April 13, 2015
Students know the pain of working for weeks on a research paper, only to receive a grade and maybe a few comments from the professor.
For students that want their papers to mean more than a grade, there is the UCCS Undergraduate Research Journal, indexed through Google Scholar.
“Most of our viewers and people who pull our papers are people that don’t even go to this school,” said Kat Rutz, URJ editor and senior English major.
“It’s people out in the world … who are looking for resources and research already done or compiled or analyzed … they’re pulling those for their own sources and their own papers and information. I think that’s really exciting,” Rutz said.
The Undergraduate Research Journal is Tabatha Farney’s brainchild.
“I just remember being really frustrated as a student where you spend all this time on your research … and then you get a grade and that’s that,” said Farney, director of Web Services and Emerging Technology for the Kraemer Family Library.
“I see this as a stepping stone for students, not just to get published here, but to get published in other journals as well,” she said.
As a student, Farney wrote a paper on the history of communication that her professor encouraged her to publish, but she blew it off. After graduation, she realized publishing the paper would’ve been an opportunity for her.
“There’s a lot of fabulous stuff happening on this campus in all departments, from the arts to the hard sciences, lots of great research and why not share that?” she said.
The URJ accepts any research paper, any topic and from any level. Students submit their papers and then reviewers look over the papers and give the students feedback.
Then, a paper is either rejected or approved. Many papers are sent back with comments about how to improve, which doesn’t necessarily mean rejection.
Once the reviewers are done with the paper, it goes to the editors – Rutz and senior Jackie Nelson – who look at the research.
Farney first started the URJ in 2008, but it didn’t go exactly as she planned.
“It was terrible,” she said. “I was a new faculty member here and I was very naïve. I thought I could do everything on my own.”
Farney edited, reviewed and did all of the technical work for the URJ. She said submissions for the journal were slow in coming.
Last year, she started working with Michelle Neely, assistant English professor. Neely had the idea to bring on a student editor.
Now Farney, along with Neely and assistant English professor Katherine Mack, are advisers for the URJ. Farney does the technical work for the journal, such as hosting the website, but the rest of the work is done by students.
“I really just see this project [flourishing.] It’s beautiful,” Farney said.
Nelson, last year’s editor, did a lot of work for URJ to revive the project, but it wasn’t until Rutz that the URJ became an official student club.
This semester, Rutz has been working on making students aware of the URJ. Farney hopes that the URJ will get an ISSN, the number the Library of Congress issues to declare the URJ an official journal.
“I think after two more issues, we could apply for it,” she said.
Submissions for the URJ are now closed, but the club is looking for a couple more reviewers. Interested students can email URJ at [email protected] edu or check out URJ on Mountain Lion Connect or its Facebook page.
The journal itself can be found at ojs.uccs.edu