by Iván Narváez
Every year the editorial board of the Paterson Review of International Affairs (NPSIA’s student-run academic journal publishing the work of graduate students) makes a trip down to the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University to help in editing their Journal of Public and International Affairs, as well as to learn some tricks of the trade to bring back to the Paterson Review. This year, I was fortunate enough to be a part of this trip and it turned out to be one of the highlights of my entire NPSIA experience.
First things first, a little about the Paterson Review. As I just mentioned, the Paterson Review is a scholarly journal run by students at NPSIA. It publishes articles on a broad array of issues in international affairs; from development, to trade, to national security. Published annually since 2000, it is one of the few journals that focuses exclusively on the work of graduate students and (as far as I know) the only one in Canada that is expert reviewed. It is also the longest-running graduate student journal of its kind in Canada. Similar to the focus of many NPSIA courses, past editorial boards have sought to publish articles with more immediate policy relevance. Nevertheless, theory-focused contributions have always been welcomed! All of this is simply to say, the Paterson Review is an attempt by NPSIA students to showcase the best work graduate students in international affairs from around the globe are doing every year.
As you might imagine, a significant part of putting together an academic journal such as the Paterson Review is sorting through all the submissions you receive and narrowing them all down to the final eight to be published. This is a labour-intensive process, so the Princeton Journal of Public and International Affairs (as with the Paterson Review) enlists the help of blind-reviewers to read, evaluate, and re-read all the papers that have been submitted. As it has worked out, the Princetonians go through their blind review process not long after we’ve selected our new editorial board for the next edition of the Paterson Review.
It has become an annual tradition for the new editorial board of the Paterson Review (along with the editors of a wide range of graduate student journals from other Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs [APSIA] schools)* to head down to Princeton every February to help out as blind-reviewers. This provides the new board with an excellent opportunity to learn about the editorial process of an academic journal, get some hands on experience evaluating student submissions, and maybe get some ideas on how they’d like to run the Paterson Review (not to mention meet some very interesting people from around the globe!).
The two days of near constant reading and evaluating culminates with all the contributing editors gathered around one table to hash out the final cuts and decide which papers will ultimately be published. For me, this was probably the most enjoyable part of the whole process. Not only did we get to stop staring at our computer screens and begin to do something more social, we also learned a lot about the other papers circulating that we may not have had a chance to read. It was also great to learn more about everyone’s unique backgrounds, experiences, and research interests as they gave their opinions on the different articles they read.
All told, this was definitely a once in a lifetime experience that I won’t soon forget. At this point I think I would be way out of line if I didn’t thank the people who made this happen: Sarah and Greg, as well as the rest of the Princeton editorial staff for putting together the whole weekend, including the great meals, arranging our accommodations, and organizing the various social events that took place after we were done editing for the day; NPSIA (and Norean especially) for supporting our trip financially and helping out the Paterson Review however possible; and Shawna and Fred for being great travel companions. I hope (but am sure) that next year’s board has at least as much fun as we did!
For more information check out these links:
Journal of Public and International Affairs: http://www.princeton.edu/jpia/
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs: http://wws.princeton.edu/
Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs: http://www.apsia.org/
Norman Paterson School of International Affairs: http://www1.carleton.ca/npsia/
* The other APSIA schools represented this year were: American University, Columbia, Denver University, George Washington University, Georgetown, the Graduate Institute (Geneva), Harvard, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), the London School of Economics, Syracuse University, Texas A&M, Tufts Fletcher School, University of California at San Diego, University of Michigan, University of Pittsburgh, University of Southern California, and Yale.