About the Journal
The Undergraduate Research in Natural and Clinical Sciences and Technology (URNCST) Journal was launched in 2017, and as its name suggests, accepts research article submissions from undergraduate researchers spanning broad and multidisciplinary fields. The URNCST Journal’s broad scope serves multiple purposes, allowing undergraduate students to publish their work on a platform and receive rigorous, peer-reviewed feedback regardless throughout their undergraduate career even if they choose to conduct research in a different field. The journal’s broad scope also allows the opportunity for graduate students, professors and other research faculty alike who have a passion for supporting their own undergraduate students, and undergraduate researchers internationally to contribute to our editorial board and/or peer-review process.
The URNCST Journal provides a unique platform for undergraduate students to publish their work in, and fills a significant gap that has been lacking for years. Undergraduate researchers typically spend 3-4 months as part of a summer studentship or research placement course contributing to a piece of a larger study belonging to a graduate student or professor. Thus, it is not uncommon for the undergraduate researcher to not have sufficient data to publish their work in a professor-level journal. One option then is for the undergraduate researcher to publish their work in an undergraduate-level journal, however, very few are indexed to a scholarly database such as Google Scholar, and thus, may never be found even if the journal publishes in an open access format. Furthermore, many undergraduate journals require that authors are or were undergraduate students at the university in which the journal is based, and few undergraduate journals seek peer-reviewers internationally.
One key feature that the URNCST Journal prides itself on is its continuous publication frequency. The URNCST Journal endeavours to shorten the time between submission and peer-reviewed decision, as this advantages our undergraduate student authors in multiple ways. A faster turn-around time allows undergraduate students to showcase their work to a prospective summer student, research placement and/or senior thesis supervisor sooner, and also allows candidates applying to graduate and/or professional school programs to showcase their work to admissions committees in a timely fashion.
Aims and Scope
The URNCST Journal accepts English-language manuscript submissions from any undergraduate (i.e. BSc, BEng, BA, etc.) or professional-undergraduate (i.e. MD, DDS, PharmD, OD, RN, etc.) student who conducted research in a natural or clinical science or technology discipline. A submission to the URNCST journal is acceptable, if the first author is a graduate of an undergraduate program or is a graduate student at the time of submission, but conducted the research contained within their manuscript while enrolled as an undergraduate student.
Examples of acceptable research submissions in a natural or clinical science or technology discipline include, but certainly not limited to, the following:
○ Earth and Environmental Sciences
○ Medical Science
○ Clinical Science
○ Health Science
○ Clinical Medicine
○ Health Biotechnology
*The scope of the article submission must fall within that of the natural or clinical sciences.
Please note that the URNCST Journal does NOT accept the following types of article submissions:
1. Articles with a first author who was not an undergraduate or professional-undergraduate student at the time they conducted the research contained within their manuscript (i.e. MSc, MA, MPH, PhD, EdD, etc.)
2. Articles that focus on research outside of a natural or clinical science or technology discipline (i.e. humanities, social sciences, fine arts, etc.)
3. Articles that do not fall into the category of primary article, review article, or clinical case study. Articles that do not meet submission criteria include perspective, commentary or opinion pieces. Abstracts may only be submitted when there is an active call (i.e. for a conference).
While the URNCST Journal’s primary authors are undergraduate student researchers, our readers include authors and academics of any and all kind. The URNCST Journal is a platform that undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members and independent researchers alike can freely access.
For Authors: The URNCST Journal publishes three types of articles as follows: 1) primary research, 2) review, and 3) research protocol. Please familiarize yourself with the formatting guidelines for each article type which can be found on the Instructions for Authors page.
Conference Planners: The journal also publishes abstracts accepted for undergraduate research conferences. Due to the nature of many undergraduate research conferences being multi-disciplinary, the URNCST Journal will publish the abstract book as long as the research conference accepts abstracts from one or more disciplines that meet the journal's scope. As an example, the URNCST Journal will publish the abstract book for a conference that focuses on biology, psychology and sociology abstracts, however, the journal will not publish an abstract book for a conference that only focusses on sociology. Conference planners and abstract book authors themselves do not necessarily have to be undergraduate students. If you are on the planning committee of an undergraduate research conference, and are interested in publishing your conference abstract book in the URNCST Journal, please view the Instructions for Conference Planners page and contact us at email@example.com.
