JPER Writing Workshop Empowers Young Academics to Publish

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Georgia Tech’s School of City and Regional Planning (SCaRP) hosted the annual Journal of Planning Education and Research (JPER) Writing Workshop for early career planning scholars from August 7th to 9th.

Since 2012, SCaRP has been home to JPER, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning’s (ACSP) flagship academic journal.  Dr. Subhro Guhathakurta, the Director of Georgia Tech’s Center for GIS, and Dr. Nancey Green Leigh, Associate Dean for Research for Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture, serve as co-executive editors of JPER and will continue their tenure through 2016.  The JPER Writing Workshop aims to create networking opportunities for early career academics in the planning field, and help equip these scholars with greater knowledge of the publishing process and its relevance to career development.  The two day event has been held since the late 1990s and compliments the ACSP PhD Dissertation workshop.

This year’s JPER Writing Workshop included collaboration with Dr. Nisha Botchwey and Dr. Bruce Stiftel, chairperson of SCaRP. Dr. Stiftel enjoys a long relationship with both JPER and ACSP. He previously served as editor of JPER and president of ACSP. Participants of the workshop represented diverse academic backgrounds and came from the following institutions: Rice University, Auburn University, University of Michigan, NYU, UMASS, UNC, UC Irvine, University of Maryland, University of Florida, UNC-Charlotte, Kansas State University, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and University of Toronto.

The workshop participants began by submitting a manuscript for a mock double-blind peer-review to a mock journal editor. This is the process by which an academic article is sent to an anonymous reviewer who makes a recommendation on whether the manuscript is worthy of publication.  After reading the reviews, the mock journal editor composes a decision letter either to accept, accept with major revisions, revise and resubmit, or reject. Less than half of articles submitted to JPER are accepted for final publication, so learning about the publishing process from the inside can be crucial for young academics.  Comments in hand, this year’s crop of participants engaged in two intense days of discussion and article revision under SCaRP faculty’s mentorship.  All participants reported that the workshop benefited their research agenda’s and that they would recommend the experience to others.  Comments include that participants left “feeling empowered to write,” and that they benefited from “faculty willingness to answer any question.”

JPER’s Editors would like to thank the Georgia Tech Student Success Center for providing excellent facilities, as well as Highland Bakery for its work catering the workshop’s lunches, and the Peachtree Club for hosting a highly entertaining social for participants and faculty.  For those interested in participating in the 2014 edition of the JPER Writing Workshop, please contact Managing Editor, Luci Yamamoto (jper.editors@gmail.com). 

Article written by Thomas Douthat.