FIVE academic journal open to CUC

By Megan Petersen ‘15Copy Editor

Claremont Undergraduate Consortium (CUC) students now have the opportunity to publish their academic writing in “FIVE,” a new journal publishing undergraduate work, sponsored by the Claremont Colleges Library.

The journal, which is available exclusively online, premiered last semester and featured six papers whose topics ranged from French history to determinism and free will. Though essays from Pomona students dominated those published, essays from students of all class years (freshman through senior) made the cut. A Scripps student, Dana Shaker (‘14), had her essay “Uniting to Win: What Special Olympics Fandom Can Teach Us” published. Gale Burrow, a librarian and the assistant director for educational services, said that the six essays were selected from around 40 that were submitted.

Burrow said that the idea for the journal stemmed from the philosophy that libraries are not only a place where people come to get information, but also a place that can “create an outlet for the use of that information.” Burrow, who is a managing editor of the journal along with fellow librarians Allegra Gonzales and Alexandra Chappell, said that the library began planning for the journal last fall, working closely with the campuses’ writing centers.

“Undergraduate work has just been kind of discounted” traditionally, said Gonzales, adding that she thinks the journal gives students a tool to think of themselves in a new space. “They have an opportunity to affect change beyond the colleges,” she said. “They have a voice.”

Scripps College Writing Center director Glenn Simshaw served on the editorial board for the last issue of “FIVE,” and said that he supported the project because he feels committed to working with student academic writing. Simshaw hopes that students will take the opportunity to read scholarly works written by their friends. “I hope students will be inspired by the breadth of subject matter and by the sophistication and grace of the writing … and gain courage to submit their own work.”

Burrow said that major challenges the journal faced were coming up with a name and working with citation issues. Because they often write papers to be read only by their professor, students are generally unaware that they need to get permission to use certain kinds of sources, graphics, and pictures, among other things. “Not only do you cite the thing, you actually have to get permission to have these things online and open,” Gonzales said. “It’s very different from an essay published on paper and left on somebody’s desk.”

Additionally, Burrow said reviewers ran into issues with context. “A lot of these papers … are written as assignments for classes. … Sometimes the paper wasn’t really understandable if you didn’t know what the assignment was,” she said.

Students have been heavily involved throughout the process. Burrow said Emily Miner (PO ’12), the student editor for “FIVE,” did a lot of advertising, which may explain Pomona’s heavy representation in the first issue [Ed note 10/11: we did not mean to suggest bias toward Pomona on part of the "Five" review or editorial boards, only that the journal may have been been better known on the Pomona campus and therefore received more submissions from Pomona College students.]. All submissions are read by a review board, which, Burrow said, is composed almost entirely of undergraduate students, and then sent to an editorial board consisting of a librarian, a faculty member, and an undergraduate student for the final decision.

Burrow noted that all of the essays show up on Google Scholar, and Gonzales said in an email that all but one of the published essays have been downloaded more than 100 times since the journal went live on June 25. The most popular essay, “She’s Got the Power” by Tim Reynolds (PO ’15), has been downloaded over 300 times.

Submissions to “FIVE” for the fall 2012 issue closed last weekend, but students should watch for the journal’s release in the coming months, and should consider preparing essays for the issue next semester. For more information on “FIVE” and to read the latest issue, visit scholarship.claremont.edu/five.