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New Student-led Journal Helping AUT Postgrads Find Their Publishing Feet

A first-of-its-kind, student-run journal has launched its inaugural issue at AUT and is on the lookout for new submissions from postgrad students.

The first issue of Rangahau Aranga: AUT Graduate Review, was posted online just before the mid-semester break, with over 40 abstracts sourced from the Graduate Research School’s 2021 student research symposium.

Speaking to Debate, AUT library's scholarly communications team leader Luqman Hayes says the initiative is intended to be studentled, after being conceived in late 2020.

“Through my work, I've been very conscious of the fact that postgrad, don't have many outlets for their initial research publication,” he says.

Hayes says there aren’t many places where students can get their work off the ground, as academia is a highly competitive area to start a career.

“We thought - we have the systems (Tuwhera) already in place for supporting open access publications, so why not set one up with support of the postgrads.” he says.

Hayes says he had been advising the students on the journal’s editorial team alongside other library, faculty, and graduate research school staff. Rangahau Aranga is a collaboration between the AUT library’s Tuwhera and AUTSA.

The journal’s first managing editor, Eliza Lyon, says the journal was a good starting point for students in the vast publishing world. Lyon is also AUTSA’s student representative coordinator.

“The key part of the kaupapa is that it's emerging researchers. So students that are wanting to get a place on the starting rung… It's giving them those skills to make the whole publishing world seem a little bit less intimidating and daunting.” She says.

While other student-led journals exist around the country, Hayes says Rangahu Aranga is unique as it’s multidisciplinary.

“We're encouraging people to submit creative pieces as well as academic ones. And even when it comes to the academic pieces, we could be talking about abstracts, or summaries of your research so far,” he says.

“But with this publication — you'll get a citation and a DOI, which is an electronic link for perpetuity, so that your work is recorded. You can also add it to your CV and your academic profile.”

Making a submission to the new journal is free and submissions are uploaded on a rolling basis. Lyon says she hoped the inaugural issue would be the start of a project that saw ongoing initiative from students.

“I hope that eventually we'll get to a point where they can keep rolling in, the word gets out, people come to us, they ask about the process, and I guess they take the initiative.”

She says the process of getting the project up and running had been a “humbling” one.

“I think it's definitely been quite insightful — because when you're in uni and you see the PDF, you read it, and you don't know about the process that goes on behind that. Seeing that, for me, I guess expanded my scope. I think it’s quite humbling as well, reading all the different abstracts and seeing the sheer range of research.”

Hayes says the project kicked into high-gear this year as the editorial team of 11 student volunteers compiled and formatted abstracts. While the publication isn’t looking for new editors, they are on the lookout for an artist or graphic designer to help spruce up the journal’s look.

Meanwhile, editorial team member Hazel Abraham says it was an opportunity that postgrads should take up.

Abraham had been a postgraduate candidate with Te Ipukarea Research Institute, and had worked on an abstract published in Rangahau Aranga on the impact that intergenerational cultural trauma has on Māori students.

“Don't be afraid, you don't need to know everything. That's what ako is — you’ve got your tuakana, the people who are more experienced,” she says.

Abraham says this is the first time she's been published, so students shouldn't be scared to put their work out there. "You don't have to know everything. The most important thing is to put your hand up and give it a go." she says.

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