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USM’s Gulf and Caribbean Research Journal Gives Undergraduate Students Publication Opportunities & Experiences

Fri, 04/12/2024 - 09:46am | By: Gabriela Shinskie


Imagine having the opportunity to publish undergraduate research in a scientific peer-reviewed journal. The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) Gulf and Caribbean Research (GCR) Journal offers research publishing experience for anyone interested in making a scientific impact in marine and coastal sciences.

For 63 years, the journal has published peer-reviewed research to a diverse community looking to make a mark in science. Dr. Mark S. Peterson and Nancy Brown-Peterson, editors of the GCR, have been dedicated to the journal for 30 years. Mark became Editor-in-Chief in 1994 and realized the significance of the journal’s presence for USM. He later created an editorial board comprised of Associate Editors within the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) and additional external Associate Editors throughout the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and Latin America to ignite the journal in the community. Nancy started working with the journal in 2008, first as assistant editor and then as co-editor since 2015. Despite both Nancy and Mark officially “retiring” from USM in 2016, they continue their jobs as co-editors of the journal.

Gulf and Caribbean Research receives submissions from across the globe based on research conducted within the GOM, Caribbean, and Latin America regions. With Nancy’s fluency in Spanish, she can help translate many submissions into better English to publish in the journal, once the paper is accepted by external reviewers. The journal has taken off exponentially, and since 2019, a growing partnership with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) opened the door for undergraduates to publish their own work.

“Early on in students’ careers, this partnership gets them integrated into research. It helps them to understand good science. It’s also good for the journal to work with undergraduates,” states Mark.

The DISL collaboration has resulted in GCR publishing 24 peer-reviewed short research communications by undergraduate students participating in the National Science Foundation-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. Having a student publish an article electrifies their interest in research, writing, and publishing, and gives them good experience with extensive peer reviews.

“For an undergraduate student to get a publication is huge!” said Mark.

The journal has attracted submissions from undergraduate students participating in the REU program from across the country. A renewal of the program is set to be decided in the summer.

“We are hoping to continue this program,” said Nancy.

GCR moved in 2016 to online publication with help from Josh Cromwell, Scholarly Communications Manager and Administrator of The Aquila Digital Community, USM Libraries. An online presence expedites accepted articles to be published and distributed quicker to the community. Additionally, the journal received a Scopus Citescore of 1.7 and a Web of Science impact factor of 1.1 in 2023 which encourages scientists to publish in GCR.

“We are getting a lot of submissions,” expressed Nancy.

“Having an online presence for the journal is vital because it provides the opportunity for the scholarship the journal publishes to reach a much wider community of readers and researchers than a print journal can reach,” said Cromwell. “That wider reach gives that research a greater opportunity to make a difference, both in shaping subsequent research and in broadening our understanding of the world around us.”

Learn more about the Gulf and Caribbean Research journal.