University of Saskatchewan students need not wait for graduation to publish their research — any undergraduate students eager to have their research papers distributed to a wider audience can submit their work to the U of S Undergraduate Research Journal for a chance at publication.
Established in 2012, USURJ features several sections based on multiple disciplines including social sciences, humanities, fine arts, health sciences and natural sciences, as well as an interdisciplinary section. These sections are run by a volunteer editorial team and when students submit their work, it is reviewed by faculty in a double-blind review process, after which the final papers are chosen for publication in the journal.
Irena Smith is an international studies graduate from the U of S and was published in the first issue of the journal in 2012. Smith attests to the benefits of being published in the undergraduate journal.
“As someone planning on continuing to grad school, it was incredibly valuable to get a feel for how the peer-review process works. It was also great to be able to list a publication on my grad school applications,” Smith said in an email to the Sheaf.
Being published, as well as the corresponding process, can prepare a student looking at grad school since it gives them a chance to have their research skills critiqued. It is also something that can be placed on a résume that speaks to the work ethic and refined skills of the student.
Publication of each volume of the journal occurs in two parts, with the first issue launching in December and the second launching in the spring. The current call for papers has a rolling deadline set for Oct. 16, though students who submit by this date maintain the best chance of making it into the next issue.
Aimee Ferré, a fourth-year international studies student, is the senior editor of the journal’s interdisciplinary section. She insists that there are several benefits for students whose work gets published in USURJ and that these benefits can apply to nearly all academic fields of study.
“USURJ paved a path for me to be part of a journey towards celebrating and fostering passion for academia,” Ferré said.
The papers published in USURJ are also made available through Google Scholar, which allows them to be cited in research papers and provides students an opportunity to reach a much wider audience.
Although publication is an accomplishment in itself, Ferré insists that students will benefit from simply submitting a paper for consideration.
“Even if you don’t get published you still get the peer review back. It’s not a guarantee that if you submit you’ll get in, but just the whole process of it is really great,” Ferré said.
Moreover, the editorial team that runs USURJ is comprised of student volunteers and for Ferré, this particular volunteer experience proves invaluable.
“The volunteers on the editorial team, the benefits for them speak volumes because you’re getting exposed to research and to editing and to the process of publishing work,” Ferré said.
Ferré argues that the benefits of USURJ carry on past those involved, since the journal allows for the celebration of the work being done by the students at the U of S and showcases something that otherwise would have been confined to the student and their professor.
Furthermore, the journal allows other students to see what their peers are doing, perhaps even inspiring them to go further in their own research and to strive for success.
Ferré encourages U of S students to take advantage of this unique opportunity.
“You put so much effort into writing these research papers and then you just have the one professor read it. So the journal is a really cool opportunity for students who are proud of their work and proud of all they have accomplished in the paper, especially if it was a successful paper, to have the opportunity to share it, to have others read it; to open it to a wider audience of readers.”
Photo: Kyra Mazer