Peer Review Process
Prior to submission, authors must ensure that all studies described in the manuscript has been conducted ethically (i.e. if your study involved human or animal participants, you are required to state in your manuscript that your study was approved by your institution’s research ethics board. Authors should only submit original material and ensure that the methodology is appropriate for the study conducted, and that the results, discussion and conclusions are reported appropriately and accurately. It is expected that the first (undergraduate) author will consult their research supervisor to ensure that the manuscript meets all of these criteria prior to making a submission to the URNCST Journal. If the section editor finds that one or more of these criteria are not met when reviewing a submission, they will contact the author to make the necessary revisions prior to sending the manuscript out for peer-review.
During the submission process, authors should provide the names of up to 4 peer-reviewers who they do not have conflicts of interest with, and who they believe are suitable experts in reviewing their study. Authors should also declare the names of people who they do not wish to serve as peer-reviewers.
Upon receiving a manuscript submission, the manuscript will be assigned to a section editor who will first determine if the manuscript adheres to the following three conditions: 1) the first author is/was an undergraduate student and the last author is the first author’s supervisor, 2) the manuscript meets the criteria outlined in Instructions for Authors and 3) the manuscript falls within the scope of the URNCST journal. If all three conditions are satisfied, section editors will send the manuscript out for peer-review to at least 1 expert in the field, which may or may not include one or more author-suggested peer-reviewers. The URNCST Journal section editors and peer-reviewers will both be acknowledged in the published manuscript should it be accepted for publication.
Once 1 peer-reviewer have submitted their review and a section editor has had the opportunity to review their comments and deems that no further peer-reviewers are required, the section editor will contact you to inform you of our decision on whether to accept your manuscript and whether further modifications are required to improve the quality of your article. If your manuscript is rejected by the section editor, this decision is final and cannot be appealed. If your manuscript is recommended for acceptance pending major or minor revisions, the section editor will provide further instruction and a turnaround time during which you will have the opportunity to address the requested revisions, after which your revised manuscript may or may not be sent back to the peer-reviewers at the section editor’s discretion. If the section editor informs you that your manuscript is suitable for publication, s/he will provide you with all the necessary details to move forward with the publication of your article and you will also be required to complete a publishing agreement form (provided by the editor upon acceptance).
Journal Structure and Format
The URNCST Journal is an innovative undergraduate research journal that publishes articles on an ongoing and continuous basis, meaning that your article is published online immediately following their acceptance as opposed to being published when a certain number of articles have been accepted. Thus, the URNCST Journal issues and volumes are time- and not article-dependent, where the journal will archive 12 issues per year (i.e. 1 per month) and 1 volume per year.
The URNCST Journal strives to be an environmentally-conscious journal and thus only publishes articles in easily-accessible online formats.
Open Access Policy
The URNCST Journal is an open access publisher meaning that all articles can be accessed and read by anyone with an internet connection. The Budapest statement (http://www.budapestopenaccessinitiative.org/read) defined open access as follows:
“There are many degrees and kinds of wider and easier access to this literature. By 'open access' to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.”
Copyright is retained by the authors and articles can be freely used and distributed by others. Articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published by the URNCST Journal, is properly cited.
Journal Indexing and Social Media
A section editor will inform you once an article is published in the URNCST Journal. We will also write a message promoting your article on the URNCST Journal Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, though you are certainly welcomed (and encouraged) to share your published article with your own social media networks too! All articles published in the URNCST Journal are immediately indexed to Google Scholar. As a new journal, it is our hope that all articles will be indexed in other well-known electronic databases (i.e. PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science) once we meet the eligibility criteria to apply for indexing.
The URNCST Journal’s Editorial Board is comprised of accomplished graduate students, graduate degree holders, professional degree holders, and researchers with an interest in undergraduate research and expertise in one or more subject areas comprising the scope of the journal. Members of the Editorial Board are appointed by the Editor-in-Chief for a renewable 3-year term. If you are interested in joining the URNCST Journal’s editorial team or nominating a colleague, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating to us below which role they wish to undertake. Please note that all applicants will be required to submit their CV containing their education, relevant work-related experience, and a list of research publications, along with any other items the applicant feels will demonstrate his/her suitability as a board member.
