Publishing your research work is a great opportunity to showcase your work and contributions to your discipline. It will also contribute to your future if you plan to pursue an advanced degree in graduate school.
It is not common for undergraduate students to publish during their undergraduate education due to the time commitment and process. Several students are added as contributors to research publications after they graduate. Your mentor will consider adding you if you contribute a significant amount of work or help the group make progress with your efforts.
There are several steps to publishing and the first should be a discussion with your mentor. In addition to UC Merced, there are several opportunities to publish your research work so discuss the possibility with your mentor to prepare a manuscript.
The Undergraduate Research Journal strives to feature research from the various schools in order to show what can be accomplished when the definition of "research" is expanded. The journal aims to accuratley portray the diversity of research in which students at UC Merced are engaged in, as well as, connect faculty and students by highlighting the value of an interdisciplinary approach to research.
The Council on Undergraduate Research has a long list of research journals for students to consider submission. Connect to the CUR website to view journals by specific disciplines, multidisciplinary journals, and to learn about the submission precess that varies by journal.
Why publish research as an undergraduate student?
1. To help improve writing and research skills.
The process of researching, writing, editing, and publishing an article for the first time will provide valuable feedback on what steps may require improvement and where strengths may be. Going through these steps will improve writing and research skills that will be useful in graduate studies or a professional career.
2. To experience the scholarly publication process.
Publication is a requirement in many disciplines. Going through the process as an undergraduate will make the experience familiar when it may be required later. It will also provide context and understanding of the field.
3. To connect with professors and researchers.
Faculty in the department the journal is connected to will likely be involved in the publication or post-publication process. Publishing in the journal will help connect students to those faculty members in a way that isn’t often achieved in the typical classroom setting. Publishing may also help students connect with other professionals and researchers in the field, providing new opportunities for collaboration and future study.
4. To display leadership and initiative.
Working as part of the editorial team or being involved in the publication process is hard work. Faculty, employers, and graduate school admissions committee members will understand this and recognize pursuing this endeavor as an example of leadership and drive.
5. To professionalize the undergraduate experience.
Having a published paper will provide a certain level of professionalization to a resume that many undergraduates do not have. It will signal to graduate school committees and employers that steps were taken to seriously pursue research interests. Published paper may also be useful as a writing sample in graduate school applications.
6. To inform a future career path.
The process of publishing a paper may help inform a future career path and illuminate opportunities that may otherwise have not been considered. It may pique a student’s interest in pursuing publishing or graduate studies as the next step after completion of an undergraduate degree. Alternatively, it may confirm to other students that they wish to pursue other interests outside of academia. Working with faculty and other student researchers will allow students to enter a scholarly community that may help them decide on a future career path. Either way, the process will be valuable in assisting students in deciding what the next step will be.
Taken from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: