Collaboration is a cornerstone of JALT activities, and the same goes for SIGs. While many people often think of collaboration within a SIG, there is an ever-growing amount of collaboration between SIGs as well as among SIGs, chapters, or other groups. This year, the SIG Focus column would like to highlight SIG collaboration in all its forms. Please feel free to contribute or suggest ideas by emailing us at email@example.com.
First formed in 1999, the more than 35 current volunteers of the JALT Writers’ Peer Support Group (PSG) (https://jalt-publications.org/psg) provide peer revision and support to authors looking for assistance in improving their papers for publication. Since its start, the PSG has helped more than 50 authors and reviewed more than 100 papers. As of 2021, the PSG became an official JALT committee, a change that will hopefully increase exposure and help reach a wider audience.
Peer Reading for Content, Clarity, and Organization
Publishing is an important way to share research and ideas and can be a key part of a successful job hunt. However, the writing process can be very frustrating and time-consuming, and many authors find themselves struggling on their own to revise and rewrite for publication. With a mission statement of “to collaboratively assist writers in working through the writing process in order to develop their manuscripts to a (hopefully) publishable level,” the PSG’s goal is to help writers successfully navigate that process. PSG peer readers provide feedback on the paper’s organization and on areas that can use more development, more research, or possibly less information.
The PSG Process
Once an author has contacted the PSG via the contact page (https://jalt-publications.org/contact), the PSG Coordinator will get in touch with them to discuss their needs, goals, and deadlines as well as any other required or relevant information. The paper should also be submitted as a Google Doc to facilitate the revision process. The PSG Coordinator will then prepare all the materials in Google Drive and put out a call for PSG peer reader volunteers. Two PSG peer readers will separately review the paper, and each will provide feedback and comments directly on the Google Doc(s), which will be shared with the author. If the author wishes to discuss the feedback with the PSG readers, an arrangement must be made between the author and the peer readers; however, the PSG Coordinator can facilitate the process.
Writers’ Workshop Column in TLT
Since May and June, 2015, the PSG and its volunteers have been participating (on and off) in the writing of the Writers’ Workshop Column (see page 36 in this issue). The column provides discussion and advice on writing for publication and other related topics, such as publication opportunities and updates to the APA guidelines. Past columns can be accessed in TLT archives. They are excellent reading if we do say so ourselves!
Benefits of Becoming a PSG Volunteer
“Good writers are good readers.”
As a volunteer with the PSG, you not only help other authors, but gain valuable experience while reading and editing the writing of others—skills that need daily practice. You can also learn about new ideas and areas of research both in and out of your own field of expertise. Finally, it is an excellent chance to meet other curious people and to network professionally.
There are no minimum requirements to become a PSG volunteer—just the willingness to help. We are happy to provide guidance and unofficial training for those with limited experience in peer revision before they take on the full responsibility of reviewing a paper.
Peer readers volunteer to read papers based on their availability and interest in the topics. There is no required minimum participation.
If you are interested in joining the PSG or having your paper reviewed, or if you have any questions, please contact us via the PSG contact page (https://jalt-publications.org/contact).