University to launch new undergraduate research journal

The University of Minnesota Undergraduate Research Journal will publish its first issue next academic year after it received $2,000 in start-up funds.

by David Clarey

Following suit with several other universities, an undergraduate research journal at the U will start its print and online publication next fall.

The University of Minnesota Undergraduate Research Journal — which was approved for start-up costs two weeks ago — will accept submissions from students in any major and plans to be primarily student-run.

History and political science senior Henry Carras began a push to publish undergraduate research after he did research on immigration patterns after a hurricane ravaged Honduras.

Carras based the idea on other undergrad journals published by the Univesity of Minnesota-Duluth and Purdue University.

The journal will give undergraduates a medium to showcase their work, said Bob McMaster, vice provost and chair of the Undergraduate Research Advisory Board.

McMaster said there were some concerns over the longevity and viability of the project. He said the board worried that the journal would struggle after Carras and other heavily-involved students graduate.

“There’s a set of students who are very excited about this and engaged … but when they leave … will there be other students to keep this alive over a long period of time?” he said.

The board voted to approve the journal anyway, and the Office of Undergraduate Education provided $2,000 for start-up costs.

The Undergarduate Research Advisory Board will serve as the journal’s first advisory council, acting as the quality and oversight committee for the journal’s first iteration, McMaster said.

The idea is to eventually have the journal completely student-run, Carras said.

“I think as we get people more trained into it, it could definitely be something more student-run,” he said, noting that there will need to be continued faculty oversight.

Vicky Munro, coordinator of the Office of Undergraduate Reseach, will act as an administrator for the journal. She has worked at the University for over 30 years on undergraduate research.

Munro said students and faculty have discussed an undergraduate research journal for years, but it never moved anywhere until now.

Undergraduate journals give students experience with what can be an intimidating process, said Mark Stellmack, University psychology professor and editor of the University’s undergraduate psychology research journal, Sentience.

“This is, in a lot of cases, the first time they’ve experienced [the journal process,]” he said. “I didn’t have that opportunity when I submitted my first paper … they’re getting that valuable experience at an early stage.”

Originally, Carras pushed for a research advocate programin which people would try to convince other undergraduates to do research.

“I kind of used the [journal] as a side note … [but] people really seemed to catch on to that,” he said. “It was the most tangible and feasible.”