New Purdue journal to highlight best of undergraduate research

December 6, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Students are invited to submit proposals to have their work highlighted in a new journal that will feature the best of undergraduate research taking place at Purdue University.

"There are nearly 2,000 undergraduate research projects that are conducted every year at Purdue, which is considered a national leader in experiential learning," said Dale Whittaker, vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs. "Many of Purdue's faculty are dedicated to teaching undergraduate students by enhancing their learning experiences with research opportunities in laboratories and the community. A new journal devoted to reporting undergraduate research will draw more attention to the specific work taking place and inspire more students to seek these experiences."

Earlier this year in U.S.News & World Report, Purdue was tied for 12th nationally in a ranking of universities cited by college presidents, provosts and admissions deans as having an "unusual commitment to undergraduate teaching."

The Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research, which will feature selected student articles from faculty-mentored research projects, will be published by the Purdue University Press. The press is a part of Purdue Libraries, and the project is supported by the Office of the Provost.

"The breadth of research projects that students are involved in from anthropology to zoonotic diseases is amazing," said Charles Watkinson, director of Purdue University Press. "This journal will give the university a centralized way to highlight them.

"Students whose articles are selected also will work closely with members of an editorial board composed of their peers as well as with experts at the press to learn how to communicate their research methods and findings in a way that all readers will be able to understand. This mentoring also will give students insight into how their discoveries relate to real people and real issues, which is a key for a land-grant institution."

The students also will be counseled on information literacy and publication ethics.

Purdue students, as well as high school students who participated in a Purdue research internship program, are invited to submit their article proposals by Feb. 15. Submissions can be made at http://www.jpur.org, and the faculty advisory board led by Greg Michalski, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, will review articles. About six students initially will be invited to submit full articles. In addition, the journal also will include interviews with leading faculty and Purdue alumni whose successful careers have been shaped be being participants in undergraduate research projects themselves. A list of other Purdue undergraduate research projects that are published in academic journals outside of the university also will be included in the journal.

The journal, which will be published in print and available to the public online next fall, will be used as a recruiting tool to connect with prospective students, said Paul John Sliker, a senior in professional writing and the journal coordinator. The 64-page print edition will be published in color and distributed around the university, as well as to potential students and peer institutions. The online edition, published through the Purdue Libraries' e-Pubs system, will be available for free to readers.

"Undergraduate research journals are well established at some of the most prestigious research institutions in the nation, including Purdue's peer institutions Texas A&M University, Georgia Tech and University of Michigan," said Sliker, who is from North Kingstown, R.I. "This overview of research provides high school students with examples of exciting learning opportunities available to them at Purdue and provides participating students, whether as authors or the editorial board, an amazing experience to learn about the academic publication process."

Students interested in serving on the editorial board can contact Sliker at 765-494-2038, jpur@purdue.edu.

Purdue University Press is the academic publishing arm of Purdue, and it was founded in 1960. The press produces about 25 books and 15 journals a year.

The USNews & World Report that highlighted Purdue's commitment to undergraduate teaching also praised the university's efforts in first-year experience, internships, study abroad and writing in the disciplines. Overall, Purdue is listed 18th among the nation's public universities, up from 22nd the previous year.

Writer:  Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Sources:   Dale Whittaker, 765-494-6970, dwhittak@purdue.edu
                  
Charles Watkinson, 765-494-8251, cwatkinson@purdue.edu
                  
Paul Sliker, 765-494-2038, 401-413-6344, jpur@purdue.edu