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Editorial: The Growth of Reinvention

by Alexander Freer, University of Warwick

The process of producing Reinvention has always been somewhat self-aware, and profitably so, we hope. Over the course of the four years in which the journal has been published, it has raised questions about the place of undergraduate research and, by extension, academic research in general. David Metcalfe, the founding Editor of this journal, is graduating this year and moving to London to practice as a junior doctor. With his departure comes the introduction of new staff, namely a new editor and three assistant editors (Ruth Simons, David Hall and Alison Wheatley); we hope that having a larger, interdisciplinary student team will allow us to consider further the support and opportunities for undergraduate research across our various fields.

Becoming involved with the journal at this stage of its life has required us to adapt quickly to a number of the challenges which academic publishing presents. There is the co-ordination of peer reviews from professionals, who, although very generous with their considerable expertise, sometimes originate from different sides of disciplinary and intra-disciplinary dividing lines, leading them to draw rather different conclusions about the same paper. Being sensitive to these wider theoretical and methodological debates remains an important and sometimes difficult task for both undergraduate researchers and editors.

Timing has been another critical issue: taking a manuscript from its first submission through the process of review, revision, sometimes a second stage of review, then to professional copy-editing and typesetting, all within a six-month cycle, can prove challenging. Because academics are generally expected to review papers in their own time, and there is also no teaching time in undergraduate courses allocated to the process of making revisions to previous work, timing is always likely to be difficult.

We try to support students in revising papers for publication, but learning to revise according to peer reviews for the first time, while working to a tight deadline, is likely to remain a challenge. It is, we hope, a useful supplement to the university system, in which those wishing to pursue graduate-level study are often assumed to have an innate competency in writing for publication, perhaps because it has become second-nature to those who teach graduate students.

While our principal aim will remain to publish rigorously reviewed, highly proficient research across all academic fields, we look forwards to undertaking new projects which will be possible now that we have a larger team. In the future we hope to feature academic book reviews in each issue; furthermore, we are planning to produce a printed collection of journal issues, in order to present a physical record of our authors' achievements.

In a period when research and citations have become the principal currency of the university, and questions are being raised about the future of funding in all public institutions, we remain committed to questioning the structure of research in relation to university teaching. Editorials in this journal have previously noted the dual purpose of this project to deliver the highest-quality research and to support the students who produce it. This is, of course, an analogue of the main purposes of the university, and in neither case are these dual commitments entirely without tension.

All aspects of becoming part of the Reinvention team have certainly been informative and rewarding, but above all, we are pleased to be able to introduce the contents of this issue, comprising papers from a wide range of areas. Several of our authors examine current models and practices in their fields: following fieldwork in Misiones Province, Argentina, Philip Riris (University of Exeter) considers archaeological patterns in the area and the Taquara/Itararé model in order to further the discussion of how emergent elites rose to power in early complex societies; Michael Yeung (University of Warwick) uses economic modelling to discuss the effects of the incentive structure of university library fines in 'Library Fines, Trust Games, and Reciprocity'. Medical practice is examined in a study of the routine screening, assessment, and treatment of depression for patients on the diabetes and / or coronary heart disease registers, presented by Anna Croxford (University of East Anglia). Our other papers interrogate academic and popular representation: Alfred Russel Wallace and his relationship with nineteenth-century Socialist Darwinism are the subject of an article by Ahren Lester (University of Southampton), and Hetty Frampton (Bath Spa University) contends with the subject of teenage pregnancy and the representation of the 'Chav' in British news media.

To cite this paper please use the following details: Freer, A. (2010), 'Editorial: The Growth of Reinvention', Reinvention: a Journal of Undergraduate Research, Volume 3, Issue 1, Date accessed [insert date]. If you cite this article or use it in any teaching or other related activities please let us know by e-mailing us at