Please note that we are currently only recruiting for the following positions: 1) Associate Editors and 2) Editorial and Advisory Board Members
The URNCST Journal roles are outlined below as follows:
The Editor-in-Chief will:
○ set and/or review with members of editorial board the journal’s policies, including those regarding authorship, peer review, quality control and ethical issues;
○ monitor and maintain agreed policies;
○ ensure that the journal’s processes are transparent to stakeholders;
○ take final responsibility for the editorial content of the journal;
○ maintain editorial independence;
○ make final decisions on manuscripts;
○ manage and organize the editorial office and ensure good working practice;
○ attract authors to submit quality manuscripts to the journal;
○ try to develop the journal in every way possible;
○ plan for the future of the journal;
○ represent the journal in national and international forums.
Associate Editors will:
○ assist the editor in implementing the policies of the journal and in monitoring the efficiency of its systems;
○ correspond and work with authors and reviewers;
○ review and revise papers for quality and relevance;
○ recommend a course of action for submitted manuscripts in their specialist area.
Development and Communications Liason
The Development and Communications Liason will:
○ seek out networking and legacy-building opportunities for the journal;
○ propose recruitment strategies ensuring diversity and capacity among associate editors, editorial and advisory board members, and other journal staff;
○ harness strategic partnerships with other open access organizations/journals to increase readership and maximize publication impact;
○ provide the Editor-in-Chief with proposals and develops methods to improve the journal's community engagement;
○ liase with organizations and individuals interested in supporting the journal and directs strategic marketing and public relations;
○ recommend and develop innovative initiatives that allow the journal to promote and advance undergraduate research.
Editorial Assistants will:
○ assist the editor in implementing the policies of the journal;
○ correspond and work with authors, editorial board members and reviewers;
○ manage and maintain the manuscript tracking system;
○ maintain records and produce reports of manuscripts received, accepted, rejected, etc.;
○ communicate decisions to authors and deal with queries;
○ ensure efficient flow of papers through the editorial office, and develop improvements in the management of papers.
Technical Editors, Language Editors and Copy Editors will:
○ ensure that the correct structure for the corresponding section of the journal has been followed;
○ improve the presentation and wording so that the text is easy to read and understand;
○ develop and maintain a style sheet as a record of decisions taken concerning spelling, hyphenation, format, etc.;
○ ensure correctness and consistency in the use of terms, especially technical ones;
○ eliminate unnecessary and repeated material, simplify long and complicated sentences, eliminate unnecessary words;
○ check that tables and figures are correctly cited in the text;
○ advise on the selection and effective use of tables and illustrations;
○ edit tables and figures so that they prove their point and their information ties with the text; check all totals and percentages;
○ ensure that all cross-references are correct and that all bibliographic citations match the reference list;
○ check that the references used are not grossly or overwhelmingly outdated;
○ ensure that the article is complete – that it has the author addresses, email contact numbers, etc.;
○ mark up the manuscript or proof with all necessary instructions for composition or printing.
Editorial and Advisory Board Members will:
○ act as a source of advice and support to the editor;
○ act as reviewers or suggest reviewers;
○ discuss and solve any problems that might face the journal;
○ contribute to the writing of editorials and invited articles;
○ solicit articles for the journal;
○ make policy decisions and approve the journal’s by-laws;
○ supervise and monitor the implementation of journal policies;
○ make decisions on financial issues;
○ help in decision-making when reviewers’ opinions on submitted manuscripts are not in agreement;
○ serve as the journal’s representative to the international scientific community;
○ use their professional influence to help raise the profile of the journal.
Jeremy Y. Ng, HBSc (McMaster University), MSc (University of Toronto)
Mehrdad Azimi, HBSc (York University), MSc (University of Ottawa), PharmD Student (University of Toronto)
Edmond Chiu, HBSc (McMaster University), PharmD Student (University of Toronto)
Shaidah Deghan, MSc (University of Toronto), MD (University of Toronto)
Desmond She, HBSc (University of Toronto), MD (University of Toronto)
Garni Tatikian, BEng (McMaster University), MD (University of Toronto)
Mark Tenn, BHSc (McMaster University), MSc (Queen's University)
David Werstler, HBSc (University of Waterloo), MSc Student (University of Toronto)
Jenny Yu, HBSc (University of Toronto), MD (University of Toronto)
Development and Communications Liason
Karen Ng, HBSc (York University), PharmD Student (University of Toronto)
Editorial and Advisory Board Members
Umair Majid, HBSc (McMaster University), MSc (McMaster University), MEd Student (Queen's University)
The URNCST Journal strives to keep submissions free of charge, however, we require that authors pay a minimal one-time publication fee per article, in the event that it is accepted. While just as you would pay for transport, food, the printing of a poster, and registration to attend a conference, the URNCST Journal fees are the primary source of revenue that allows us to cover our costs associated with maintaining our web domain/hosting, open access system, peer-review, copyediting, typesetting, improving the visibility of your articles, and membership fees. That being said, opportunities to receive discounts are explained below. Furthermore, if you are an author wishing to publish research originating from a research conference that had their abstract book published by the URNCST Journal, please apply your discount coupon received at the conference. If after all funding avenues have been exhausted, in exceptional circumstances students who may lack the funds needed to cover the article processing fee can request an additional discount by filling out an Additional Discount Form.
