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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal for Researcher Development, Volume 4, Issue 1
It is my pleasure to begin this, my last, editorial by announcing the winners of the Emerald Literati awards for papers published in 2012 in the International Journal for Researcher Development. The outstanding paper award was won by Jenna Vekkaila, Kirsi Pyhältö, Kai Hakkarainen, Jenni Keskinen and Kirsti Lonka, from the University of Helsinki, for “Doctoral students’ key learning experiences in the natural sciences”, published in Vol. 3 No. 2. This was a very well written paper that reported the findings of a study focused on doctoral students’ learning within scholarly communities.
Two other papers were highly commended. In Vol. 3 No. 1, from American authors, Julie Posselt and Kim Black, “Developing the research identities and aspirations of first-generation college students: Evidence from the McNair scholars program”, offered a rare insight into undergraduate students’ researcher development. Also highly commended, “A participative research for learning methodology on education doctoral training programmes”, co-authored by Paul and Irene Garland from the UK’s Sheffield Hallam University, examined doctoral students’ trajectories in order to shed light on their development as and into researchers. With the rigorous review process ensuring that all papers published in the International Journal for Researcher Development are of a high quality, competition was stiff and choosing the winner and runners-up was extremely difficult.
Two of the journal’s 2012 reviewers – Drs Sheila Trahar (University of Bristol, UK) and Valerie Farnsworth (University of Leeds, UK) – were recognised as having made outstanding contributions. Selecting those reviewers who, in the opinion of the editorial board, merit Emerald Literati outstanding reviewer awards is always a very difficult task; the journal is fortunate in being able to draw upon the services of a wide range of excellent reviewers representing Europe, Australasia, North America and Asia, who consistently give their time freely to provide extremely helpful expert advice. What distinguished these two reviewers’ efforts were the attention to detail that was evident in their reviews, together with the considerable length of time each must clearly have devoted to the task, not only to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the papers under review, but also to point the authors towards foci that served to enhance their work.
The editorial board sends its warmest congratulations to all of the Emerald Literati worthy winners and runners-up.
Reviewing journal submissions must so often seem a thankless task, but when it is done well it is an invaluable resource to editors and editorial boards. Yet how do researchers and academics learn how to review – and, in particular, how to review well? This is the focus of the first paper in this issue. Brian Paltridge’s “Learning to review submissions to peer reviewed journals: How do they do it?” examines a much neglected researcher development topic, for it is often in reviewing papers that early career researchers – and, sometimes, senior academics – pick up ideas for improving their own writing for publication. Peer review is consensually accepted within all disciplinary research communities as an inherently flawed process, but one of the indispensable cornerstones of academic life, and I, for one, would like to see much more attention paid to consideration of how, as an integral component of research and researching, it may be developed and enhanced. It is a key researcher development issue.
In the second paper Elaine Walsh, Katie Anders and Sally Hancock, from Imperial College, London, examine the development of creativity in STEM researchers, presenting and discussing the findings of a study that sought the views of PhD students, research staff and senior researchers, with a view to considering how researchers’ creativity may better be developed. The third paper – a British-North American collaboration – focuses on doctoral graduates’ transitions from PhD student status to initial careers. In “Constructing post-PhD careers: negotiating opportunities and personal goals”, Lynn McAlpine, Cheryl Amundsen and Gill Turner present findings from their longitudinal study of researchers’ development into employment. The final paper – the second of two contributions from Australia – is a conceptual one. Alistair McCulloch examines the metaphors applied to researchers’ development as doctoral students, arguing that, rather than being referred to as a journey – as frequently occurs – doctoral study should more appropriately be considered a quest.
This issue of the International Journal for Researcher Development incorporates wide international authorship, with the UK, Canada and Australia represented. Substantively, it offers coverage of wide-ranging researcher development-related issues: peer reviewing; creativity in research; researcher-to-employee transitions; and metaphors for describing doctoral researcher development. I hope this marks the beginning of a trend in relation to the repertoire of topics examined in the journal, for researcher development is about so much more than how doctoral students and research staff develop – it includes, for example, consideration of academics’ career-long development as researchers, and conceptual issues that expand our thinking and perspectives. Although I have decided to resign from my editorship, I hope the journal will receive increasingly diverse submissions, representing a wide spread of cultural contexts, examining complex issues and ideas that all have a bearing on how we, as a research community, may better work together to develop our colleagues, our students, and ourselves as and into researchers.
I have very much enjoyed editing the International Journal for Researcher Development over the last three years, and I have been privileged to work with an excellent editorial board. My resignation marks a new phase for the journal, and I hope it will continue to go from strength to strength under a new editor.
Linda EvansSchool of Education, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK