the scope of the journal to include creative works that will explore the wonder of nursing, in all its various forms.
believe that it is worth the effort of the editors and reviewers.

Organizational Structure

We have tried to keep the organizational structure as simple as possible. Currently there are just three levels: Editors, Advisory Board, and Editorial Review Board www.juns.nursing.arizona.edu/Editors.htm..

As editors, we are responsible for the day-to-day operation of JUNS. This includes: design and layout of the journal, initial screening of articles, final editing of manuscripts, day-to-day problem solving, and communication with authors, reviewers, and readers. When we began this adventure, we were just a few doors away so we could share ideas in person; now we are in different states and our communication is largely online.

The Advisory Board consists of five nursing educators. Suzanne Van Ort, dean of the University of Arizona College of Nursing, has extensive experience in nursing publications, both as a contributor and editor. She has assisted us in coordinating our vision for JUNS with the vision of the host institution. Susan Jones of Kent State University College of Nursing is Co-editor of the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. Three graduate faculty at the University of Arizona, Terry Badger, Elaine Jones, and Joyce Verran, all have made multiple contributions to nursing journals as writers and reviewers. The responsibilities of the Advisory Board are to:

  • review all web site material (before the journal went on line for the first time)
  • serve as consultants when questions arise, and
  • review an issue of the journal on a yearly basis.
The Advisory Board has helped make editorial policy decisions about the journal, for example, the kinds of articles and level of student on which JUNS will focus, copyright issues, and the general design format. Because JUNS has the co-sponsorship of the University of Arizona College of Nursing, we have an editorial policy to publish only articles from nursing students in baccalaureate programs. Although we allow faculty to co-publish with students, the student must be the primary author.

JUNS is a journal focused on undergraduate scholarship, but we have not as yet included students on the Advisory Board, although we are considering changing that in the near future. The inclusion of students might help us focus the journal more effectively and better meet the needs of our targeted audience.

We started by recruiting our colleagues, friends, and even relatives to join the Editorial Review Board. Since its inception, the Board has grown significantly and today it consists of over 40 nursing faculty and practitioners from 25 Colleges and Universities in four countries who have each consented to review 2-3 articles a year.

Our choice of Journal of Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship as the title of the journal has been a source of confusion to some students or prospective students who apparently stumbled onto our site while surfing the web in search of financial aid. As a result, we have received several queries on how to apply for our scholarships! We clarify our use of "scholarship", wish them well, and encourage them to contact us again when they are further along in their programs and have written that publishable paper!

Surviving as an Online Publisher

Economics. Because our goal is to share excellent undergraduate scholarship widely, we have chosen to make our journal available without cost. We have relied on the support of the University of Arizona College of Nursing to make this happen. We initially utilized one of the author's research servers to house the Journal. That server is linked to the College of Nursing network. Last fall, the Journal was moved to another of the College's servers and is being maintained there, along with other applications and databases. This change ensured that we would have the same high standards of reliability and security that the other College applications had. Because JUNS is so new, we have not yet encountered any data storage or archiving issues.

JUNS has no paid staff and no budget. We are fortunate to be able to utilize the considerable talents of two members of the University of Arizona College of Nursing staff to create and maintain the online journal itself. One of the staff helped us translate our initial designs into a working online journal and has continued to modify the website as changes are needed, for example, creating an online manuscript review capability. Another staff member serves as our current webdiva. In addition to her regular duties in the Instructional Resource Laboratory, she marks up and posts articles and makes minor design changes. Neither individual is paid by the journal, but the work is considered to fall within the scope of their very diverse activities at the College of Nursing. The secondary benefit to the College is that many of the design solutions initially prototyped in JUNS can be applied to other educational applications. As much as possible, all correspondence is carried


Our philosophy is to encourage students to publish their work freely. To determine how we could best accomplish this, we contacted editors from other nursing journals, as well as copyright and legal experts at the University.
out by e-mail to avoid incurring postage costs.

Kovacs and Kovacs (1997) write that it takes approximately twenty hours of editorial time to create each issue of an online journal, and we agree with that estimate. Both of us are expected to pursue scholarly activities along with our teaching responsibilities. We find, however, that with one of us seeking tenure and the other coordinating a new BSN program, work on the journal spills into our personal time.

