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Publicising and Publishing Undergraduate Research Martin Luck School of Biosciences Sutton Bonington Campus.

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Presentation on theme: "Publicising and Publishing Undergraduate Research Martin Luck School of Biosciences Sutton Bonington Campus."— Presentation transcript:

1 Publicising and Publishing Undergraduate Research Martin Luck School of Biosciences Sutton Bonington Campus

2 Context Usual for u/g students to do a research project May be required by QAA Subject Benchmark Research projects are usually Carried out in final year Heavily weighted parts of the degree Research project a major part of the degree for >50y Last for a complete calendar year or two semesters Students are expected to find out something new Involve Lab work Field studies Surveys Literature review Data analysis Very occasionally, part of another publication Seldom published alone The Biosciences Experience

3 Values The research project is An opportunity for in-depth investigation A unique piece of individual study A source of skills and specialist knowledge An opportunity for deep learning and understanding Students often remember their project as a defining part of their degree course It brings “ownership” of the degree subject But, research projects are often Time consuming Resource intensive Personally demanding and require imagination, patience and commitment

4 Values For the student, the research project should be: Real research, not contrived Individual Pedagogically valid Focussed on process as well as outcome For staff, the research project should be: An opportunity for personalised, student-focussed teaching A link between research and teaching …and it may be A chance to test research ideas A way of increasing research output Most undergraduate research dissertations remain hidden and unloved on departmental shelves

5 How can we bring student research into the public domain? Set up a Divisional research journal Precedents at two other UK Universities Large-scale examples in US Set up a Divisional research website No ideal precedents The challenge Informal publicityFull publication

6 A “proper” publication Career value for students Good for School and Uni PR Worth supervisory effort The challenge – pros and cons Full publication – a Divisional research journal Needs complex editorial structure Involves peer review Risk of variable quality Costs: staffing, publication, continuation No peer review Career value for students Good for School and Uni PR Simple to administer Open to non-traditional research Not a full publication Depends on student enthusiasm Supervisory support not guaranteed Informal publicity – a “research showcase”

7 The result First edition: 2006 www.nottingham.ac.uk/BURN BURN showcase Freely available, web-based resource Up to eight research articles per year Re-written undergraduate projects Single authored articles Accessible but informative, scientific style Articles include: Author profiles HOD’s introduction Editor’s welcome

8 The mechanism www.nottingham.ac.uk/BURN BURN showcase AdaptableSimple format Not discipline-dependent Easy to manage Divisions recommend best project students (after June exam board). Supervisors give consent Students invited to participate Students write article to showcase format Submitted articles checked for readability, style, format, copyright Light editing/negotiation Articles web mounted as they are completed (Autumn)

9 Practicalities www.nottingham.ac.uk/BURN BURN showcase Divisional staff need to co-operate in student selection Students need to respond and stay in touch after graduation Editorial load can be heavy Requires low level expertise in website management and design Supervisors need to cooperate Support by senior staff Good publicity Some need to be chased! Minimal supervisor responsibility Easy. Learn on the job Needs a staff member

10 Evaluation www.nottingham.ac.uk/BURN BURN showcase Currently Into fourth year Students are enthusiastic, keen to contribute Used in School publicity Used in student CVs Interest from other Schools Interest from other Universities Part of the degree assessment process

11 The alternative - Full publication Nottingham is part of the consortium of universities which set up Bioscience Horizons, the National Undergraduate Research Journal http://biohorizons.oxfordjournals.org/current.dtl

12 Bioscience Horizons http://biohorizons.oxfordjournals.org/current.dtl Research Journal ISSN-numbered, citable research journal Publishes single-authored, student research papers and reviews Papers are expert reviewed Founded 2007 in association with OUP One volume, two issues per year 20-25 articles per year Web format, free access So far (Vols 1 and 2): 33000 full text downloads Unique in the UK

13 Conclusions Undergraduate research can and should be published: Don’t waste it! Formal and informal approaches are possible Models are available to follow Resource requirements can be fairly modest and manageable.


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