The Journal of Special Education Preparation (JOSEP), a new open access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal, was launched at Ball State University with the publishing of its inaugural issue in summer 2021. Founded and edited by Andy Marklez, Assistant Professor of Special Education at Ball State University, the journal shares research-to-practice information and materials for special education faculty in higher education settings across the globe, emphasizing evidence-based instructional strategies, technologies, procedures, and techniques to prepare special education teachers and leaders.
JOSEP is published through a partnership between Marklez and Ball State University Libraries, whose Office of Digital Research and Publishing provides collaborative services for campus faculty and students to develop and manage open access journals locally. Through use of the Open Journal Systems platform, University Libraries is currently managing and publishing 9 open access titles edited by University affiliates.
By launching JOSEP, Marklez is addressing a crucial information need to improve educational experiences and outcomes for special education teachers and learners with disabilities globally. “Special education faculty across the country (and world) are preparing special educators to implement evidence-based practices to positively effect student outcomes, yet to date, there has not been a medium for faculty to learn and implement best practices for their own courses and student teaching experiences,” states Marklez. “The Journal of Special Education Preparation allows researchers to present evidence-based practices in teacher preparation in a user-friendly format.”
As an open access journal, JOSEP provides access to the scholarly articles included in its issues at no cost to all readers and researchers. The journal is fully funded through Ball State University Libraries, meaning that no article processing charges or publication fees are required of publishing authors.
This model of open accessibility seeks to overcome information access barriers faced by under-resourced populations and is closely aligned with the journal’s mission to elevate special education outcomes globally. When comparing traditional subscription models to open access publishing, Marklez explains, “the library subscription model excludes so many potential readers as smaller universities cannot afford to subscribe to all relevant journals. JOSEP is for all special education faculty (including international faculty) and [open access publishing] allows that to be a reality.”
Micah Gjeltema, the Open Content and Digital Publishing Librarian at Ball State University Libraries, serves as the production director for the journal, managing the publishing workflows that allow the journal’s articles to be freely accessible online and easily discoverable for researchers and practitioners. “Open Access encourages broader scholarly progress by eliminating the financial barriers that limit knowledge creation, as individuals and institutions who might not otherwise be able to afford database access can engage with relevant scholarship and go on to contribute to the academic conversation through their own works,” states Gjeltema, affirming the value of the journal’s publishing model. “This is particularly important for the promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion, not only within our university and communities but also internationally.”
The Libraries’ use of the Open Journal Systems platform has been especially useful in facilitating dissemination and discovery of the journal’s content. As Gjeltema explains, “[the] platform allows for a clean, accessible web presence for readers to access and download articles and issues while also offering a back-end where journal editors can accept journal submissions and guide them through the publishing process from initial peer review to final publication.”
With the inaugural issue now online, JOSEP is currently preparing a special issue on diversity, equity, and inclusion in teacher preparation scheduled for a December 2021 release. “The response from the teacher education community has been extremely positive,” reports Marklez, when discussing the journal’s initial reception. “Numerous people have reached out to me expressing their excitement for this journal and the need that it is fulfilling.”
Interested readers may learn more about the journal and freely access the full text of all JOSEP articles by visiting: https://openjournals.bsu.edu/JOSEP