Recently, a few UNB students have joined their passions for research and health to create an innovative and unique editorial right here in Atlantic Canada.
The Atlantic Student Research Journal (ASRJ) is student-run and peer-reviewed, and the journal’s mandate came from the reasoning that health is something that affects everyone and is found across all disciplines, allowing the journal to tackle a diverse range of topics.
“We were both interested in careers in the health-related fields and seeing we really enjoyed our science classes, something we were especially interested in was health-related research,” said Andrew Ward, co-founder and co-chair of the journal along with Jeremy Slayter.
“We couldn’t find a lot about what was happening in Atlantic Canada in terms of research on our own. That’s when we realized that there’s really an opportunity here to help students get engaged in research and get involved with the community.”
Slayter added, “We realized that there’s no real place that you could go to describe the research that’s going on just up the hill or at the [Institute of Biomedical Engineering] and why it’s important.”
“So we thought, wouldn’t it be really cool if we could talk about the importance of this research? That would make it applicable to people, so they can really understand and be proud of who they are and their university.”
Ward explained that he and Slayter shared a similar vision and immediately knew they wanted to make it a reality.
“In March of 2016, [Slayter] and I looked into other institutions that had somewhat similar ideas to us. They just had a few platforms where students talked about research discoveries. We kind of built upon that and built this business plan just using a Microsoft template. From there, we developed it and reached out to local entrepreneurs and researchers,” said Ward.
According to Ward, the meetings the pair had with local experts were beneficial in shaping their vision, which seeks to increase the conversation around health research in Atlantic Canada’s post-secondary institutions.
Slayter said that because all of their members are students at UNB Fredericton, the journal will focus primarily on research from that campus at first—but they’ll be seeking to expand in the long-term.
According to Slayter, the journal will emphasize communication and transparency with the researcher to ensure the content isn’t misleading.
“Our main goal of the articles is to is to show how research is important, what the research accomplished, how the research could impact you and the implications around it. We want to do that in a very factual and truthful way without extrapolating other information and without finding things that just aren’t there, which is sometimes done in popular media,” said Slayter.
Volunteers can choose their commitment level, with the possibility of becoming a team writer or simply writing the occasional article—which are usually editorial research reviews but can be interview-style pieces as well.
According to Daniel Hanscom, the journal’s editor-in-chief, teams will submit roughly two to four articles every month, and they hope to increase the amount of content as time goes on.
“Overall, we’ve received great responses. I don’t think I’ve heard of anything negative so far, when it comes to the journal,” said Hanscom. “People get excited that ‘this hasn’t been done before’ and throw any resources they have our way and try to help us out, so that’s great.”
Photo Credits: Jane Landry