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New research journal features undergraduate students' multidisciplinary research

Tuesday, April 15, 2014



MANHATTAN — A new undergraduate journal will encourage multidisciplinary research and enable students to share their discoveries with a wider community of scholars.

Crossing Borders: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Scholarship is a collaborative effort from departments and programs within Kansas State University. Karin Westman, head of the English department and a journal editor, said the open-access journal will be published online twice a year by New Prairie Press, an online imprint of K-State Libraries.

"Crossing Borders introduces undergraduates to the processes and values of open-access, peer-reviewed communication," Westman said. "The mission of the journal is to prepare students to be more critical consumers and producers of scholarly discourse."

The journal is a partnership between K-State Libraries, the English department, the University Honors Program and Frontier, an interdisciplinary program involving undergraduate students at Kansas State University and a number of other universities. Westman said Crossing Borders will publish a variety of formats, including original case studies, literature reviews, opinion pieces and research reports. Students from Kansas State University and other universities are invited to submit their work for review.

The journal defines interdisciplinary work as teams or individuals integrating information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts and/or theories from two or more disciplines. This information must be used to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research. Westman said all content in the journal is written solely by undergraduate students who contributed substantially to the research or creative activity on which the writing is based.

Cliff Hight, university archivist and assistant professor at K-State Libraries, said that while Kansas State University undergraduate students have been publishing research for decades, a majority of it has been in magazines or newsletters.

"The significance of Crossing Borders is that the interdisciplinary approach will broaden the field of undergraduate study involved in publishing research, as well as generate connections that haven't been made previously," Hight said.

The launch of this journal underscores the importance of undergraduate research in the university's plan to become a Top 50 public research university by 2025. Justin Kastner, associate professor of food safety and security, director for the University Honors Program and co-director of Frontier, said there has never been a better time for Kansas State University students to be involved in undergraduate research.

"Crossing Borders presents yet another resource for undergraduate research while strategically advancing the university's educational mission," Kastner said. "As students author manuscripts from multiple academic perspectives, they must interpret discipline-specific language. This involves critical thinking — a skill that both the university and employers value."

Westman said tutors in the English department's writing center will be available to help students tailor their ideas for an interdisciplinary audience, revise their drafts for submission and review, and prepare accepted manuscripts for publication.

The journal may be viewed at http://newprairiepress.org/crossingborders/. The website also includes guidelines and policies for submissions.

Inaugural editors include Westman; Jason Coleman, undergraduate and community services librarian; and Jason Ackleson, Frontier co-director. Additional editorial support is provided by Stacia Gray, managing editor and English instructor; and Tim Cochran, editorial assistant and assistant in the University Honors Program. The editorial team can be contacted at crossingborders@k-state.edu.

Written by

Megan Saunders

At a glance

New undergraduate research journal features multidisciplinary collaborations.