Students Launch First National Undergraduate Research Journal

December 03, 1998

DURHAM, N.C. -- The first national research journal for undergraduates has published its premier online issue (at http://www.jyi.org), beginning what its student-founders hope will become a centerpiece for encouraging students to launch research careers in science and engineering.

The inaugural issue of The National Journal of Young Investigators (JYI) includes a broad range of undergraduate-authored articles in biological and biomedical sciences, physical sciences and mathematics, and basic engineering sciences.

For example, the first issue includes undergraduate studies ranging from the movement of tidal channels in Venice, Italy, to the molecular biology of healing injuries in the nerve of a squid.

JYI is a faculty- and student-reviewed, peer-edited and -published national journal whose staff is composed of undergraduate students from diverse academic institutions. The journal is advised by Science and funded by The National Science Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, GlaxoWellcome, Duke University and Swarthmore College.

"While many undergraduates participate in scientific research, too few have the opportunity to communicate their research and results to other students -- especially outside their institutions," said the journal's chief executive officer, Andrew Medina-Marino, Swarthmore College '00. "JYI answers this need by recognizing the significance of publication as an integral component of science and research training.

"At the heart of JYI's mission, we hope to provide a forum for us, the undergraduate scientists, to showcase and publish our research, discuss our experiences and communicate with the scientific community our thoughts, ideas and concerns. More specifically, JYI aims to provide a forum in which we, as young scientists, may communicate with each other and form a cohesive community across the traditional barriers of specific scientific disciplines and fields of study."

According to Burroughs Wellcome Fund President Enriqueta C. Bond, "Fostering the career development of young biomedical scientists is a cornerstone of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund's grantmaking strategy. We therefore are delighted to support a project that can be instrumental in recruiting the best and brightest students to careers in research."

Said Duke University President Nannerl O. Keohane, "Duke is pleased to have helped this important journal become a reality. The country's research universities pride themselves on their ability to offer their undergraduates the chance to work alongside some of the most productive scientists and engineers on leading-edge investigations. However, we recognize that a truly complete research experience also means giving students the opportunity to bring their research projects to full fruition, in the form of published articles in peer-reviewed journals. JYI offers just such a unique opportunity."

Medina-Marino said that while the first issue of the tri-annual JYI features reviews and original research articles by undergraduates, "future installments will expand to include general and undergraduate science news, information on internships and summer research programs, and a virtual community for undergraduate dialogue. JYI promises to evolve through the inherent advantages of web-based publication, allowing essentially unlimited distribution and access, and a capacity for technological innovation."

The journal project was begun in February 1997 by five undergraduates from three institutions: Brown University, Duke and Swarthmore. Together with two undergraduates from Johns Hopkins University, the seven students serve as the board of directors, which guides the editorial direction of the journal.

JYI has grown to involve more than 40 undergraduate scientists in all disciplines who serve as associate and section editors. It is an autonomous organization, advised by a group of seven professionals and faculty members who serve on the steering committee.

"JYI is continually seeking editors and paper submissions for future issues," emphasized Medina-Marino.
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