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Undergraduate Research Journal 'Discovery' Started at SMSU

Published Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Pam Gladis
Pam Gladis

An online undergraduate research journal, “Discovery,” has been launched at Southwest Minnesota State University, which will allow undergraduate students an opportunity to go through the process of having their research published, much in the same way as any other professional academic journals.

“It allows our students to go through the publication process. They use journal articles all the time in their coursework, but students don’t consider the process of what it takes to get those articles published. It will be particularly helpful for students going on to graduate school, because they can put on their application that they have been published in an undergraduate journal. Not many students have that opportunity,” said Pam Gladis, SMSU Librarian and the originator of the idea.

“I was at the Association of College and Research Libraries conference in Cleveland last April,” she said. “I went to a presentation about undergraduate scholarship, and one of the presenters talked about this,” said Gladis.

The presentation struck a chord with Gladis. “It sounded like the perfect offshoot of our Undergraduate Research Conference,” she said of the annual December event which features undergraduate research primarily presented in poster and PowerPoint form. “I brought back the idea to (Undergraduate Research Conference originator) Emily Deaver and asked her opinion. She was all for it. It went in front of the Faulty Assembly and we got their support, too,” she said.

The inaugural edition of “Discovery” was recently put online ( and Gladis is pleased with the results, despite some unexpected COVID-19 bumps in the road. “The original deadline for manuscripts was January 30,” said Gladis. “Students were informed about manuscripts acceptance in late March and had to get their revisions back to me by April 23. This was when COVID-19 was changing things dramatically on our campus, so they didn’t have a lot of time, in trying circumstances, to get that to me. It was impressive that those students who are published got their revisions done and turned in.”

So what’s the process a student must go through to get published in “Discovery”? “The process may change a bit,” said Gladis, “but right now, the student has a faculty mentor who signs off that the student has work that could be considered for publication. The manuscript has to be formatted to meet the journal guidelines and that is submitted to me, the journal editor. Two reviewers then do an in-depth review of the manuscript and give me an idea of whether it should be published, and whether it needs major or minor edits, or whether it’s ready as-is, but that is rare. The students then receive that feedback, and if they choose to move forward with the publication process, make the revisions, with assistance from their faculty mentor and me to work with them on editing and preparing it for publication. This is the same kind of submission, review and editing process that happens with other academic journals, so is an excellent learning experience for our students.”

Gladis said “Discovery” accepts original research and perspective articles. “It’s more in-depth thinking about a topic,” she said. “The journal is a natural complement to our successful Undergraduate Research Conference.”

Gladis said the students published in the inaugural edition of “Discovery” learned a lot during the process, and looks forward to future editions of the publication.


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