UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries’ Open Publishing unit recently published the first issue of the Penn State Journal of Medicine. All of the content in the peer-reviewed journal is edited by medical students in the Penn State College of Medicine and published open access, meaning it is freely available under a Creative Commons license.
The journal’s mission is to provide “a means for publication of clinical and medical-based research completed by students enrolled at the Penn State College of Medicine,” as well as “an avenue for students to display their work on a peer-reviewed platform (and receive) the feedback they need to improve the quality of their work in a learning environment,” according to its mission statement.
“The goal in creating this journal has always been twofold,” said Adeel Ahmad, one of four College of Medicine students who serve as founding editors. “We wanted to create an avenue for students to publish peer-reviewed scientific works and, at the same time, develop an environment where our student population can learn firsthand about peer-reviewed clinical research.”
The Penn State Journal of Medicine marks the first medical student–run journal published by the College of Medicine as well as the first supported by the University Libraries’ Open Publishing program. All of the content is free to access and reuse, according to the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license used by the journal.
Having the content available without barriers was important for the journal editors, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when access to medical information has been more important than ever.
“In the developing stages of the journal, it was important to us that it be easily accessible to Penn State students and faculty as well as the greater scientific community,” said Rahul Gupta, another founding editor. “At its core, we believe it can and should be used as a tool for medical education.”
“We’re proud to support such an important publication, and especially proud to publish it open-access,” said Ally Laird, open publishing program coordinator at the University Libraries. “We look forward to seeing its impact on medicine and for students in the College of Medicine.”
Arshjot Khokhar and Anuj Mehta complete the team of founding editors for the journal, which is advised by Ira Ropson, assistant dean for medical student research at the College of Medicine.
“If we have learned anything from this experience, it’s that we can learn so much from our fellow classmates,” said Mehta. “In the first issue alone, we learned about topics ranging from rare neurological disorders to aspects of residency training. It’s the reason we created this journal in the first place — we wanted to hear what our peers were working on. We hope we can continue this exchange of information with submissions that inspire future classes of medical students.”
“We hope the journal brings a shared academic connection between our students and the rest of the faculty serving this institution,” said Khokar. “Our goal is for it to be an enduring establishment that allows our students to push the boundaries of innovative and scholarly scientific discoveries.”
The Penn State Journal of Medicine is accepting submissions until May 1 for the second issue, to be published in September. Visit the website for more information about the journal and the submission and peer-review processes.
Libraries Open Publishing, the University Libraries’ Open Access imprint, is a unit within the Research Informatics and Publishing department. Libraries Open Publishing provides tools and support for Penn State-affiliated authors and groups to publish full-featured electronic scholarly journals, searchable annotated bibliographies, monographs and topical web portals using a variety of digital platforms. All publications are free to view online and download. Copyright is retained by the individual authors, where possible, or by the journals or sponsoring entity. Almost all are licensed for use under a Creative Commons license.