EFPSA, JEPS and the Bulletin
EFPSA, JEPS and the Bulletin
Pedro Almeida & the JEPS Team
Within Europe there is a major international federation, currently uniting 32 individual national organizations of psychology students with approximately 250,000 student members in total - EFPSA. Behind this acronym that stands for The European Federation of Psychology Students' Associations is the tireless, voluntary effort of a multitude of students and associated professionals, coming from a variety of countries and backgrounds, serving psychology students since its establishment back in 1987. EFPSA further aims to contribute to society, improve psychology and to link professionals, academics and students alike.
One of the most important features of EFPSA is the diversity of services it runs: the annual Conference that brings together students, researchers and lecturers for a week of social and academic activity, offering students to join the Federation's structure. The
EFPSA European Summer School and the Junior Researcher Programme (JRP) -is an outstanding opportunity for students interested in doing science, which provides students with the chance to conduct an original research over 13 month internship under the supervision of a PhD student and present their work at the end of the programme. The summer schools are currently hosted by colleges at the University of Cambridge and further enriched by the guidance of RAND professionals. One of the most exciting services within this varied array is JEPS - the Journal of European Psychology Students, an international, double-blind peer-reviewed, open-access journal for psychology students worldwide; and its supplement - the JEPS Bulletin - a blog dedicated to academic writing, scientific publishing and honing essential research skills in the field of psychology.
JEPS was established back in 2009 with a mission to provide psychology students with the chance of having their original research undergo the extensive publishing process, receiving valuable feedback at every step of the way. This learning experience is unique for psychology students in the level of feedback it gives and the environment it creates - as an exclusive service they do not compete with already established academics. The process further sheds light on an often vaguely explored topic throughout the university curriculum - the realities of publishing inva peer-reviewed journal. The opportunities for the published student are wider, including a valuable mean of disseminating their work and thus connecting with other students and professionals with similar research interests, taking their first step in a scientific career and honing both research skills and interest in the world of science. Behind JEPS stand a team of highly motivated university students and a varied pool of professionals serving as associate editors and reviewers, coming from a multitude of countries, universities and research networks. These students cover a vast range of fields within psychology, thus ensuring that the original work students submit to JEPS can swiftly be paired with the appropriate peer-reviewers. Indeed it is important to note that JEPS has established its sound basis, a respectful reputation and the fact that it is ran by students does not in any way mean that the publication standards are lenient. Nevertheless, no matter the final decision it takes about a paper - the prospective authors can be ensured that they will walk away with some valuable experience that will sharpen their scientific thinking and broaden their understanding on how publishing in a journal works.
The Journal of European Psychology Students is supplemented by the biweekly JEPS Bulletin - a blog dedicated to academic writing, research, scientific publishing and discussions, all through the voice of psychology students for the use and benefit of fellow students. The Bulletin is over three years old and in that time has acquired a stable readership throughout Europe and beyond, with a monthly flow of over 4000 readers. Bulletin contributors write on topics that are both fascinating for them and helpful to the broad audience that they are sharing their knowledge, experience and opinions with. The Bulletin is constantly looking for new contributors with something to say and is happy to provide help, guidance and a stage for those who would like to take advantage of it. Even though JEPS and the JEPS Bulletin, just like the rest of EFPSA, are student-run voluntary organizations, the service they provide is reliable and the authors can expect the upmost responsibility and professionalism from the Journal staff.
Students are welcome to apply for a position within the team behind EFPSA or JEPS. The experience involves working for EFPSA in general and specifically for JEPS and is a beneficial and enlightening one for students. Every year JEPS refreshes its team with highly motivated people who get to learn and participate in the publishing process, guided by their more experienced fellow students in the team and the immediate alumni. Through their work for the Journal they build their skills, learn about and experience the process of publishing a peer-review journal first hand and develop and hone a sense of responsibility and high performance -essential skills needed for working in multinational team on a number of projects simultaneously. All of this happens within a supportive and active team and the major biannual meetings that the team participates in are as productive as they are enjoyable. Indeed most of JEPS team alumni are now PhD students and researchers in their own right. The time they've spent pushing the level of the Journal further and further up played a valuable and beneficial role in furthering their professional paths.
As a voluntary organization run for students by students, EFPSA invests great efforts in providing vast opportunities for experiencing academic growth. JEPS and its Bulletin are a continuation and fruition of these efforts, offering a chance for students to be recognized as researchers, to publish their work - be it a paper or a blog contribution - and find a broad audience, or to be involved with the publishing process from another viewpoint - that of publishers. It aims to create a connection between the world of professional academics, doing the invaluable work of associate editors or reviewers and students, thus contributing to the edification of the next generation of researchers in psychology and succeeds at giving the latter a chance to experience growth beyond the university halls.
This article originally appeared in News & Views March 2014.