New journal gets young scholars ‘through the door’

Special to Western NewsStarted by Western Kinesiology PhD candidates Taylor McKee, Andrew Pettit and Jared Walters, The Journal of Emerging Sport Studies launched last fall for both emerging scholars and emerging perspectives in the field of sport scholarship. Visit its website at

In an environment often associated with ‘publish or perish’ pressures, emerging scholars face the highest barriers. In response, Western Kinesiology PhD candidates Taylor McKee, Andrew Pettit and Jared Walters recently took publication matters into their own hands with the launch of The Journal of Emerging Sport Studies.

Publishing one’s work is necessary to progressing as an academic, but it is costly, time-consuming and, in some instances, inherently prohibitive to individuals who are just starting their careers, McKee explained.

“Sometimes it’s just getting through the door,” he said.

“The open-access route is tough; the idea you should be paying to get your work out there is expensive for researchers who want to get their work in an accessible journal where it can be used quickly by (scholars) and people in communities with no journal subscriptions. So, we thought, why not just start publishing (a journal) ourselves?”

The Journal of Emerging Sport Studies is for both emerging scholars and emerging perspectives in the field of sport scholarship. As the landscape of sport and sport scholarship continues to change, the journal welcomes submissions from students and established scholars alike, from all academic disciplines and sport perspectives. It seeks to reinvigorate sport scholarship by publishing cutting-edge, open-access, inclusive, and academically rigorous manuscripts, distributed widely and without cost to authors.

“We are trying to make it easier for people in our position, grad students, new and emerging scholars, to get their first step into the door of publication,” Walters said.

Submissions for the first volume, published last fall, surprised the editorial team, he added, coming primarily from established and even emeritus professors.

Authors who submit can use their own referencing system, Pettit noted, and the ‘human’ element that comes from submitting to the newly minted journal, including a faster turnaround and faster-than-expected replies from sought expert reviewers, make the process all the more engaging. There’s no need to be a member of a society or association to submit.

“We want to serve people like us, first and foremost – emerging scholars in emerging sports scholarship. If you’re researching a non-mainstream topic, sometimes it’s tough to find a journal that will take you. And the journals usually have strict institutional boundaries,” McKee added.

The first volume of the journal features submissions that touch on sports psychology, Columbian bicycling, sports economics and analysis and even sport journalism.

“The turnaround (from submission to publication) was super surprising. We are used to months and months of checking back and seeing it’s still under review. If you’re waiting a full year just to get rejected, you could have submitted somewhere else,” said Western Kinesiology PhD candidate Sarah Deck whose co-authored paper on the effects of imagery and mindfulness on anxiety, confidence, mental well-being and performance in shotput throwers was published in the fall volume of the journal.

In between volume publications, the editors of the journal will feature a section called Emerging Discourses online, posing engaging questions related to sports and hosting an online conversation with industry professionals and academics who will write blurbs to answer questions on topics such as e-sports and the Olympic movement.