Undergraduate research journal relaunches at USM


This academic year, The University of Southern Mississippi will be relaunching its research publication, “The Catalyst.”

The Catalyst is an open access journal that allows undergraduate students the opportunity to submit their own research articles to be published. The journal is published through the Aquila Digital Community allowing students access to the published research articles online. It is released by a student- led editorial team along the support of the Center for Undergraduate Research.

Josh Cromwell, the Institutional Repository Coordinator for the USM Libraries, has been one of the faculty advisors of the publication in years past and described the changes that will be made this year.

“The Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research (DCUR) has been vital to the relaunch of Catalyst,” Cromwell said. “In the past, the journal has typically been the responsibility of individual faculty members who had to try to balance their own workload in addition to working with the student editors to manage the journal, meaning that issues were published quite infrequently. However, with the entire DCUR team now overseeing the journal, it should now be far more sustainable than it has been in the past.”

The changes are expected to take place in the next issue. “The Catalyst” began using the Aquila online forum in 2015 and, so far, has seen much success. JD Rimann, a graduate of USM, was previously the student editor of The Catalyst.

“One of the real benefits of publishing online is that we will now be able to display research done in video format in a way that could not be possible in traditional print format,” Rimann said. “When you’re applying to grad school, these top schools expect students to have already been engaged in undergraduate research. Furthermore, the very top tier [universities] absolutely expect students to have already been published.”

Cromwell encouraged students who are currently involved in research to consider “The Catalyst” as a showcase for their findings.

“‘The Catalyst’ exists specifically to highlight the research and scholarship of undergraduates at Southern Miss, and my hope is that our students will take advantage of that opportunity,” Cromwell said.

Cromwell said the research journal great opportunity for students to learn about the process of submitting their research to a journal, which he said is a vital skill if they intend to pursue graduate study.

“Many graduate schools already look for evidence that prospective students are conducting research and publishing their findings, so having your work featured in The Catalyst is a great way to accomplish this,” Cromwell said.

According to the research journal’s website, “the purpose of the journal is to bring the importance of undergraduate research to the full attention of faculty, staff, and students, and to serve as a showcase for the high level of academic excellence and prestigious research generated at The University of Southern Mississippi.”

Through the Aquila online forum, students are able to apply and submit their research directly through The Catalyst’s website as well as read previous issues online.