For professional scientists and academics, scientific journals are a key tool for sharing knowledge and advancing research. Throughout their careers, scientists spend endless hours reading and contributing to articles published in these journals.
Now, we’re inviting Maine students to take part in this tradition by contributing to Findings from the Field — a new journal of original scientific research by Maine middle schoolers. The goal of Findings, launched in 2017, is to provide an opportunity for students to experience the full scope of the scientific process. After conducting their research, students can now submit for peer review and publication, just like professional scientists do when they seek to publish their work.
In the first year, roughly 200 students from eight schools participated in Findings. In total, the students submitted 67 articles and completed more than 100 peer reviews. In June, we published six articles in Volume 1 of Findings from the Field, and we are currently accepting submissions for Volume 2.
In addition to publishing the journal, our education team is focused on supporting teachers as they embed scientific investigations into their classrooms. More than 20 Maine teachers participated in workshops or professional development centered on Findings in the Field.
“A student mentioned that I am always talking about ‘peer-reviewed’ sources for their research, but they had no idea what peer-reviewed really meant,” one teacher told us. “They could now see that a scientist would submit to other scientists (their ‘peers’) and be put through rigorous paces in order to be published.”