Our fee schedule is as follows:
Review – Comprehensive Literature, Scoping, Systematic or Meta-Analysis Review)
Inquire with us at email@example.com
As a newly launched journal, we are currently offering a limited time offer discount of up to 25% on your first accepted article’s publication fee!
Here is how to receive your 25% discount, upon your article’s acceptance in the URNCST Journal:
1. Receive a 5% discount when you 1) like our Facebook page and 2) post the following message on your Facebook wall (please ensure that your “@URNCST Journal” links to our page, and that your post is made public):
My research article has just been accepted by the Undergraduate Research for Natural and Clinical Science and Technology (#URNCST) [pronounced “earnest”] Journal! The @URNCST Journal is a peer-reviewed, indexed, and open access research journal that is ideal for publishing summer student, research placement, or senior thesis research. Read my paper and submit your own at www.urncst.com!
2. Receive a 5% discount when you post the following message to your university’s Facebook group (please ensure that the “@URNCST Journal” links to our page):
Are you an undergraduate student interested in publishing your scientific research in a scholarly journal? The Undergraduate Research for Natural and Clinical Science and Technology (#URNCST) [pronounced “earnest”] Journal is currently accepting submissions for our inaugural issue! Peer-reviewed, indexed, and open access, the @URNCST Journal is ideal for publishing undergraduate summer student, research placement, or senior thesis research. Submit your paper at www.urncst.com!
3. Receive a 5% discount when you 1) follow our Twitter page and 2) post the following message to on your Twitter feed (please ensure that the “@URNCST Journal” links to our page, and note that this discount is only available if your tweet is public (i.e. NOT protected):
Attn undergrad researchers: My article is being published in @URNCST Journal! Read my paper & submit yours at www.urncst.com today!
4. Receive a 5% discount when you 1) like our LinkedIn page and 2) post the following message to your LinkedIn feed (please ensure that your “@URNCST Journal” links to our page, and that the post is set to “Public + Twitter”):
Are you an undergraduate student interested in publishing your scientific research in a scholarly journal? My research article has just been accepted by the Undergraduate Research for Natural and Clinical Science and Technology (URNCST) [pronounced “earnest”] Journal! The @URNCST Journal is a peer-reviewed, indexed, and open access research journal that is ideal for publishing summer student, research placement, or senior thesis research. Read my paper and submit your own at at www.urncst.com!
5. Choose ONLY ONE of the following three options:
○ If you ARE NOT an URNCST Journal Ambassador but WERE referred by one: Receive a 5% discount when you declare the name of the URNCST Journal Ambassador who referred you to make an article submission.
○ If you ARE NOT an URNCST Journal Ambassador and WERE NOT referred by one: Become one and receive $10 USD for your first accepted and published article submission referral. If interested, please answer the question in the box below, then visit https://urncst.com/index.php/urncst/ambassador to download the application.
○ If you ARE an URNCST Journal Ambassador and wish to claim your 10% discount, please provide the citation of your first accepted and published article submission referral in the box below. Please note that the 10% discount is applied to the FINAL article publishing fee (i.e. after all above discounts, if any, are applied).
Once you have completed the step(s) for the discount(s) you wish to apply to your publication fee, please download the Discount Verification Form, and once completed, upload it as a supplemental file using the same account you used to make your original manuscript submission.
Publication Ethics and Misconduct
The URNCST Journal seeks to publish undergraduate research of the highest quality and takes publication ethics and misconduct very seriously. Whether you are an editor, peer-reviewer, or author, if you are unfamiliar with publication ethics and misconduct, please take a moment to read about it on the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) website here. In the event of an URNCST Journal team member suspecting a case of misconduct, the URNCST Journal will handle each situation on a case-by-case basis by referring to the COPE flowcharts.