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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

Our Commitment to Scholarly Publishing

The National Resource Center is committed to publishing high-quality resources for scholars and practitioners in the first-year experience and students in transition fields. To that end, all manuscripts are subjected to editorial or peer review prior to acceptance for publication.

Code of Ethics

The core commitments that guide the larger work of the National Resource Center inform our approach as a small academic press. In particular, three of these values are central to our publishing efforts:

  • A commitment to draw connections between research and practice. We believe that good practice in higher education must rely upon a foundation of high-quality research. In turn, good research draws from and informs practices in our field. As such, the work of the National Resource Center advances and supports both scholarly practice and applied research.
  • Efforts to build an inclusive network of education professionals. We strive to create a supportive and professional environment where diverse viewpoints are recognized and considered in the ongoing dialogue on student transitions.
  • Opportunities for lifelong learning. We support a climate of intellectual curiosity and provide the tools and media to pursue professional development and an ongoing process of inquiry, exploration, creativity, and discovery.

This page outlines the ways we enact these values in each of our major publication streams and highlights the responsibilities of the National Resource Center and its collaborators in producing high-quality scholarship for the first-year experience and students in transition fields.1

The Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition provides current research on the first college year and other significant student transitions. Reports of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods studies will be considered for publication. The Journal does not publish manuscripts describing program evaluations or assessments.

Submitted manuscripts undergo initial review by the editor to determine that they meet the aims and scope of the journal. Manuscripts clearing this hurdle are forwarded to three review board members (one of whom will have related methodological expertise) for a double-blind review process. Members of the editorial review board hold advanced degrees (Ph.D. or equivalent required); have a minimum of five years’ experience in higher education; are affiliated with an accredited college or university; and have expertise in quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods research design and analysis. The National Resource Center is committed to fostering diverse representation on the editorial review board, with respect to institutional role and type, methodological and topical areas of expertise, and identity areas.

Expectations for Editors

Publication decisions. The editor is responsible for deciding which of the manuscripts submitted to the journal will be published. The editor will evaluate manuscripts without regard to the authors' race/ethnicity, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, religious belief, national origin, citizenship, or political philosophy. The decision will be based on the merits of the manuscript including importance; originality; clarity; validity, credibility, transferability, and dependability of findings; and relevance to the journal's scope. Current legal requirements regarding libel, copyright infringement, and plagiarism will also be considered. Authors can expect that initial disposition on manuscripts will be made within three (3) months of submission.

Confidentiality. The editor and editorial staff of the National Resource Center will not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, and other editorial advisors, as appropriate.

Disclosure and conflicts of interest. Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript will not be used by the editor, the members of the editorial board, or the staff of the National Resource Center for their own research purposes without the author's explicit written consent.

Internal submissions. Manuscripts submitted by staff members of the National Resource Center, its fellows, or current advisory board members will undergo the same editorial review process as other manuscripts submitted to the journal and will be subject to the same criteria for evaluation. To maintain objectivity within the review and disposition process, a guest editor from among the current members of the editorial review board will be assigned to manage these manuscript submissions.

Expectations for Authors

Originality, plagiarism, and acknowledgement of sources. Authors will submit only entirely original works and will appropriately cite or quote the work and/or words of others, including their own prior publications. Publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work should also be cited.

Reporting standards. Authors of original research reports should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as a methodologically appropriate interpretation of its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately in the manuscript. The manuscript should contain sufficient detail and references to establish trustworthiness, validity, and reliability of the findings. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable.

Data access and retention. Authors could be asked to provide the raw data of their study together with the manuscript for editorial review if questions about discrepancies in the data arise during the review process. In any event, authors should ensure accessibility of such data to other competent professionals for a period of time consistent with professional and legal standards of practice (preferably via an institutional or subject-based data repository or other data center), provided that the confidentiality of the participants can be protected and legal rights concerning proprietary data do not preclude their release.

Ethical research practices. Educational research frequently involves work with human subjects. Authors should acknowledge they have gone through the appropriate Institutional Review Board(s) or regulatory body approval process for the study reported in their manuscript both within the cover letter accompanying the manuscript and the manuscript itself.

Authorship of the manuscript. Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. The corresponding author ensures that all contributing co-authors and no uninvolved persons are included in the author list. The corresponding author will also verify that all co-authors have approved the final version of the manuscript and have agreed to its submission for publication. Individuals who contributed to the manuscript in a meaningful way but who fall short of the requirements for authorship may be listed in a separate acknowledgement.

Multiple, redundant, or concurrent publication. In general, manuscripts describing essentially the same research should not be published in more than one journal. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. Manuscripts which have been published as copyrighted material elsewhere cannot be submitted. In addition, manuscripts under review by the journal should not be simultaneously submitted for review to other copyrighted publications.

Disclosure and conflicts of interest. All authors should include a statement disclosing any financial or other substantive conflicts of interest that may be construed to influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript. All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed.

