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Science Journal Publishes Inaugural Issue

By Caleb O. Shelburne, Crimson Staff Writer

The International Collegiate Science Journal, a collaborative publication bringing together material from multiple schools, released its inaugural issue this March after more than a year of preparation.

Formed cooperatively by representatives from several undergraduate science journals, including the Harvard Science Review, the first issue of the ICSJ features material from nine different publications in online and print versions, which will be distributed on Harvard’s campus Wednesday.

Alexandra E. Rojek ’15, former co-president of the Harvard Science Review and one of the ICSJ co-founders, said the project aims to bring science to a wider audience.

“If you have some incredible finding you have to be good at communicating it – [but] not only for a very technical science article,” she said. “For that science to actually have a real impact you have to be able to communicate with people that aren’t involved in that field.”

Stephen Y. Cognetta, a senior at Princeton University and another co-founder of the ICSJ, said science is too often seen as limited to specialists.

“[We] imagine people tinkering in a lab in a basement… with things that we don’t really care about,” he said. “These are the people that are curing cancer or inventing new technologies, and it’s sad that we don’t care about them.”

Cognetta said he started emailing leaders of several other undergraduate science journals in January 2014 about the potential for a collaborative project.

“At first I didn’t have a clear plan—just a group that would talk together and figure out what we could do,” he said.

The students, communicating over email or in monthly video chats, decided to create a joint publication highlighting the best material from each of their respective journals.

According to Rojek, the ICSJ currently has a non-hierarchical leadership structure.

“We don’t have an editor-in-chief or any [other] formal titles,” she said. “[We] kind of all found our own roles.”

Princeton representatives spearheaded a successful Kickstarter campaign for the publication last spring, Rice University’s team helped lead the design process, and Rojek coordinated the editing process over the summer.

While the lack of a hierarchy permitted each school’s publication to bring their strengths to the publication, at times it made the process more difficult, said Julia Zhao, a senior at Rice.

However, a constitution that is currently in the final stages of approval by the member schools will bring a more formal structure with an editor-in-chief, director of design, and other specific roles to the organization next year, she said.

Several members of the ICSJ said that next steps for the organization include incorporating other schools into the ICSJ.

“I want every university to have a science journal that is in the ICSJ,” said Cognetta.

–Staff writer Caleb O. Shelburne can be reached at caleb.shelburne@thecrimson.com. Follow him on twitter @caleboshelburne.

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