For the last few weeks I have been on placement with JPAAP – the Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, based at Edinburgh Napier’s Sighthill campus – which “aims to provide a supportive publishing outlet to allow established and particularly new authors to contribute to the scholarly discourse of academic practice.” The online journal publishes several issues a year, and the May/June issue I worked on had a special focus on student transitions, discussing topics such as: transitions from high school, college, or full-time work to university; from undergraduate to postgraduate studies; from overseas education systems to UK higher education; and the re-adjustment faced by students returning to university degrees after mandatory long-term work placements or internships.
I have long had an interest in academic publishing, which, together with my desire to focus on my editorial skills this year, meant I was delighted to secure the placement with JPAAP, but without knowing exactly what to expect. It proved to be an excellent learning experience however, providing first-hand industry experience, considerable editorial practice, a lot of learning and a great environment to work in. Journal Manager Kirsteen Wright was extremely supportive and made sure myself and the other intern were made welcome, and always felt challenged by the work but never overwhelmed.
My main responsibilities included proofreading and copyediting articles submitted to the journal, as well as dealing with layout and formatting to help get them ready for publication in both pdf and html formats. I also helped out with some administrative tasks, such as conducting surveys and emailing contributors and reviewers, and also sat in on Kirsteen’s Skype meeting with students looking for information on how to set up their own academic journal. Armed with templates and house style guidelines, I worked extensively on Microsoft Word, Excel and Adobe Acrobat, which I was already familiar with, and also did a lot of html coding on Dreamweaver, which was not something I had used previously but was great to get experience with. Kirsteen also introduced us to OJS, the Open Journal Systems that JPAAP uses to organise and publish its content, and showed us how to work and navigate it.
My placement with JPAAP gave me a chance to develop my editorial skills and offered an excellent overall grounding in the processes behind academic publishing; it was also fascinating to get a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the sort of journals that I have used to inform my thinking and coursework at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Not only did I learn a lot but it was also a genuinely nice environment to work in, so many thanks to Kirsteen for making us feel so welcome and giving us chocolates on the last day! I would highly recommend a work placement with JPAAP to anyone interested in academic publishing or editorial work in general.