Undergraduate research journal

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An undergraduate research journal is an academic journal dedicated to publishing the work of undergraduate students. Such journals have been described as important for the professionalization of students into their academic discipline and a more substantive opportunity to experience the publication and peer review process than inclusion in the acknowledgments or as one of many authors on a traditional publication.[1] The model has been described as well established in the United States and as a potential extension to the traditional undergraduate dissertation written by students in the United Kingdom.[2] A case study of student participation in the journal Reinvention: A Journal of Undergraduate Research, found that the process challenges the "student as consumer" model of higher education.[3]


Many universities maintain such journals for their own undergraduates, such as the Beloit Biologist, a Beloit College publication that launched in the early 1970s.[4] Some scholarly societies also maintain venues for the dissemination of undergraduate research, for example as special sessions at academic conferences.[1] Non-institutional journals may be sponsored by professional societies - for example, the American Institute of Physics published the undergraduate-peer-reviewed Journal of Undergraduate Research in Physics starting in 1981, with a temporary hiatus beginning in 2014.[5] The Journal of Young Investigators, which has received support through science-education grants from the United States National Science Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and Duke University, is managed primarily by undergraduates[6][7] and is regarded as innovative because students are involved in reviewing and editing papers for publication.[8]

Variations on the model may accept work from even younger students; for example, the Journal of Emerging Investigators, managed by graduate students at Harvard University, publishes work by middle- and high-school-aged children under the guidance of a teacher or mentor.[9][10] In 2014, a JEI paper gained widespread international media attention for its recommendation that the United States government save money on ink by changing official fonts.[11]


The model of separate journals specifically for undergraduates has been criticized for several reasons. Such journals may not be indexed in common literature databases and publishing research in an undergraduate-only venue may make it difficult for others to find the work.[12] Concerns have also been expressed that the process could increase stress and competitiveness in undergraduate research.[13]


  1. ^ a b Jungck, J. R.; Harris, M.; Mercuri, R.; Tusin, J. (1 March 2004). "Points of View: Should Students Be Encouraged To Publish Their Research in Student-Run Publications?: Undergraduates: Do Research, Publish!". Cell Biology Education. 3 (1): 24–26. doi:10.1187/cbe.04-01-0022. 
  2. ^ Walkington, Helen; Jenkins, Alan. "Embedding Undergraduate Research Publication in the Student Learning Experience". Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching. Oxford Brookes University. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Taylor, Paul; Wilding, Danny. "Rethinking the values of higher education - the student as collaborator and producer? Undergraduate research as a case study" (PDF). The Reinvention Centre for Undergraduate Research. University of Warwick. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Omans, Nathaniel (25 March 2014). "The Final Steps of Your Undergraduate Research Experience: Peer Review and Publishing". PLOS Blog. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "Journal of Undergraduate Research in Physics". Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Journal of Young Investigators". Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  7. ^ NOTEBOOK; On-Line Research Papers - New York Times
  8. ^ Jenkins, Alan (2003). Reshaping Teaching in Higher Education: Linking Teaching with Research. Psychology Press. ISBN 0749439033. 
  9. ^ "About JEI". emerginginvestigators.org. 
  10. ^ Kelsey, Ilana; Pasquina, Lincoln (January 2015). "Next-generation training: publishing student scientists' research". Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "Pa. Teen Says Typeface Change Could Save Millions". Daily Mail. AP. 29 March 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  12. ^ Siegel, V. (1 March 2004). "Points of View: Should Students Be Encouraged To Publish Their Research in Student-Run Publications?: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Undergraduate-only Journal Publications". Cell Biology Education. 3 (1): 26–27. doi:10.1187/cbe.04-01-0021. 
  13. ^ Gilbert, S. F. (1 March 2004). "Points of View: Should Students Be Encouraged To Publish Their Research in Student-Run Publications?: A Case Against Undergraduate-only Journal Publications". Cell Biology Education. 3 (1): 22–23. doi:10.1187/cbe.04-01-0023.