Inclusive language. Authors should refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (latest edition) for guidance on avoiding bias in their writing. In accordance with our commitment to inclusion, the National Resource Center believes “it is unacceptable to use constructions that might imply prejudicial beliefs or perpetuate biased assumptions against persons on the basis of age, disability, gender, … racial or ethnic identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or some combination of other personal factors (e.g., marital status, immigration status, religion). Instead, authors should use affirming and inclusive language” (APA, 2019, p. 131). For example, first-year student rather than freshman should be used to describe a student in the first year of postsecondary study.

Fundamental errors in published works. When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in their own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher and to cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the manuscript in the form of an erratum.

Expectations for Review Board Members

Contribution to editorial decisions. The peer-review process assists the editor in making disposition decisions. Reviewers provide clear, specific, and actionable feedback to help author(s) improve the manuscript, regardless of the specific recommendation for editorial disposition.

Response to invitations to review. All editorial board members have been appointed based on a minimum level of experience within the student transition field. Reviewers may be invited to review manuscripts that do not align with their methodological areas of expertise. Any selected referee may exercise the right to withdraw from the review of a manuscript for cause, including conflict of interest or commitment, concerns about their methodological qualifications, or timeline.

Confidentiality. Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be disclosed to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor.

Standards of objectivity. The journal seeks to publish high-quality manuscripts relying on a range of empirical methods by authors situated in a variety of personal and institutional contexts. To support these goals, reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Reviewers should clearly express constructive feedback with supporting arguments.

Acknowledgement of sources. Reviewers should identify cases in which relevant published work referred to in the manuscript has not been cited in the reference section. They should point out whether observations or arguments derived from other publications are accompanied by the respective source. Reviewers will notify the editor of any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published manuscript of which they have personal knowledge.

Disclosure and conflict of interest. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts for which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, institutions, or organizations associated with the manuscript.

E-Source for College Transitions is a resource for practical strategies that support student learning and success. Articles on a variety of topics including those focusing on a broad range of college transition issues; innovative and creative strategies to support student learning, development, and success; organizational structures and institutional resources for supporting college success; and reviews of books and other resources supporting the work of student success practitioners.

Submitted manuscripts undergo an initial review by the editor to determine that they meet the aims and scope of E-Source. Manuscripts clearing this hurdle are forwarded to three review board members. Given that manuscripts frequently focus on specific examples of institutional practice, a double-blind review process is not feasible. Instead, manuscripts moved forward in the review pipeline undergo a single-blind review process (i.e., review board members are unknown to the author[s]).

Members of the editorial review board hold advanced degrees, have a minimum of two years' experience working on college student transition issues within a higher education setting, are affiliated with an accredited college or university, and have strong writing and editorial skills. The National Resource Center is committed to fostering diverse representation on the editorial review board, with respect to institutional role and type, topical areas of expertise, and personal characteristics.

Expectations for Editors

Publication decisions. The editor is responsible for deciding which of the manuscripts submitted to E-Source will be published. The editor will evaluate manuscripts without regard to the authors' race/ethnicity, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, religious belief, national origin, citizenship, or political philosophy. The decision will be based on the merits of the manuscript, including importance, originality, clarity, and relevance to the publication's scope. Current legal requirements regarding libel, copyright infringement, and plagiarism will also be considered. Authors can expect that initial disposition on manuscripts will be made within two (2) months of submission.

Confidentiality. The editor and editorial staff of the National Resource Center will not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, and other editorial advisers, as appropriate.

Disclosure and conflicts of interest. Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript will not be used by the editor, the members of the editorial board, or the staff of the National Resource Center for their own research purposes without the author's explicit written consent.

Expectations for Authors

Originality, plagiarism, and acknowledgement of sources. Authors will submit only entirely original works and will appropriately cite or quote the work and/or words of others, including their own prior publications. Publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work should also be cited.

Ethical research practices. In some cases, manuscripts submitted to E-Source may report on institutional research. Authors should affirm that they followed their institutional policies with respect to the collection and reporting of program assessment data (e.g., IRB approval) within the cover letter accompanying the manuscript.

Authorship of the manuscript. Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the writing or revision of the manuscript under consideration. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. The corresponding author ensures that all contributing co-authors and no uninvolved persons are included in the author list. The corresponding author will also verify that all co-authors have approved the final version of the manuscript and have agreed to its submission for publication. Individuals who contributed to the manuscript in a meaningful way but who fall short of the requirements for authorship may be listed in a separate acknowledgement.

Multiple, redundant, or concurrent publication. In general, authors should avoid submitting manuscripts describing a student success practice with essentially the same structure and assessment data for consideration for publication in more than one journal at a time. Such behavior constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. Manuscripts that have been published as copyrighted material elsewhere cannot be submitted. In addition, manuscripts under review by E-Source should not be simultaneously submitted for review to other copyrighted publications.

