A message from the Editor-in-Chief
Since January 2021 the editorial team of the University of Regina Undergraduate Research Journal (URJ) has been working hard in delivering to the University of Regina and Federated College communities an undergraduate research journal. Our mission is to showcase, acknowledge, and share undergraduate research within our campus communities and URJ’s vision is to further enhance an academic culture that both gives students the confidence to engage in scholarly activities and develops opportunities for students to participate in the publication process.
URJ operates on three value pillars: community, engagement, and integrity. We strive to prioritize experiential learning experiences within students’ degrees to allow for more opportunities in the campus community. As well, we hope to give students another way to engage in campus activities within a more research focused experience. This includes both formal and informal interactions around leadership, communication, and research skills. We also give students an avenue to engage with the scholarly community before they begin more formal research programs or graduate degrees. Finally, our journal will have a rigorous review process to ensure that academic integrity is being met at every stage of developing a space for interdisciplinary research.
While conducting an external analysis, URJ found that the University of Saskatchewan has an undergraduate research journal, so the concept is already familiar to the province. There are also other journals across Canada, but many are not as interdisciplinary as we propose ours to be. Internationally, there are many renowned journals that have held conferences and provide support for upcoming journals. We hope to be a strong interdisciplinary journal that can join these ranks. Our internal processes include the development of our journal structure, our issue schedule, and our scope. The URJ will include manuscripts, source reviews, and a Seniors/Honours colloquium and roundtable discussion in print and in electronic form. There will be two issues per academic year: one in the Fall semester and one in the Winter semester. Each issue will be interdisciplinary, but have a common theme tying together the research. Any undergraduate student from a recognized post-secondary institution in Canada may submit to the URJ though preference will be given to University of Regina and Federated College students.
Our team includes a diverse range of skills, experience, and knowledge in order to fill the necessary positions for this project. We have an editorial board of over eighteen students including four faculty advisors, editor-in-chief, co-managing editor, and a variety of other editor levels positions including copy editors, and administration roles such as public relations officer, and graduate studies mentors. This team will ensure that our value pillars of community, engagement, and integrity are met through the facilitation of the submission and review process alongside internal committees.
The submission process and criteria have been defined and guidelines are made available online for students. Currently, the review pinnal is tasked to make a determination of each submission on: contribution to field, readability and clarity, methodology, and creativity/interest of the paper. Any and all feedback will be synthesized and ranked to determine which papers will be published in print and or electronically. Papers will be sent out for peer review and then back to students with edits if necessary then a final review and consultation with the editorial board will take place. Our journal will be Open Access using the Archer Library Open Journal System (OJS).
The URJ is not simply a place for publishing research, however. Programming we hope to provide on top of the journal includes conferences and writing contests with monetary prizes. As well, we would love to develop an undergraduate fellowship program to offer fellowships or writers in residence positions. Our programming will allow students to work closely with our graduate studies mentors to aid in proceeding further in academic studies. Costs that we foresee in the operations of this journal include printing, website maintenance, honorariums for editorial board members and other costs.
There are many projected benefits to this project. The biggest identified benefit is that students will gain research experience and opportunities to be published, which makes undergraduate students more competitive in academic settings such as applying for scholarships and graduate studies. As well, the University of Regina will join the ranks of many other high-caliber institutions who already offer these opportunities for their students.
The URJ has been considering succession and continuity plans to ensure that this project is sustainable and will create a long-lasting legacy at the University of Regina and Federated Colleges. There have been discussions around creating a course credit option that includes courses on developing a research paper for publication review or a course on the editorial process. As well, we could work with the arts work experience internship to allow individuals on the editorial board to be eligible to engage in production of the journal as an internship option.
The URJ will be a new and exciting opportunity for students to both participate in the publishing process as well as have their research showcased. Our team has worked hard in the development of our framework and will continue to ensure that this project perseveres for years to come.
University of Regina Undergraduate Research Journal (URJ)