The Antoninus Journal was born out of the legacies of two previous long-running journals of the University of Santo Tomas Graduate School (USTGS): the UST Journal of Graduate Research and Ad Veritatem. In 2014, then Graduate School Dean Prof. Marilu R. Madrunio, PhD, spearheaded the reconfiguration of Ad Veritatem into The Antoninus Journal (TAJ). This was upon the encouragement of then USTGS Regent, Rev. Fr. Jose Antonio A. Aureada, O.P., S.Th.D. who held research with such high esteem that he considered the hosting of a research journal by the Graduate School as the expression of the institution’s deep commitment to its research agenda. The idea was to revitalize the identity of the journal as a venue for multidisciplinary graduate-level scholarship; to implement a more rigorous refereeing process; to craft standards for publication ethics that would be appropriate to the journal’s focus, scope and objectives; and, to have the journal eventually accredited by the Philippine Commission on Higher Education and by international indexing systems.
Corollary to the reconfiguring of the old journal was its renaming into The Antoninus Journal, after St. Antoninus of Florence (1389-1459), the patron saint of the Graduate School. St. Antoninus of Florence who became Bishop of Florence was also an astute moral theologian known for his participation in a number of Church councils including the Council of Florence. The multifaceted engagements he pursued in his lifetime, as his biography has revealed, parallel the character of the UST Graduate School as a multidisciplinary college. Likewise, the said Antoninian virtue parallels the then envisioned identity of The Antoninus Journal as a platform for a healthy dialogue between and among the disciplines. As the Graduate School journal of a four hundred year old-university, it is at the forefront of the project of confronting the challenges posed by the segmentation of knowledge and the pluralism that characterize the mindscapes of the twenty-first century.
The first editor of The Antoninus Journal, Prof. Joyce L. Arriola, PhD, was appointed in 2014, one year before the appointed schedule of the launch of the maiden issue. She was assisted by four Associate Editors representing the major clusters of disciplines covered by the journal’s trajectory of scholarship, namely: Prof. Grecebio Jonathan D. Alejandro, Dr.rer.Nat. (Natural and Applied Sciences); Prof. Clarence M. Batan, PhD (Social Sciences); Prof. Allan B. De Guzman, PhD (Education); and, Prof. Paolo A. Bolaños, PhD (Arts and Humanities). Eventually two additional clusters of disciplines were joined to the core groupings: Business and Management disciplines and the Health Sciences. Said new clusters were to be represented eventually by Prof. Ma. Socorro P. Calara, PhD and Prof. Rowena L. Escolar-Chua, PhD. The original core editors were assisted by Language Editor Dr. Veronico Tarrayo and Editorial Assistant Mr. Angelo Brian T. Castro. Mr. Ry Sedrick V. Bolado designed the journal cover while Dr. Anna Cheryll M. Ramos designed the layout of the journal. An editorial office was dedicated to the journal at the second floor of the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex, side by side with the office of the Graduate School Ethics Review Board.
The year-long conceptualization stage was crucial in defining ever more emphatically the identity of the journal as a multidisciplinary journal, with the USTGS hosting more than 60 degree programs across the natural and applied sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities, education, health sciences and business and management. Among the key aspects of the editorial policy that have been sharpened and polished during the preparatory stage were the following: 1) the types of scholarly materials that the journal will cater to by clarifying the working definition of the following types of submissions: Research Articles, Theoretical and Critical essays, Review Papers and Book Reviews ; 2) the language, format and style in which the submissions should be written; 3) the ethical policy and its implementing guidelines; and 4) the evaluation criteria and procedure that will be observed. On February 21, 2015, the maiden issue of The Antoninus Journal was launched during the program of the Second St. Antoninus Graduate Research Forum for Best Paper Presentation held at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex. As TAJ Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Arriola was invited to deliver the Inspirational Message titled “The Making of a Research University: My Thoughts on What Constitutes Graduate Scholarship.” After assessing the relevance of the said speech to graduate education in general, Fr. Aureada requested Dr. Arriola to re-read the said inspirational speech at the 49th Philippine Association for Graduate Education (PAGE) Annual National Convention held on February 16 to 19, 2016. It was delivered under the title “Graduate Research in the Context of ASEAN Integration.
After the delivery of the Inspirational Message at the Second St. Antoninus Graduate Research Forum in 2015, TAJ was officially launched. Dean Madrunio, Fr. Aureada and Dr. Arriola led the ceremonial giving of the token copies to the initial batch of contributors, to the editors, the editorial staff and key officials of the university. Both the 2015 issue and the 2016 issue of The Antoninus Journal came out in printed form.
The Antoninus Journal was propelled into the twenty-first century cyberspace/sphere when it launched its website and its first online version in 2017. By this time Prof. Rey Donne S. Papa, PhD, has succeeded Dr. Arriola as the Editor-in-Chief. During Dr. Papa’s editorship, several changes were effected on the editorial management processes of the journal. A number of graduate students and alumni joined the TAJ editorial staff to oversee the day-to-day operations of the journal. The work that the students rendered at the TAJ served as a viable training ground for them - as they took to seriously pursue the publication of their own graduate papers, theses and dissertations in reputable journals in the various disciplines. The said immersion in the management of scholarly publications also helped the students understand the value of academic research as the single most important fruit of graduate studies and how this could contribute to striking a viable link between academic research and applied research in the industry and the various professional spheres. From 2017 to 2019, the issues of TAJ came out in both print and online editions.
In 2020, as the whole world confronted the scourge brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, TAJ released a special issue titled “Research and Scholarship during the COVID-19 Pandemic”, which became its first purely online issue. This volume featured 34 essays by authors from various disciplines and institutional affiliations. Coinciding with the release of said issue was the intensification of TAJ’s social media presence by installing a dedicated Facebook page. In 2021, the TAJ expanded the constitution of its Editorial Board membership by inviting renowned international scholars to its fold. It also brought onto a higher level its multidisciplinary identity by covering more disciplines and a wider array of themes and topics in every issue.
TAJ is emboldened to continue its mission to be a platform for the widespread dissemination of multidisciplinary, excellent, and relevant graduate research in the coming decades; inspired by the holistic and scholarly approach of St. Antoninus of Florence’s to human work and its managerial aspect. The Bishop of Florence who helped his people confront the scourge of the plague or the Black Death in the fourteenth century continues to shine upon the administration of the college which looks upon his esteemed patronage and upon the management of the journal named after him as well.
Joyce L. Arriola, Ph.D. and Rey Donne S. Papa, Ph.D. 22 March 2021