We are writing to solicit your input on the merits of adding an Education/Teaching section to the new peer-reviewed online journal microPublication Biology. Additionally, we are seeking to assess the level of interest in submitting an education research article, to serving as a reviewer, and to serving as Science Officer for the Education/Teaching section if it comes into being.
microPublication Biology is a new entrant to the emerging genre of rapidly-published research communications. Such journals aim to transform science publication by publishing single, validated results that include novel findings, negative and/or reproduced results, and results that are perceived to lack high impact. Each article of a microPublication Biology journal is peer-reviewed, assigned a DOI, and published online as HTML and PDF. microPublication Biology differs from other journals in this space such as Science Matters and BMC Research Notes, in the Biological Sciences for example, because of a strong collaboration with community-directed authoritative databases, e.g., WormBase, FlyBase, TAIR. While this might not be immediately relevant to a Biology Education Research focus, research results contained in microPublication Biology science research articles are curated and, upon publication, are deposited to and integrated in model organism community databases. As such, microPublication journals short circuit the publication-to-database process, placing new findings directly into information discovery spaces. You can read more about microPublication Biologyhere.
The rationale for adding an Education/Teaching research section to microPublication Biology is broad. Model organisms are often used as teaching tools and examples and provide clear, tractable systems with which to introduce students to scientific content and process skills. As interest in evidence-based teaching strategies increases, there are more and more data being collected on student outcomes in response to inclusive teaching strategies, course-based research experiences (CUREs), and student-centered activities. As with any scientific endeavor, incremental progress, repetition, negative results, and novel approaches are all part of the process. A microPublication Biology section dedicated to education research would be a place to report high-quality, single figure reports on student outcomes in response to novel or established (but newly implemented) interventions or curricula. We anticipate that many instructors and faculty (especially, but not exclusively) at primarily undergraduate institutions would find microPublication Biology to be an ideal venue to disseminate successful practices and protocols, find new teaching ideas, and avoid pitfalls or time-sinks in the classroom. Moreover, researchers at all institutions could use this resource for finding ideas for outreach, teaching, and bringing their own research into the classroom.
Possible scope/types of research to include under and Education/Section include:
Qualitative findings on student attitudes towards science using model systems (in lecture or lab).
Pre-post survey results following an in-class intervention.
Skills gained following laboratory coursework/curricula.
Content knowledge increased using model systems as teaching tools.
Established protocols used in classroom settings (for example, cloning CRISPR constructs in a laboratory course)
Using validated surveys or concept inventories to measure success or outcomes following specifically model-systems-based teaching.
Student outcomes or career choices following a laboratory course.
Using model organisms to increase/enhance inclusive teaching practices.
Please send us your feedback and suggestions about a proposed Education/Teaching section in microPublication Biology. Additionally, if an Education/Teaching section is added, please also let us know if you might be interested in:
1. Submitting an education research article (information in Addendum, below)
2. Serving as a reviewer (description of responsibilities in Addendum)
3. Serving as Science Officer (description of responsibilities in Addendum)
We look forward to hearing your views on this proposal and your interest in being involved with this project. This message is also included as a Word Doc, attached.
Lina Dahlberg, Associate Professor of Biology, Western Washington University
Jim Lissemore, Professor of Biology, John Carroll University
1. Current policies for articles submitted to and published by microPublication Biology. These policies would be revised as needed to reflect education research.
Criteria for Publication
Submit a Publication
Information for Authors
2. Serving as a reviewer
Reviewers must have experience with scholarly publication, i.e. they have authored at least two or three published peer-reviewed research articles. Review authors are encouraged to be openly acknowledged. Visit Information for Reviewers for more details.
3. Science Officer duties:
The Science Officer (SO) will be well-established and regarded in their field with a broad knowledge of the research/focus of their colleagues, in this case the scholarship of teaching and learning, and with a strong interest in the success of the microPublication Biology journal. The SO is tasked with using their knowledge of their colleagues’ work to be able to quickly identify potential reviewers for each article, in some cases, multiple reviewers. The duties of the SO are as follows:
Assess submitted articles for meeting publication standards
Select a reviewer or approve any author suggested reviewer
Give final article approval/rejection after reviews and revisions