Frequently Asked Questions
Why were the URNCST Journal Research Competition and the URNCST Journal Case Competition Established?
As the leading publisher of undergraduate research conferences and case competitions the URNCST Journal team interacts with planning committees regularly. Through these interactions a couple themes were found to recur independently as follows: 1) undergraduate students are extremely keen to participate in research endeavours (i.e. conferences) and critical thinking (i.e. case competitions) that recognizes their valuable work and 2) undergraduate students face a number of barriers such as the costs of travelling and registering to attend a conference, and a lack of opportunities to receive rigorous peer-review, and 3) submissions to research journals, both undergraduate and professional, are often associated with a long turnaround time to receive even an initial decision, just to name a few. Despite this, many thousands of undergraduate students across the globe play crucial roles in making new discoveries every single year.
Therefore, the URNCST Journal competitions were established to showcase the most valuable and impactful work that undergraduates have to offer. The competitions both take place entirely online as there is no physical venue, thereby completely eliminating the barrier of travel and registration costs. Instead, all submitted abstracts are carefully peer-reviewed by the URNCST Journal editorial team, and all accepted abstracts will be published as a single abstract book in the URNCST Journal on the date as specified above. Thus, authors have a pre-specified publication date to look forward to, provided that their abstract is accepted. Authors of abstracts accepted and published in this abstract book enjoy all the benefits as authors of abstracts published in any conference abstract book published by URNCST, including rigorous peer-review, open access, and archiving and indexing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between the URNCST Journal Research Competition and the URNCST Journal Case Competition?
A: Students participating in the URNCST Journal Research Competition must have conducted research as an undergraduate student within an academic research capacity (i.e. university laboratory or clinical group) and obtained supervision to submit an abstract from a supervisor (i.e. professor, scientist). Students participating in the URNCST Journal Case Competition are required to submit an abstract relating to the proposed topic as provided by the URNCST Journal, however, they do not require a supervisor and do not need to have any prior research experience.
Q: Are there a maximum number of abstracts that can be accepted for either competition?
A: No. The quality of content takes priority over the quantity of abstracts submitted, however, only high-quality abstracts will be accepted for publication. Please download the peer-reviewer evaluation form (see below) that will be used to grade every abstract submitted, to ensure that your abstract meets all of the evaluation criteria for high-quality.
Q: How often is each competition held? When can I submit an abstract?
A: Abstracts can be submitted to either abstract competition at any time. The deadlines for the URNCST Journal Research Competition are as follows: The first day of January, May, and September. The deadlines for the URNCST Journal Case Competition are as follows: The first day of February, March, April, June, July, August, October, and November. The abstracts accepted for each competition are scheduled to be published approximately 1 month after the deadline. If you make a submission and miss a deadline, your abstract is automatically considered for the next abstract competition (i.e. 4 months later for the Research Competition and 1-2 months later for the Case Competition).
Q: What are the abstract formatting guidelines?
A: The formatting guidelines for each competition are the same, however, there two separate abstract templates for each competition; please ensure that you download the correct one. Your abstract must be 300 words or less and contain the following sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, Conclusion, and Implications as shown in the downloadable template below. Please do not change the formatting of the template. No tables, figures, or references should be included with your abstract.
Q: Does my abstract need a supervising author for either competition?
A: As mentioned above, students participating in the URNCST Journal Research Competition are required to have a supervisor. It is expected that the undergraduate author will consult their research supervisor to not only ensure that the abstract is of high quality, but also gain permission from them to submit an abstract. If you conducted research that did not require a supervisor (i.e. a review), you are still required to find a supervisor who is willing to serve as a supervising author to your abstract. You should ensure that all authors listed on the abstract approve of the submission and the authorship order. Supervising authors should be research professors, instructors or scientists based at an academic institution who provided you with the methods and materials required for you to conduct the research described in your abstract. Students participating in the URNCST Journal Case Competition are not required to have a supervisor, however, if they received help it is expected that they would include all co-authors and supervisors on the abstract submission.
Q: Is there a fee to participate in either competition?
A: Yes, there is a minimal, one-time, non-refundable submission fee of $25.00 CAD (or the equivalent in your local currency) plus applicable taxes to the URNCST Journal. This fee exists for two reasons as follows: 1) it supports the journal’s day-to-day operations (i.e. server costs, indexing, etc.) and 2) dissuades the submission of poor-quality abstracts.
Q: I am worried that my abstract will be declined. Can I request a rapid review of my abstract prior to paying the submission fee?
A: Yes, please email your entire abstract template containing your abstract to firstname.lastname@example.org before making a submission if you wish to request a rapid review of your abstract. Please note that the lead editor will not provide you with detailed feedback on the content or quality of your abstract. Instead s/he will only provide you with a recommendation as to whether you make a submission. This decision does NOT guarantee that your abstract will be accepted or declined.
Q: Can I submit an abstract to this competition if I am presenting this abstract at a research conference or case competition?
A: It depends. It is your responsibility to obtain permission from this conference or case competition, if this conference does not publish their conference abstracts. Preferably, however, you are welcomed (in fact, encouraged!) to introduce their planning committee to the URNCST Journal! You may not submit an abstract to either competition if the abstract you have presented/will be presenting at this research conference has published/will be publishing its abstract book with the URNCST Journal or any other journal.
Q: Why is it a competition if theoretically every submitted abstract could be accepted?
A: Following the peer-review of all abstracts submitted to both competitions, the URNCST Journal will only accept and publishing high quality research abstracts. Submitting your abstract, therefore, does not guarantee acceptance though you can improve your abstract's chances of acceptance by reviewing the peer-reviewer evaluation form. This is also a competition as within the pool of all accepted abstracts, the URCNST Journal will invite a very select few authors of the most impactful abstracts to publish a full-article in the journal.