Annual journal unique to SDSU

Not many universities can lay claim to having a journal for their undergraduate students to publish research articles in, but South Dakota State is one university that does have an undergraduate journal, called the SDSU JUR (Journal of Undergraduate Research).

This year will be the journal’s 12th volume.

Typically the journal boasts an average of six to 12 articles per issue, but Volume 12 features eight research articles on a variety of topics.

One article, “Identifying Promising New Falcata Alfalfa Populations for use in Semiarid Rangelands” was compiled and written by senior ecology and environmental science major Derek Kannenberg.

According to Kannenberg, he did research for the article during the summer of 2013, when he worked with a professor in a lab. His professor encouraged him to submit his research to the JUR.

Another SDSU student, Marcus Heemstra, a senior math major, submitted an article entitled “The Mathematics of Spot It.”

According to Heemstra, the focus of this article was to explain the mathematics of the card game Spot It and to potentially come up with alternate versions of the game. He did the research as a requirement for his major and one of his professors persuaded him to submit the article to the JUR.

According to SDSU Vice President of Research Kevin Kephart, the process of getting an article published in the JUR can take anywhere from three months to one year. He said that initial manuscripts will come in late May or June and then Kephart and his team of reviewers identify and assign reviewers to mark up the drafts with suggested edits. The papers are then sent back to the student and their advisor so that they can make the suggested edits, usually around August. After the students make the suggested edits the students send the edited paper back in and the reviewers may make more edits. Eventually, the journal is published, usually around Thanksgiving.

Kephart encourages students who have done formal research to submit a draft to the journal.

“I want to make a broader awareness to students that the journal is there,” he said.

Students should not fear rejection because Kephart said that the journal has accepted all articles. 

“We haven’t rejected any student yet,” he said. “We work very closely with students to get the paper in the final form.”

Kannenberg and Heemstra reference the benefits of submitting an article to the JUR. 

“It looks great on a resume,” Kannenberg said. “It also shows that you know how to work with a team.”

For those going into grad school, Kephart said that it is excellent prep for the peer-reviewed journals a graduate student must submit research articles to. 

“This is a really great way to get your feet wet before you actually go to the real peer-reviewed journals, which can sometimes be pretty harsh,” Kannenberg said.

Heemstra said that after all the time and work spent on a research project it feels good to get an article published in the journal. 

“It feels pretty good to be recognized for all the hard work and hours that you put in doing all that hard work,” Heemstra said.