Copyright issues. Our philosophy is to encourage students to publish their work freely. To determine how we could best accomplish this, we contacted editors from other nursing journals, as well as copyright and legal experts at the University. Currently, we allow students to retain the copyright to their manuscripts, in case they wish to publish the manuscript in another venue. Prior to publication, authors are asked to sign a form that gives us a limited copyright that is sufficient to allow us to publish the article in JUNS.

Archiving. Being able to access and retrieve articles from an electronic source is a legitimate concern for authors and readers alike. Mardis (1999) found that the average rate of stability for a selection of electronic resources from 1994-1998 was only 55.1%, a number that will not increase the confidence level of authors--or readers. At the present time, with only one issue published, archiving has not become a major issue for us. We do, however, intend to maintain an online archive of all articles by volume and issue. There is an online search engine that will enable persons to access articles.

Technical and support issues. Initially JUNS resided on an NT server. It currently is housed on an NT 4.0 server running Internet Information Server 4.0. Frontpage 98 is used for creating the web pages. The peer review section, however, was written specifically for JUNS using ASP (Active Server Pages) and relies on an ACCESS database to manage and track the review information. Not surprisingly, in our communications with authors and editors we do occasionally encounter problems with software/hardware incompatibilities that have to be resolved through traditional postal or FAX means.

Editorial/publishing issues. Because we are a free publication with no budget, soliciting manuscripts has been our biggest issue to date. We began our publicity very cautiously, fearing that we might be inundated with submissions before we were really ready to handle them. Therefore, we announced the birth of our new journal and promulgated a call for manuscripts via several listserves and conferences. To date, we have not had the student response we anticipated. Perhaps we should have anticipated that students and their instructors might fear


Our communication process relies heavily on e-mail and consequently is probably less formal than most journals. Although we have created our own letterhead, we rarely get to use it.
that publishing an article in a new online journal might not be beneficial for their careers (Brahmi & Kaneshiro, 1993; Kiernan, 1999). With our first two issues behind us, we now need to increase our visibility and ensure that students and faculty are aware of this opportunity to publish students' work. Editors of other nursing journals have been very supportive and a wonderful source of advertising ideas. By taking their advice, we have begun to receive submissions from around the world!

Our communication process relies heavily on e-mail and consequently is probably less formal than most journals. Although we have created our own letterhead, we rarely get to use it. The ease of e-mail communication may have a drawback by creating a sense of informality that becomes equated with looser time constraints--both for authors and editors. We anticipate needing to institute a bit more structure in our processes for handling manuscripts.

Peer review. Technically, our review process is not truly a "peer" review, because faculty, not students, carries it out. Our process, which was developed after reviewing the policies of several journals, is fairly typical however. The submission requirements, procedures, and review process are outlined in detail at www.juns.nursing.arizona.edu/Author.htm. When a manuscript is submitted, one of the two editors first evaluates it for general acceptability for publication in JUNS and advises the corresponding author of our receipt of the manuscript and the review process. The manuscript is then logged into the website and two reviewers are asked to review it. The reviewers are assigned passwords to access the manuscript and enter their evaluation online (Fig. 1). If changes are needed, the manuscript with the reviewers' suggestions is returned to the author(s). When the revised manuscript is received, it is logged in and the initial reviewers are contacted to conduct a second review, using the same electronic process.

Figure 1. A Page from the Reviewer's Corner, showing a portion of the review screen for a manuscript.

Following the model of our College Course Software, the Reviewers' Corner is located on the main page of our website. From a design perspective, it makes great sense to construct a site using "parts" from other applications or to create the site with reusable parts, if you will. While locating the reviewers' area on the main page makes the review functions easy for both editors and reviewers to locate, it has proved to be a source of confusion to students exploring the site. Because that section of the website is password protected, we sometimes get requests from students for passwords so they can get into that particular area. It may become necessary to make the Reviewer's Corner less visible or change the title to avoid this confusion.


A second concern is that nursing students might inappropriately use JUNS content in preparing written assignments.

Challenges and Concerns. Our greatest concern related to JUNS is the very issue that makes its publication possible, the ease in placing it in the public domain. We recognize that the quality of material on the Web varies greatly, and that the credibility of JUNS thus may be challenged. It is hoped that sharing our review process on the Web site will remedy this concern. Online reviewed journals call for the same kind of editorial efforts as printed scholarly journals (Kovacs & Kovacs, 1997). We are willing to expend that effort to give the reader greater confidence in JUNS.

