Introducing CJIM: Classroom Homework Becomes a Medical Journal for Student Researchers, by Student Researchers
Three years ago, a small group of UNC medical school students came together to create the Carolina Journal of Interdisciplinary Medicine. With their first issue under their belt, the company has grown to include a faculty council and over 100 additional students. And they are not over yet.
CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina – Outstanding. It is the word most often used to describe the group of students at the head of the Carolina Journal of Interdisciplinary Medicine (CJIM), a student-run, faculty-advised online publication based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The first issue came out in August, making it one of the few student-run medical journals across the country, and all the more unique as it aims to publish student research in a wide variety of professional health science programs.
“I think we have one of the best health science campuses in the country,” said William Bennett, fourth-year medical student and co-editor of CJIM. “I saw the creation of this journal as an opportunity to connect students from the different programs of our strong health sciences campus. “
Bennett came up with the idea at the start of his University Concentration Program in Medical Education, in which students are tasked with completing a project during their four years of medical school that evaluates the program or creates a new program. After getting several classmates to buy into the idea, they introduced it to their teachers.
“I thought it was a very innovative and entrepreneurial idea,” said Kurt Gilliland, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology at UNC and associate dean for the study program. “I saw no reason why they couldn’t do it. So they started to create a platform for the newspaper.
Bennett and his co-founders, Demitra Canoutas, Trevor Parton and Bryan Dobbs had extensive publishing experience and used the knowledge they had to start ticking off one must-have journal at a time – signing up to Crossref to that their published articles would be searchable, purchasing the rights on a website platform from the Public Knowledge Project’s open journals system (which they initially funded themselves), researching and creating policies that they would need to apply, and deciding on a double blind strategy for their peer review process.
Then, to help them in their next steps, they assembled a Faculty Advisory Council. Board members include Gilliland and her co-director of the University Concentration Program in Medical Education, Gary Beck Dallaghan, PhD, director of scholarships in the Office of Medical Education; Evan Dellon, MD, MPH, professor in the Department of Medicine at UNC; Stephen Tilley, MD, UNC SOM alumnus and associate professor in the UNC Department of Medicine; and Maria E. Diaz-Gonzalez de Ferris, MD, MPH, PhD, professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UNC. Together, they guided CJIM’s co-founders, giving them the knowledge and direction they needed for their business.
“I have been guest editor of several issues of scientific journals, reviewer of scientific journals and published scientific articles,” said Ferris. “I have also been an academic advisor to academia since 1988, and I feel fortunate to see this group of exceptional students come up with such a creative idea. I am fortunate to be part of such a team.
But there were some unexpected challenges along the way, mostly in the form of tech logistics.
“The technology was a bigger challenge than we thought,” said Parton, fourth-year medical student and CJIM co-editor. “We had to learn a lot more about web development and the software we use for editing and final production. Composition and formatting have also become a big hurdle in the publishing process.
But the group found a way forward by bringing in Taruni Santanam, a second-year medical student, to fill the role of chief design officer, and Seth Alexander, a fourth-year medical student, to fill the position. director of development. The pair led efforts to design article layouts, evaluate typesetting services, and acquire the additional funding needed to fund a number of unforeseen costs in CJIMinaugural production run of.
“I really don’t believe we could have produced volume 1 without Taruni and Seth,” Bennett said. “Their work and its impact cannot be overstated. “
Another obstacle would be finding students to do peer review. Initially, the co-founders organized an event at a student activities fair to generate interest, which prompted some reaction. An invitation to a meeting of interest sent through an email distribution list really got the ball rolling. Today, they have over 100 SOM students involved in their peer review process and hope to involve students from other health science schools at UNC.
The first issue of CJIM features submissions from UNC SOM students on a range of topics, giving these students the chance not only to publish research, but also to gain a deeper understanding of the entire peer review process.
“The peer review process was amazing,” Bennett said. “All of our reviewers submitted excellent reports on time. The editors did a great job compiling them and sending them back to the authors. And we’ve really tried to work with all the authors to help them sort their research and present it fairly and accurately.
CJIMThe co-founders of want the journal to be a place for student research that would not otherwise be published by larger media. It’s a place for small studies, for zero results, and for discoveries that may not be so new but still point to strong research skills. It’s a home for interesting summaries that would normally only end up in a class paper or on a bulletin board. And it’s not just for UNC students. It is open to graduate health science students from the United States and Canada. With a foundation for the newspaper in place, the next challenge for the co-founders is to keep it going.
“Now they must continue their efforts,” said Gilliland. “They have to make sure that those who follow them at UNC, and maybe other medical schools, can keep this alive and keep it going. We have volume 1. I hope there will be volumes 10 and 50 someday.
“We hope this will be part of the process of higher health science education for many students in the years to come,” said Canoutas, fourth-year medical student and editor-in-chief of CJIM. “Our goal is that this journal, in addition to providing students with a place to publish their work, provides them with experience of the publishing process both as authors and as reviewers, editors or in leadership positions. . “
The co-founders set the stage for other students to take over after graduation. And of course, they will keep an eye on their creation wherever their training and career takes them.
“My dream is for CJIM live as an institution perpetuated by future classes of students in all health sciences, ”said Dobbs, a fourth-year medical student who is also pursuing a master’s degree in public health and a CJIM editor-in-chief. “I hope to be able to access our website in 10 years and see people in medicine, dental care, pharmacy, public health and more working with the journal and publishing their work.”
If you would like to submit a research for publication, you can make a quote here. If you would like to become a peer reviewer or otherwise support the journal, contact William bennett Where Trevor Parton.