The experience in developing a student-led academic journal, the Lincoln Planning Review, to provide experiential learning that links undergraduates in a small professional planning programme directly to research publication is described. A combination of circumstances, including an impending review of the programme by the external professional body, provided the impetus for the project. From the outset, the intention was to directly link students across the learning cohorts with research while meeting a number of other objectives. Reflecting on the experience highlights the value of the journal as a framework to build confidence, critical thinking and research skills through developing a learning community that practices collaborative peer learning.