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 case competition was established to showcase the most valuable and impactful work that undergraduates have to offer. The competition takes 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, and authors of accepted abstracts will be eligible to publish a full article in the format of a research protocol based on their abstract. Authors enjoy all the benefits of publishing in the URNCST Journal, including rigorous peer-review, open access, and archiving and indexing.
Eligibility to Participate: The URNCST Journal hosts one abstract competition annually open to undergraduate students internationally. It is open to authors who completed their abstract while enrolled in an undergraduate (i.e. BSc, BEng, BA, etc.) or professional-undergraduate (i.e. MD, DDS, PharmD, OD, RN, etc.) degree program. You may submit an abstract at any point during the duration of the competition as submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.
About the Competition: Students participating in the URNCST Journal Case Competition are required to submit an abstract relating to the proposed topic below, however, they do not require a supervisor and do not need to have any prior research experience. An excellent understanding of the scientific process is necessary in order for your abstract to be accepted. Only authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to write a full-length research protocol article for the URNCST Journal which will then undergo peer-review and be considered for publication. Please note that while there is no fee to submit an abstract, there is an article processing fee applied should your invited research protocol be accepted for publication following peer-review. Please be sure to read the Frequently Asked Questions (below) carefully before beginning the process of submitting an abstract.
Topic: The emergence of fad diets and nutrition has become more prominent within the last decade. Fad diets are often defined as stylish weight-loss plans that promise dramatic results. Many of these involve eliminating foods that contain necessary nutrients and even cut entire food groups. There are many different types of fad diets but they all have one thing in common: they offer a temporary solution for what is usually a lifelong problem. Once the diet is stopped, the lost weight is often regained since none of these diets affect change in ones behaviour. The impact of these diets have been observed in various fields ranging from addictions and mental health, cardiovascular health, diabetes/heart disease and other such diseases. As a result, we welcome submissions from any science or technology discipline exploring nutrition and fad diets in their research fields.
Period of Abstract Submission: January-December 2020
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are there a maximum number of abstracts that can be accepted for either competition?
A: No, however, we recommend the submission of a single abstract, as abstracts themselves are not published; only authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to write a paper for the URNCST Journal which will be considered for publication. The quality of content takes priority over the quantity of abstracts submitted.
Q: How often is each competition held? When can I submit an abstract?
A: Abstracts can be submitted to the URNCST Journal Case Competition at any time during the period of abstract submission, which is listed above.
Q: How many undergraduate students can be listed on an abstract submission?
A: Anywhere between 1 and 5 (co-)authors. We highly encourage abstract submissions with 2-5 co-authors to minimize the cost per person, in the event that authors are invited to publish a full-length paper based on their submitted abstract. It is expected that all authors listed on the abstract are prepared to co-write this paper.
Q: What are the abstract formatting guidelines?
A: The formatting guidelines for the competition should be based on the URNCST Journal abstract template; 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 may be included with your abstract.
Q: Does my abstract need a supervising author?
A: Students participating in the URNCST Journal Case Competition are not required to have a supervisor.
Q: Is there a fee associated with the competition?
A: Yes. There is no fee to submit an abstract. Should you be invited to write a full-length research protocol based on your submitted abstract AND it is accepted for publication, you will be asked to cover a one time article processing fee of $300.00 CAD (or the equivalent in your local currency) plus applicable taxes to the URNCST Journal. This fee is only payable upon acceptance of your article (i.e. it is guaranteed that it will be published) and will not apply if your abstract or article is not accepted for publication. This fee exists as the URNCST Journal is an independent publication unaffiliated with any university or academic institution, and this fee supports the journal’s day-to-day operations (i.e. peer-review, server costs, indexing, etc.). As this fee is PER article, we highly encourage abstract submissions with 2-5 co-authors to minimize the cost per person.
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: Within the pool of all abstracts submitted, the URNCST Journal will only invite authors of high quality abstracts to write a full-length research protocol to be considered for publication in the journal.