Aims and Scope
The Journal of Undergraduate Research in Alberta (JURA) is a peer-reviewed bi-annual journal, based out of University of Calgary. JURA publishes original research articles, case studies, methods and extended abstracts of undergraduate researchers. It accepts article submissions relating to biomedical engineering and science, including biomechanics, neuroscience, cellular biology/engineering and medical imaging, with undergraduate primary authors. Articles and abstracts published in JURA are selected for their methodology, interpretation of results, quality of writing and accessibility for a wide audience. Novelty or level of contribution to respective research fields are not considered in the selection criteria.
JURA’s Mission Statement
First, to prepare undergraduate students for future academic publication success by providing an avenue for students to familiarize themselves with the academic peer-reviewed publication process. Through publishing in JURA, undergraduate students can develop their scientific communication skills and gain practical experience in all aspects of the publication process; from formulating their findings into a clear and concise article to responding to reviewers and incorporating feedback. Second, to disseminate the results and work of undergraduate students to the University of Calgary and the wider Albertan population in a fashion that conveys the importance and significance of undergraduate research opportunities.
JURA is a bi-annual publication with one full edition of original articles, case studies and methods released in September and one special edition for accepted conference/symposium extended abstracts released in January. Undergraduate students are free to submit manuscripts at any time however the deadline to be published is June 1st for the upcoming full edition and October 1st for special edition. JURA will still accept manuscripts after these deadlines however the accepted manuscripts will be held for the following edition.
The Peer Review Process
Submitted articles and abstracts are first examined by the editorial board and a decision is made on whether to refer the manuscript for external peer review. Manuscripts will initially be assessed based on alignment to JURA’s scope and manuscript guidelines. Authors will be provided with a letter of rejection describing the reason for rejection and will have an opportunity to adjust their manuscript for resubmission.
Manuscripts that are approved by the editorial board are then appointed two or three reviewers based on each manuscript’s subject matter and the author’s conflict of interest statement. JURA’s reviewers consist of professors, post-doctoral fellows, and PhD Candidates at the University of Calgary. Reviewers will critically assess manuscripts based on the following criteria:
- Clarity, organization, and style
- Motivation for the study based on literature
- Reasonable scope
- Strong methodology
- Presentation and interpretation of results
Reviewers will have four weeks to provide feedback for full articles and two weeks for extended abstracts. Once notified of reviewers’ decision, authors will have three weeks to respond to reviewers’ comments and resubmit a revised version. Manuscripts are then sent back to reviewers for a final decision. Failure on the author’s part to incorporate feedback in a timely manner may delay manuscript publication to the following edition. The entire publication process should be around 8-12 weeks long. Accepted full manuscripts will have their abstract published on JURA’s website immediately with the full article being published in the upcoming journal edition. Accepted extended abstracts will be published in the upcoming JURA special addition.
All authors retain all rights to their research work. Articles may be submitted to and accepted in other journals after publishing in JURA with the exception of other undergraduate journals. Authors however should be aware of academic journals of interest prior publication policies as most journals do not accept manuscripts that have been published elsewhere-JURA included.
Open access information and permission
Biomedical engineering and science research can change lives on a large scale with lasting positive impact. In an age of misinformation, it then becomes even more important to provide places for viewing reputable peer-reviewed research. As such, JURA is a strong proponent of scientific research being accessible to the public and broader scientific community. All journal publications will be open access with their content freely available for viewing and download through the JURA website.
Conflict of Interest Policy
A financial or personal relationship between authors, reviewers, and sponsors that may influence the outcome of research or the peer-review process constitutes a conflict of interest. All authors are required to disclose all their financial and personal relationships that may affect their research and JURA’s publication process in a conflict of interest statement. Specifically, authors should provide a list of supervisors, postdoctoral fellows, and PhD students in their lab or who work in collaboration with the author who might or may be seen as bias in the review process. Reviewers themselves should disclose any potential conflicts of interest regarding the authors and if necessary, remove themselves from the review process.