MLFTC journals thrive in a bleak year


Stephanie McBride-Schreiner

Note: Stephanie McBride-Schreiner, scholarly communications publications manager at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, reflects on MLFTC's journals in this submitted column.

Despite the difficulties surrounding this unprecedented year, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College’s open access journals rose to the challenge. Education Policy Analysis Archives published a record number of articles and received a record number of submissions, while Education Review published balanced reviews of books on education and inspiring essays of acquired wisdom by distinguished educational researchers. Just as impressive, Current Issues in Education enlisted a new editorial team that successfully relaunched the student-run journal in the midst of the quarantine.

These achievements by the entire community — editorial teams, editorial board members, authors, reviewers and readers — were made in spite of, and in light of 2020. The journals remain important pipelines for rigorous, relevant and inclusive education scholarship, as well as scholarly platforms facilitating communications by much-needed voices in support of diversity, equity and social justice within education. Check out other highlights from the journals this year.

Open access and equity

In 2020, the MLFTC journals collectively produced 260 publications, all at no cost to readers or authors. Led by Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, EPAA’s articles and commentaries and video commentaries are published in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Also publishing in three languages with a team led by Gustavo Fischman, “EdRev” published an impressive listing of essays and book reviews. With a new team of capable and dynamic international student editors, led by doctoral student Marina Basu, and faculty advisors Leigh Graves Wolf and Josephine Marsh, CIE made a splash on the open access scene with the publication of three issues. Together, the journal’s articles had more than 1.1 million page views during 2020.

Collaboration and diversity 

In a year of Zoom meetings and virtual conferences, MLFTC’s journals fostered global connections. EPAA’s editorial team represents six countries, and in 2020, the journal added new editors in Latin America, North America and Spain. EdRev’s team worked with reviewers in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States to share book reviews with its global audience. With Associação Nacional de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa em Educação, Brazil’s counterpart to the American Educational Research Association, EdRev hosted the "Pequenos Grandes Livros/ Small Great Books" tribute. This year, CIE published articles by authors from the U.S., Chile and Taiwan, and received submissions from around the globe covering a range of topics and contexts such as Bangladesh, Canada, Ethiopia, Uruguay and United Arab Emirates.

Innovation and inclusiveness

In 2020, EPAA articles covered cutting-edge topics, including special issues on policies and practices in teacher evaluation, management of compulsory public education, work issues in higher education, social network analysis of education policy, and Indigenous education and knowledge. EdRev reviewers grappled with a range of education topics — charter schools, homeschooling, anti-racist pedagogy and practice, and more — within the context of COVID-19 and anti-racist protests.

This year, CIE’s trailblazing special issue, “Shaping the Future of Learning in the Digital Age” (Part 1 and Part 2), led by guest editors Sean Leahy, Samantha Becker, Ben Scragg and Kim Curtin, brought together a diverse set of authors who are thinking about, researching, designing and creating the futures of learning. CIE also developed innovative methods (review-a-thons and student-run workshops) to help emerging scholars learn the craft of reviewing.

Impact and quality

The No. 3 in education policy journals overall and No. 1 in open access education policy journals, according to Google Scholar, EPAA was awarded the Directory of Open Access Journals Seal for best practice in open access publishing. Making good on its Statement on Impact, EPAA published works by emerging scholars, junior faculty and leaders in their respective fields. EdRev attracted reviews by leading authors including Gene Glass, David Berliner, Sherman Dorn, Michael Apple and Tina Trujillo. Acquired wisdom editors Sonia Nieto, Frederick Erickson and Phil Winne also recruited authors who shared wise words and lessons on humility, connections, persistence, openness, learning and inner strength during a bleak and socially isolated year.

Education research and scholarship must continue, and if we have learned anything from 2020, it is that education is as important now as it ever was. Equitable access to education, quality learning experiences for all students, informed and mindful educational leaders and leadership, and ethical and effective education policies — these can and must be tackled through evidence-based research and partnerships between scholars, practitioners, policymakers and the general public. MLFTC’s journals play a critical role in disseminating this research and facilitating connections in an equitable and accessible way (without paywalls). If they thrived in 2020, it will be exciting to see how the journals rise to the occasion in 2021.

Learn more about our journals: 

Education Policy Analysis Archives

Education Review

Current Issues in Education

Questions? Contact Stephanie McBride-Schreiner.