Participating in the Scientific Publication Process: Exploring How Pre-college Students Perceive Publication within the Scientific Enterprise

Scientists spend a substantial amount of their time engaging with the primary literature: reading, constructing, reviewing and revising it. Yet, the role of primary literature is generally absent from the development of scientific inquiry skills in the pre-college science classroom, thus undermining a true understanding of what it means to do science. In this study, we examined middle and high school student perceptions of scientific inquiry and the role of disciplinary literacy practices after engaging in scientific review and publication of their research papers. We interviewed twelve students who published their papers in the Journal of Emerging Investigators, a science journal dedicated to publishing the research of middle and high school students. Students acknowledged the important roles that effective communication, scientific review, and revision played in their research projects. Further, after engaging with professional scientists through the scientific review process, students expressed increased confidence and belonging as a scientist. However, students primarily viewed the writing and publication processes as personal endpoints for their projects rather than an integral part of all stages of scientific inquiry and knowledge construction. If students are to develop an understanding of how reading, writing, and peer-review are critical pieces of doing science, then our work suggests that disciplinary literacy practices should be explicitly discussed and included in all parts of the research process. While not all students will be motivated to publish their research, our work has important implications for integrating disciplinary literacy practices into student scientific inquiry.

Fankhauser, S. C., Reid, G., Mirzoyan, G., Meaders, C., & Ho-Shing, O. (2021). Participating in the scientific publication process: exploring how pre-college students perceive publication within the scientific enterprise. Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research, 3(4).