Inclusive language. Authors should refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (latest edition) for guidance on avoiding bias in their writing. In accordance with our commitment to inclusion, the National Resource Center believes “it is unacceptable to use constructions that might imply prejudicial beliefs or perpetuate biased assumptions against persons on the basis of age, disability, gender, … racial or ethnic identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or some combination of other personal factors (e.g., marital status, immigration status, religion). Instead, authors should use affirming and inclusive language” (APA, 2019, p. 131). For example, first-year student rather than freshman should be used to describe a student in the first year of postsecondary study.

Fundamental errors in published works. When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in their own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the editor or publisher and to cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the manuscript in the form of an erratum.

Expectations for Review Board Members

Contribution to editorial decisions. The peer-review process assists the editor in making disposition decisions. Reviewers provide clear, specific, and actionable feedback to help author(s) improve the manuscript, regardless of the specific recommendation for editorial disposition.

Promptness. The editor requests that manuscript reviews be completed within three (3) weeks of accepting the invitation to review. Any reviewer who is unable to complete an assignment within the allotted time should notify the editor promptly and request to withdraw from the review process.

Confidentiality. Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be disclosed to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor.

Standards of objectivity. E-Source seeks to publish high-quality manuscripts reporting on a range of student success initiatives by authors situated in a variety of personal and institutional contexts. To support these goals, reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Reviewers should clearly express constructive feedback with supporting arguments.

Acknowledgement of sources. Reviewers should point out whether observations or arguments derived from other publications have been appropriately cited. Reviewers will notify the editor of any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published manuscript of which they have personal knowledge.

Disclosure and conflict of interest. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, institutions, or organizations associated with the manuscript.

The Toolbox's primary purpose is to provide practical strategies for improving teaching and learning. Articles on a variety of topics related to classroom instruction are welcome, including those focusing on faculty–student relationships, principles and practices of effective course design, active-learning strategies for face-to-face venues, applications of digital technology to face-to-face and online venues, alternative strategies to assess student learning, and strategies and techniques for meeting the learning needs of diverse student populations. The Toolbox does not publish product endorsements, textbook reviews, pure theory or opinion pieces, or articles without practical application. Submitted manuscripts undergo editorial review.

Expectations for Editors

Publication decisions. The editor is responsible for deciding which of the manuscripts submitted to The Toolbox will be published. The editor will evaluate manuscripts without regard to the authors' race/ethnicity, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, religious belief, national origin, citizenship, or political philosophy. The decision will be based on the merits of the manuscript including importance, originality, clarity, and relevance to the publication’s scope. Current legal requirements regarding libel, copyright infringement, and plagiarism will also be considered. Authors can expect that initial disposition on manuscripts will be made within two (2) months of submission.

Confidentiality. The editor and editorial staff of the National Resource Center will not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, and other editorial advisors, as appropriate.

Disclosure and conflicts of interest. Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript will not be used by the editor or the staff of the National Resource Center for their own research purposes without the author's explicit written consent.

Expectations for Authors

Originality, plagiarism, and acknowledgement of sources. Authors will submit only entirely original works and will appropriately cite or quote the work and/or words of others, including their own prior publications. Publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work should also be cited.

Authorship of the manuscript. Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the writing or revision of the manuscript under consideration. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. The corresponding author ensures that all contributing co-authors and no uninvolved persons are included in the author list. The corresponding author will also verify that all co-authors have approved the final version of the manuscript and have agreed to its submission for publication. Individuals who contributed to the manuscript in a meaningful way but who fall short of the requirements for authorship may be listed in a separate acknowledgement.

Multiple, redundant, or concurrent publication. In general, manuscripts describing a student success practice providing essentially the same structure and assessment data should not be published in more than one journal. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. Manuscripts that have been published as copyrighted material elsewhere cannot be submitted. In addition, manuscripts under review by E-Source should not be simultaneously submitted for review to other copyrighted publications.

Inclusive language. Authors should refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (latest edition) for guidance on avoiding bias in their writing. In accordance with our commitment to inclusion, the National Resource Center believes “it is unacceptable to use constructions that might imply prejudicial beliefs or perpetuate biased assumptions against persons on the basis of age, disability, gender, … racial or ethnic identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or some combination of other personal factors (e.g., marital status, immigration status, religion). Instead, authors should use affirming and inclusive language” (APA, 2019, p. 131). For example, first-year student rather than freshman should be used to describe a student in the first year of postsecondary study.

Fundamental errors in published works. When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in their own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the editor or publisher and to cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the manuscript in form of an erratum.

Proposals and full-length manuscripts for all book-length publications undergo external review (single-blind process). In addition, content editors (on selected projects) and the editorial staff of the National Resource Center review and offer feedback on all book-length manuscripts in the publishing pipeline.


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