A Taste of Academic Publishing
U of G undergrads have opportunity to publish research in new student-edited electronic journal
BY ANDREW VOWLES
How many undergraduates get the chance to publish research in a peer-reviewed journal? U of G undergrads will find a new “home” for their work when a student-edited electronic journal begins publication next month.
SURG, or Studies by Undergraduate Researchers at Guelph, is a new multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal that will consist of original research papers and literature reviews written by undergrads. One of only a few such journals in Canada, it will be based in the Office of Research and edited by Matt Teeter, a fourth-year biomedical sciences student.
“I'm delighted with the launch of SURG,” says Prof. Steven Liss, associate vice-president (research services). “This student-led initiative will provide another level of exposure to the research enterprise and experiences that will further develop the communication and leadership skills of our students — a hallmark of a Guelph graduate.”
Teeter says SURG will give undergraduates a taste of academic publishing and allow them to publish work that is based on their own research but unlikely to meet the standards of mainstream journals.
Most submissions will probably be based on senior undergrad thesis and research courses. The journal will also accept literature reviews and papers based on work done in undergraduate research assistantships and student research award positions.
The e-journal, which will be hosted on the U of G Library website, will solicit papers from students across all seven colleges. Each issue will include up to two papers from a single degree major. Teeter expects as many as 24 departments will take part in the venture. He plans to publish twice a year — spring and fall.
Individual departments will assemble panels of faculty and students to review submissions. Those submissions must be recommended to the review panel by a student's faculty supervisor or course co-ordinator. The panel will then forward the best papers to Teeter in the Office of Research, also home to U of G's SPARK (Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge) program, which trains students to write research articles published on and off campus.
Among the papers in the inaugural issue is a study on proteins and genes involved in heart disease written by biochemistry students for a senior undergrad research course. The first issue will also include abstracts from a poster presentation by students in the Ontario Veterinary College's summer leadership program.
Similar journals are published by other Canadian universities or departments, including the University of Lethbridge, the University of British Columbia and Trent University.
The idea stemmed from Teeter's research experience in OVC and the School of Engineering. The American Journal of Veterinary Research will publish an article he co-authored with Prof. Ludovic Bouré, Clinical Studies, on minimally invasive biopsies in horses. Under a senior research project, Teeter is now studying tissue mechanics with Prof. John Runciman, Engineering, a member of the SURG advisory board.
“Based on my own research experience, I saw a need for this journal,” says Teeter. “Not everyone has had the opportunity I've had to publish their work. Other students are doing really interesting work that I think needs a home. This journal will provide that.”
Other members of the advisory board are Liss; Prof. Anthony Clarke, acting associate vice-president (academic); Owen Roberts, director of research communications in the Office of Research; and Catherine Steeves of the library's information technology services. SURG is sponsored by the Office of Research and the library.
Teeter is currently accepting submissions from summer and fall student research projects for the next issue of SURG.