About the Journal
The Undergraduate Research in Natural and Clinical Sciences and Technology (URNCST) Journal was launched in 2017, and is the leading publisher for undergraduate research conferences spanning broad and multidisciplinary fields. Undergraduate research conferences and case competitions are held globally, yet their abstracts often go unpublished, thus the URNCST Journal was established to provide undergraduate conference planning committees with a meaningful way to establish their legacy as well as provide undergraduate students attending these conferences with the opportunity to see their abstract formally published. Furthermore, the journal typically works with each conference planning committee to provide exceptional undergraduate researchers the opportunity to submit a full article resulting from the conference abstract they presented. The journal also provides 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 abstracts 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 professional-level journal. One option then is for the undergraduate researcher to submit their work to an undergraduate-level research conference, however, very few conferences publish their abstract books. Of the few that do, even fewer index their abstract books to a scholarly database such as Google Scholar, and thus, an undergraduate researcher's work may never be found even if the journal publishes in an open access format.
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 primarily publishes abstracts for undergraduate-level conferences and case competitions internationally in the areas of natural and clinical science and technology. The authors of these abstracts must be undergraduate (i.e. BSc, BEng, BA, etc.) or professional-undergraduate (i.e. MD, DDS, PharmD, OD, RN, etc.) students 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 typically accept the following types of article submissions:
1. Articles from individual undergraduate authors (i.e. primary article, review article, or clinical case study) that have not been selected to make a submission to the journal through an undergraduate research conference.
2. Abstracts/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.), with the exception of conferences that accept research abstracts from undergraduate and graduate students.
3. Abstracts/articles that focus on research outside of a natural or clinical science or technology discipline (i.e. humanities, social sciences, fine arts, etc.), unless there is a linkage between scopes such as an interdisciplinary conference.
4. 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.
Conference Planners: The URNCST Journal's main focus is to publish abstracts accepted by undergraduate and/or professional-undergraduate research conferences. As the journal's scope is already broad and multidisciplinary, in order for a conference to be eligible to publish their research abstracts in the URNCST Journal, the content of their abstracts must fall within a natural and clinical science and technology discipline. For example, the URNCST Journal will publish the abstracts for a general science conference, but not a science and arts conference. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Selected Individual Authors: The URNCST journal only publishes articles written by indivdual undergraduate researchers if they were selected to submit an article at a research conference that had their abstract book published by the journal. Such conference proceedings are typically in the form of 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.
Peer Review Process
Conference Planners: It is expected that the undergraduate conference planning committee will hold their own peer-review process to screen for which abstracts they wish to see presented at their conference. The URNCST Journal requires that each planning committee will take the necessary steps to ensure that all abstracts are sufficiently worthy of publication and that consent has been obtained from all authors of all abstracts to have their work published in the journal.
For Selected Individual Authors: 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 abstracts and articles on an ongoing and continuous basis, meaning that your manuscript 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 in the future (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, researchers, and exceptionally talented undergraduate students/graduates 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 email@example.com, 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.
The Managing Editor and Deputy Editor(s) will:
○ assist the Editor-in-Chief in all of his or her aformentioned roles.
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), PhD Student (McMaster University)
Umair Majid, HBSc (McMaster University), MSc (McMaster University), MEd (Queen's University), PhD Student (University of Toronto)
Jae Hyun Byun, HBSc (McMaster University), MSc Student (McMaster Universty)
Molly Cowls, HBSc Student (McMaster University)
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)
Laura Mawdsley, HBSc (Queen's University), MSc Student (Western University)
Desmond She, HBSc (University of Toronto), MD (University of Toronto)
Mark Tenn, BHSc (McMaster University), MSc (Queen's University)
David Werstler, HBSc (University of Waterloo)
Jennifer Williams, HBSc (Queen's University), MSc Student (Queen's University)
Development and Communications Liason
Karen Ng, HBSc (York University), PharmD Student (University of Toronto)
Editorial and Advisory Board Directors
Humayun Ahmed, BA (Drake University), MSc Student (University of Toronto),
Sohaib Ahmed, HBSc (University of Toronto)
Sophia Glisch, HBSc Student (University of Toronto)
Editorial and Advisory Board Members
Jamie Ghossein, BSc (University of Ottawa), MD Student (University of Ottawa)
Jonathan Hunter, MB, BCh, BAO Student (University College Dublin)
Rosemary James, MB, BCh, BAO Student (National University of Ireland, Galway)
The URNCST Journal strives to keep submissions free of charge, however, we require that conference planning committees pay a minimal one-time publication fee to publish their conference abstract book. 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. Please note that the URNCST Journal only publishes articles written by indivdual undergraduate researchers if they were selected to submit an article at a research conference that had their abstract book published by the URNCST Journal. The cost of such a publication is typically covered by the conference.
Our fee schedule is as follows:
Conference Abstract Booklet
Inquire with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Conference Short Report
Inquire with us at email@example.com
Conference Proceeding: Primary Research, Review (Comprehensive Literature, Scoping, Systematic or Meta-Analysis Review), or Research Protocol
Inquire with us at firstname.lastname@example.org; Often included within conference abstract book costs
Conference planning committees who wish to publish their abstracts or short reports in the URNCST Journal should always contact us prior to making a submission. The URNCST Journal strives keep publishing costs affordable by offering a number of different payment models to better serve each conference.
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.