A second concern is that nursing students might inappropriately use JUNS content in preparing written assignments. We expect that most of the submissions will be based on nursing course assignments and that those assignments are similar from college to college. We have found non-academic sites on the Web already offering a variety of papers for sale to students. We hope that instead of this practice, JUNS will offer material that will be used as cited references, much like printed journals. We know from some of our e-mail from student readers that they are already reading and citing JUNS articles for their own course assignments.

A third concern is that some papers were praised by the authors' instructors, but were written in a style that was a poor fit for publication expectations. Recently a very interesting "reaction" paper was submitted and returned to the author with a suggestion to add references and decrease "I" statements. The paper has yet to be returned to us with the requested changes. The majority of the papers show promise upon first submission, which speaks well for the quality of today's nursing education. Common recommendations relate to organization, grammar, and the quality and/or quantity of references. One paper, which needed significant alterations, was returned with an encouraging letter from the editors about how reviewers' suggestions for changes, although sometimes discouraging for authors, will ultimately improve the quality of their published article.

In general, we have followed the pattern of other online journals that have tended to replicate the model of traditional paper journals, but in an electronic format. To


The majority of the papers show promise upon first submission, which speaks well for the quality of today's nursing education.
date, few online journals have truly been innovative and moved to a new publishing model (Murray & Anthony, 1999). Some of this hesitancy may be simply due to where we are on the learning curve of electronic publishing (that is surely the case for us). However, there may also be a general fear of being so different that libraries, readers and authors will not recognize the journal as a scholarly endeavor. Certainly web-based publishing has many possibilities that we have not yet exploited, particularly in terms of providing the reader more opportunities for interacting with the material presented. That remains for the future.

Summary

JUNS has been an exciting, challenging, occasionally frustrating endeavor. We have had the benefit of advice from several other editors that has helped us get the gleam in our eyes onto the web. As we gain more experience, we anticipate modifications to the journal, as well as to our procedures. However, we plan to continue to limit authorship to undergraduate baccalaureate nursing students. We continue to be impressed with the wide range of topics addressed by undergraduates and with their initiative and creativity.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Kevin Button and Jackie Shober. Without them, there would be no JUNS.

Authors

Judith Effken, PhD, RN
E-mail: jeffken@nursing.arizona.edu

After beginning her nursing career as a diploma graduate, Judith Effken went on to earn a baccalaureate degree in Psychology, a masters degree in Nursing Management, and a doctorate in Experimental Psychology. Dr. Effken has been an assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Nursing since 1996, where she teaches health care informatics, nursing systems theory and health care policy to both undergraduate and graduate students. As a teacher, she is the recipient and often the sole reader of many wonderful--and up until now--unpublished student papers.

Judith Ayoub, PhD, RN
E-mail: Judy_Ayoub@mhsnr.org

Judith Ayoub started her nursing career as a diploma graduate. She has baccalaureate and masters degrees in nursing and a doctorate in Higher Education. She has been teaching student nurses for twenty-five years and is the coordinator of a new baccalaureate nursing program at Mercy College of Northwest Ohio. She has been continually amazed over the years with the performance of student nurses and is delighted that they now have a voice in the Journal of Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship.

References

Brahmi, F. A., & Kaneshiro, K. (1993). The Online Journal of Current Clinical Trials (OJCCT): A closer look. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 12(3), 29-43.

Kiernan, V. (1999). Why do some electronic-only journals struggle, while others flourish? Chronicle of Higher Education, 45(37), A25-A27.

Kovacs, D. & Kovacs, M. (1997). The Cybrarian's Guide to Developing Successful Internet Programs and Services. New York: Neal-Schuman Publisher, Inc.

Mardis, K. P. (1999). Here today, gone tomorrow: The stability of cited electronic references. Unpublished masters thesis. Kent State University.

Murray, P. J., & Anthony, D. M. (1999). Current and future models for using e-journals: Making the most of the Web's potential. International Journal of Medical Informatics 53(2-3), 151-161.


© 2001 Online Journal of Issues in Nursing
Article published March 31, 2001


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