THE UBC JOURNAL OF POLITICAL STUDIES
The Journal of Political Studies is one of the longest-running and most highly regarded undergraduate research journals in the country. We are proud to be entirely student-run, from our editorial board to our graphic designers. The JPS is published by the UBC Political Science Student Association in partnership with the UBC Department of Political Science, and we have been in print for the past 20 years.
Each year we publish the best undergraduate political science papers by current UBC students. We publish papers that span a wide variety of subfields which include Canadian and US politics, international relations, political theory and comparative politics. Papers are selected on the basis of originality of research, conceptual innovation, topicality of subject matter, and overall quality of writing.
The Journal is a fantastic chance to gain formal experience in academic publishing, and students keen to take part in and learn from a rigorous peer-reviewed editing process are highly encouraged to contact us using the contact form on this website.
The Editing Process
After the submissions deadline has passed, the JPS Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor organize all the submissions. We eliminate the ones that are too long, and then anonymize the remaining papers, removing any information about the author. This ensures the process is “blind” and fair.
Next, we divide the papers equally to give to the editing groups. Each editing group contains 3 - 4 editors who have received JPS training in substantive, style, and copy editing, and who are knowledgeable about different subfields. The editors read the papers individually, and then meet in their small editing groups to discuss the merits of papers. Editors then submit feedback about each paper and bring forward a proposal to the Editorial Board Meeting for which papers they feel should be cut, and which should be kept.
In the initial round of editing, editorial teams think about the big picture. They determine which papers to cut and keep based on the arguments and conclusions. They ask - is this argument logical? Do the conclusions follow from the findings? Does the author understand the theories or literature they are using?
At the editorial meeting, each group explains the rationale for the papers they would like to cut and keep. The cut papers are then eliminated, and the papers are redistributed so that each group gets a new set of papers for the second round.
In the second round of editing, the editorial teams are trying to eliminate the ‘good’ papers in the interest of the ‘great’ papers. They are trying to determine a short list of papers worth publishing? They ask - is this a strong and original argument? Is the research thorough and interesting? Are the findings relevant to political and academic debates? Is the paper well-written, and could be made eloquent with edits?
At the second editorial meeting, the groups again explain which papers they would like to cut and keep. As multiple groups have now read the same papers, there is debate between individuals that disagree on whether papers should stay or go. Because the editorial team is now compiling a short list, the editors need to make tough decisions about which papers truly constitute the best of UBC’s undergraduate work. In the editing groups and at the full editorial board meeting, the editors try to pick a selection of papers that encompasses a broad range of sub-fields and topics. One of the major considerations at this stage is whether the paper is likely to pass faculty review and be considered an original argument by the reviewer. We leave the meeting with a short-list of around 15 papers, having also determined which editors will be one-on-one editing each paper.
Faculty Review and One-on-One Round
At this point the papers are sent to faculty, who review the papers and send their comments back to the Editor-in-Chief. Authors are also paired with editors who work one-on-one with them to help them incorporate the comments that editing groups had when reviewing the papers. The author’s name is revealed but only to their one-on-one editor (they remain anonymous to the wider editorial board). For some authors, the one-on-one editing round includes conducting further research to fill gaps in their argument. For others, it just entails some stylistic changes. Authors have the final review on all changes or additions to their paper
After the one-on-one edits are complete, the papers are sent out to the editors, who review all of the papers before the third and final editorial meeting. At the meeting, the one-on-one editor explains the changes that resulted from the process and we discuss each paper extensively. The results of faculty review are also revealed. By secret ballot, editors vote on which papers they feel should be published. Papers which do not have a clear majority are then discussed further and then a vote is called again.
We ultimately leave the meeting with a set of 8 - 12 papers to be published. At this point, the author of each paper is revealed. Papers are then copy-edited and then sent to our graphic designers for publication.