About UCL Open Access Student Journals

The University College London (UCL) offers a free service to UCL students who wish to run an open access journal.  This service is operated by UCL Press, which provides the tools for students to independently manage and publish a fully open access journal, free of charge.  

As part of the innovative Connected Curriculum, UCL encourages all students to make connections with researchers and other students, undertake research activity and create original output.  UCL student journals offer students the experience of managing and publishing their work in a credible open access peer reviewed journal, gaining skills that will prove invaluable in their future careers.

Each student journal is supported by a corresponding UCL faculty, who provide subject specialist support for content and peer review, and by UCL Press, who provide on-going publishing support, education about content publication, running and planning a journal publication, and succession planning at the end of the academic year.  All student journals are peer-reviewed and the content is licenced under a creative commons CC-BY 4.0 licence.  UCL student journals do not charge publication fees.

Managing a student journal

Each student journal is typically managed and produced by UCL postgraduate student editors, although Bioscience Horizons is produced and managed by undergraduate students (see the journal website for more information); these editors are typically in place for one academic year, working to produce a new issue each academic year, followed by new appointed student editors in the next academic year.  Each student journal has their own processes to manage handover.  

Student editors undertake the creation and publication of open access journals, gaining valuable academic writing, editing and publishing experience, while also achieving greater visibility and impact for their department, their discipline and their own research.  It is the task of the student editors to plan, manage, produce and market an issue each academic year for publication.  

UCL Press supports student editors by maintaining a journal publishing platform and provides advice and guidance to student editors on a range of issues, including training in using systems, advising on copyright, provides article registration (Digital Object Identifiers – DOIs), and guidance with publishing and succession planning.  Each journal is in turn supported by a UCL faculty or department to provide subject expertise and support concerning content and peer review, usually with named academic staff members invited onto the student journals advisory board.

Appointment of Student Editors and Student Editorial Boards 

Applications for roles are usually sent to the supporting faculty, attaching their CV and covering letter as to what role they are applying for and why they would like to join.

The Student Editor(s) role takes overall management and coordination or the student journal and is usually appointed by application to the faculty before the beginning of the new academic year.  

The Student Editor(s) then usually leads the appointment the Editorial Board based on their judgement and support by faculty, as to which candidate’s CV fits the requirements for taking up a certain role.  Roles may be assigned imaginatively or according to the expressed interest.  Examples of some proposed roles have previously been: General or Section Editors, Peer Review Editors, Managing Editors, PR/Comms Manager, Copyeditor and Typesetter.


Each student journal operates uniquely according to its subject and scope, purpose, and size of team.  Generally, student editorship terms usually run from October to September.  New editors and editorial boards are established at the beginning of each new term, either via an interview process by supporting faculty academic staff, or on a sign up basis.  Student editors then undertake the publication of an issue(s) during their term.  A rough guide to this process can be as follows:

  1. Send out a Call for Papers;
  2. Peer Review Editors should start researching suitable reviewers within the subject;
  3. First phase of editing is simply to determine whether submissions are fit for purpose;
  4. Second phase of editing is to send for peer review;
  5. On the basis of what peer reviewers suggest, decide as a Board on what should be published and make a decision – to request revisions, accept for publication, or reject;
  6. Inform authors of your decision;
  7. Once accepted, send Contributor Licence Agreement for publication.  Begin copy edit/typesetting and prepare articles for publication;
  8. Student editors write an executive editorial for the issue (Faculty supporters have also provided a Faculty editorial about the issue and efforts);
  9. Publish and potentially have a launch event.