Interview with Entomology Graduate Student Peter Meng on Publishing in JIPM
By Richard Levine
As an entomology graduate student at Penn State University, Peter Meng co-authored an article on the Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) that was published in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management (JIPM). JIPM is an open-access, peer-reviewed, extension journal that is intended to help farmers, growers, and others implement IPM practices. The journal is multidisciplinary in scope, publishing articles in all pest-management disciplines — not just entomology — including nematology, plant pathology, weed science, and other subject areas.
Peter studied the chemical ecology of the Asian longhorned beetle, and some of that time was spent in Harbin, China, where he tested lures in the beetle’s native range. I recently interviewed him about the experience he had while publishing in JIPM, with the hope that this interview will encourage other graduate students to do the same.
Dr. Kevin L. Steffey, one of the editors-in-chief, often encourages graduate students to turn the work they’ve already done into a JIPM article.
“You know that literature review you write to begin your thesis or dissertation?” he asks. “Put it to work by modifying it as a ‘Profiles’ manuscript for JIPM. You’ve done the work, so let it work for you.”
“If your research is pest-oriented, then JIPM is an excellent refereed journal to publish a mini-review of the literature,” said Dr. Marlin E. Rice, the other editor-in-chief.
RL: What made you decide to publish in JIPM?
PM: One of my committee members, Dr. Melody Keena, received an invitation to publish in JIPM. Since I was already writing a literature review for my thesis, publishing in JIPM was a great way to share a comprehensive overview of what is known about ALB. The beetle is native to China, and there has been a lot of research already conducted on this insect. Publishing in JIPM gave me an opportunity to share articles that American researchers would have a difficult time obtaining. I spent a lot of time in China obtaining articles from Chinese journals.
On a side note, I really appreciate how JIPM is open-access. This makes articles published in JIPM readily accessible to researchers across the globe. I’ve been extremely lucky to have conducted research at large academic institutions that have access to most journals. This is not the case at many small colleges and foreign universities.
RL: What was the publishing process like?
PM: The publishing process was pretty standard, like other scientific journals. After revising draft versions of the article with my adviser and committee members, we sent the manuscript to JIPM. A few months later, JIPM returned the article to us with suggested revisions. We made the revisions and resubmitted the manuscript.
RL: Has this experience positively contributed to your future goals? If so, how?
PM: Publishing in JIPM has not directly contributed to my goals. The publication and writing process, however, does help you organize your thoughts about a subject and forces you to compile findings succinctly. Graduate students read a lot of papers in order to gain a solid understanding of a topic. Publishing in JIPM gave me a place to share what I’ve learned about ALB with others.
RL: Any advice to other students for submitting papers to publish?
PM: This applies more to authors who study invasive insects and insects with a global significance. Entomology issues continue to reach across borders. I really encourage authors to try and find important, relevant articles that are published in foreign journals. There are a lot of articles that are not indexed in traditional databases, and you really have to go digging to find them. After digging through the Chinese literature, I identified several new ALB host tree species.
RL: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
PM: I really enjoy writing, but this isn’t necessarily the case with every graduate student I know. Applying for grants and submitting journal articles is a great way to organize your thoughts and improve your writing. Even if you don’t receive the grant, it’s great to have a concise, up to date description of your research and proposed experiments.
Richard Levine is Communications Program Manager at the Entomological Society of America and editor of the Entomology Today Blog.