New journal to publish undergrad research

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By Paul Mayne
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Given the competitive environment for undergraduate students preparing for a professional or graduate school, finding a way to stand out is important.
 
 
“A lot of undergraduates nowadays are looking for research placements and trying to get a leg up on their competitors,” says Vinay Garg, a third-year Health Sciences student. “It’s all about being competitive nowadays.”
 
Enter the Western Undergraduate Research Journal (WURJ): Health and Natural Sciences, a student-run open access, peer-reviewed and faculty-reviewed online journal that publishes original research, review articles and research progress reports within the fields of Biology, Chemistry and the Health Sciences.
 
“It’s the sort of journal you would expect to see at the graduate level, but this is geared for the undergraduates,” says Lipi Mishra, a fourth-year Health Sciences students, who with Garg is co-editor-in-chief of WURJ. “They are able to learn more about how to get published and what it takes to write such papers.”
 
With a journal team comprised of 52 members, including undergraduate, graduate and faculty members, each act as reviewers and editors for submitted works.
 
“The articles go through an intensive review process,” says Mishra. “They go through the undergraduate and graduate process to take a first look. If deemed appropriate for publication, it then moves on to faculty reviewers. They will look and give comments to the students on how to improve or make it publishable.”
 
Undergraduate authors receive feedback every step of the way. Workshops are also planned on the academic publication process, open access publication, summer research opportunities and effective scientific writing.
 
“Getting published is a big deal,” says Garg. “If an undergrad can get published, it’s a great way to get experience and make future articles that much more competitive for publication.”
 
The pair would like to see five to 10 papers published on the site, funded through Western Libraries, by the end of the academic year. From submission to website placement can take more than a month.
 
“We’ve been getting great feedback from the university and the faculties involved regarding this, and now it’s time to get out to the students. It’s an exciting time,” says Mishra.
 
To learn more about WURJ, visit http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/wurjhns.
 

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