Student group aspires to launch undergraduate research journal

A dozen students are asking for the university’s help in starting an online research publication.

After toiling away on a research paper, it can be disheartening to have it simply graded and handed back.

A group of 12 students at the University of Saskatchewan understand that frustration and have laid the groundwork for an undergraduate research journal for the university. The journal will allow students to have their research published and peer-reviewed.

The Research Learning Community, which includes students from a variety of colleges, has met weekly throughout the year to investigate the feasibility of an on-campus undergraduate publication.

They submitted their 10-page proposal to Associate Vice-President of Research Jim Basinger last week.

Sarah Marcoux, a fourth-year rural and urban design major and co-author of the proposal, said undergraduate students are realizing the importance of thorough research and looking for a way to go beyond conventional coursework.

“Research gives you the opportunity to examine everything you’ve learned, pick out what’s relevant, seek out missing knowledge and apply it in meaningful ways based on your own curiosity,” Marcoux said.

The proposal includes plans for the appointment of a full editorial board, consisting of an editor-in-chief, a team of senior editors, a layout manager and a marketing manager.

A website would be launched to accept and publish articles. And a list of graduate students and professors who are willing to associate themselves with the peer-review process would be compiled.

Submissions would be “completely open” to all undergraduates on campus, Marcoux said.

The RLC is asking administration for monthly office space, two computers, furniture, online server space and one paid staff member.

Basinger, who accepted the RLC’s proposal March 28, said the university is continually looking at ways to enhance students’ research experiences. Although the university had not previously considered starting an undergraduate journal, he said it “fits in” with the school’s recent research initiatives outlined in the Third Integrated Plan.

Basinger said the RLC must now flesh out the proposal, essentially creating a full business plan detailing how to secure resources and how to put the journal into practice.

He said finding the resources to pay one full-time staff member will be the most important financial commitment.

“You need one person that can provide continuity year after year, and also provide the hands-on work that is required to receive papers, ensure they are processed properly and then assembled into the journal’s style,” Basinger said.

Basinger said the success of the journal will rely on the contributions made by both the RLC and the university over the summer. He will refine the proposal and consider taking it to senior administration for funding in the coming months.

“It’s really important that this not just sit on the desk somewhere. It’s key that there are people continuing to work and push this forward,” he said. “I’m not making any promises. But I feel this is a good opportunity and I would hope we are able to pull something together. This is a pretty exciting plan.”


Photo: Raisa Pezderic/The Sheaf