A University of Louisville student group is launching a peer-reviewed journal to highlight undergraduate research and scholarship across all disciplines, from astrophysics to art history.
The journal, The Cardinal Edge, will publish its first annual issue in the spring of 2021. Jahnavi Sunkara, a joint chief editor, said the goal is to help UofL undergraduates share their work.
“The point of research is to communicate it,” said Sunkara, a junior biology major and Guaranteed Entrance to Medical School (GEMS) student. “We wanted to create an opportunity for undergraduate students at UofL to do that, because they’re doing some really amazing research in lots of different fields.”
The Cardinal Edge editorial team worked with UofL Libraries to develop an open-access portal on ThinkIR, the university’s institutional research database, where students can submit their work and read the journal. The first issue will be completely digital — and free — but the team plans to print physical copies of future issues.
Students can submit their full-length manuscripts, abstracts and brief reports through December for the spring issue. The journal also will focus on the research culture at UofL with spotlight articles on student researchers and current topics in research, such as diversity and COVID-19’s impact.
Currently, only UofL students can submit articles to the journal, but there is a possibility that the team may accept work from other universities in the future. Submitted papers will be evaluated by faculty and students through a single-blind peer review, in which the identities of reviewers are kept hidden.
“It was important to us to have students involved in every single aspect of the process,” said Betty Ngo, a sophomore psychology major, Grawemeyer Scholar and joint chief editor. “It’s a research journal by students, for students. Students are our authors, reviewers, staffers and readers.”
Priyadarshini Chandrashekhar, a junior biology major, Vogt Scholar and a joint chief editor, said the goal is to provide opportunities for undergraduate students to share ideas and gain experience, whether conducting research, publishing their findings or working on an editorial board.
Aside from faculty advisers Mark Running and Shira Rabin, of the Department of Biology, and their journal sponsor, Charlie Leonard, executive director of the UofL Grawemeyer Awards, every member of the 14-person editorial staff is an undergraduate student.
“They’re all students,” Chandrashekhar said. “And they can participate in everything — design, review, outreach. It’s a great experience.”
For Ngo’s part, working for and publishing in The Cardinal Edge could show graduate school admissions reviewers that she has research experience and is familiar with the publication process. Chandrashekhar and Sunkara have their eyes on medical school.
“This will help me later in my career,” Sunkara said. “It’s such a unique experience and I really feel we’re building something special here that can contribute to the long-term growth of UofL’s research culture.”
by Bailee Pulliam
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Founded in 1978, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) focuses on providing high-quality and collaborative undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activity. Among the many activities and networking opportunities that CUR provides, the organization also offers support for the professional growth of faculty and administrators through expert-designed institutes, conferences, and a wide-range of volunteer positions. The CUR community, made up of nearly 700 institutions and 13,000 individuals, continues to provide a platform for discussion and other resources related to mentoring, connecting, and creating relationships centered around undergraduate research. CUR’s advocacy efforts are also a large portion of its work as they strive to strengthen support for undergraduate research. Its continued growth in connections with representatives, private foundations, government agencies, and campuses world-wide provides value to its members and gives voice to undergraduate research. CUR is committed to inclusivity and diversity in all of its activities and our community.
CUR focuses on giving a voice to undergraduate research with learning through doing. It provides connections to a multitude of campuses and government agencies, all while promoting networking and professional growth to its community.