For over 30 years, I have been actively involved in exciting school students about science and natural history, leading to the establishment of The Darwin Centre in Wales. This has had a huge impact on science education in Pembrokeshire, and has led to many students carrying out projects, attending workshops, and being stimulated by field trips, such as the Great Millennium Glow-worm hunt. Yet there is no vehicle for them to publish their projects and experiences. Nor is there a way they can get positive feedback, and have evidence for their CV that they have benefited from such experiences. So we have set up an International journal called The Young Darwinian to achieve this.
The primary aim of this journal is to provide an inspiring vehicle, catalysing students to carry out projects and to publish their own work, ideas and experiences. These experiences will include natural history and engineering observations, field trips, and visits to museums, science centres and companies. Further aims are:
- To provide students with constructive feedback from experts.
- To link students together internationally, and with mentors.
- To help students with their career development.
- To give teachers and students ideas, to help them work with the curriculum more creatively.
- To give teachers the opportunity to learn about student projects in other schools and Universities.
- To enable students and teachers to learn how the education system works in countries other than their own.
- To give students access to mentors and information about entrepreneurship, and the private sector, in science and engineering.
- Development of student skills in writing and communication
- Lifelong curiosity and interest in students about natural history, science and engineering.
- Major impact on student CVs.
- Development of student careers.
The journal will include items based on:
Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Ecology, Evolution, Natural History, Biomedicine, Material Science, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Space and Astronomy, Maths for Science, Science and the arts, Field trips, Entrepreneurship, Public Engagement, Museums, Science Centres, and Festivals. There will be annual prizes for the best student articles in various categories. Students will write the majority of the articles. Articles will include student projects, outcomes of field trips, summaries of meetings, science centres, and science festivals attended, ideas, and debates. The topics can be in natural history, science, maths, engineering, and entrepreneurship.
Research projects will be structured on the DISI model, which will be explained in detail on the web site, which will be operational soon:
Discovery – what have you found out, and why did you carry this out in the first place?
Invention – what methodology and technology have you used to carry out the project, or has arisen from it?
Scholarship – what analysis, or reading, have you carried out that adds to you project?
Impact – what effect has your project had on you, and what impact could it have on science or engineering, medicine, the environment, the economy, or education as a whole?
Articles must be written by the students themselves, though help from teachers and/or a mentor is encouraged, and should be acknowledged. The length of each article will be up to about 500 words, with no more that 2 Tables and Figures, though the length is discretionary. The article can end with a bibliography, with no more than 15 references. Any financial or other support should be acknowledged, and any conflicts of interest declared. Full guidelines will be available on the web site. Articles will be distributed as a physical journal and on a digital platform.
An International Editorial and Advisory Board has already been set up, representing 14 countries, including several in Europe, USA, India, Pakistan, Singapore and Australia. The tasks for the Board involve:
- Reviewing submitted articles, and giving positive feedback, which would be published with the article.
- Acting as a virtual mentor for student projects.
- Finding students to write articles.
- Giving us ideas and advising on journal as a whole.
The journal will free as open access on line, and will be funded through advertising. I am funding it myself at present.
We are excited about this project, and aim to launch the first issue on line in January 2017. We need articles as soon as possible. So if you have contacts with students, please encourage them to send them to us via email, and then via the web site once this is operational.
With best wishes
Anthony K Campbell, Editor in Chief
Honorary Professor, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University and Scientific Director of the Darwin Centre, Pembrokeshire.