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Publishing vs. Showcasing Your Research

NewsJin Chow and Carly Taylor

Students engaged in research often ask: is “publishing” the same thing as “showcasing”? Is publication the only way to showcase my research project? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding NO.

Publishing in Journals

Publishing in journals—at the high school, undergrad, or graduate level—is only one of many ways of showcasing your research project and creative work. The reason why publishing often comes to mind as the first method of showcasing is that it is one of the main ways, along with conference presentations, by which academics and scholars share the fruits of their labor with the world. Reputable journals will most-likely be peer-reviewed, where every piece of work is evaluated by a panel of experts in the same field prior to publication.

Unfortunately, there are also countless predatory journals that will “guarantee” results and publish whatever is submitted as long as the submitter pays a fee. Distinguishing between these and legitimate journals is not always easy, which is one reason why we have put together a showcasing database for students, where we’ve collected journals, conferences, and competition opportunities that are run by reputable organizations.

Preprint Archives

Submitting your work to publication at a peer-reviewed journal is often a long, multi-month process. In the world of STEM research, Cornell University’s arXiv.org is a place where scholars publish pre-print versions of their work as they go through the peer review process at other journals. This allows scholars to share important findings quickly

Inspired by this model, we have launched the Research Archive of Rising Scholars as an open-access archive for scholarly articles by the most curious and bright young minds of our generation. It is a repository for articles in any and all academic fields, in STEM and the humanities alike, offering an open-access platform to house the work of budding scholars. From there, students can choose to ready their articles for publication elsewhere or simply use that link to share their article with family, friends, teachers, counselors, etc.

Other Options for Showcasing

That being said, while a lot of students come to us with “publishing in a peer-reviewed journal” as their main goal for their Polygence project, we believe that’s far from the only effective channel for showcasing your work! There are dozens of other ways to share your work with the world which may be better suited for some projects than a traditional research paper.

Some students share their research through multimedia formats geared towards a curious general public rather than an academic audience, such as blog posts, Youtube videos, podcasts, and social media pages, which can easily be created and shared online for free. Victoria translated her research on dementia into a podcast published on Spotify, while Selin shared her research on the mimic octopus in the form of a Youtube video.

Others may choose to translate what they’ve learned in their research into a creative project, whether that’s a five-act play about Dutch history, a children’s book about the human hunger hormone, or a conceptual drawing inspired by the life and art practice of Leonardo da Vinci. You can even share your learning through a game, like Michael’s board game about the American Revolution or Rohil’s web app that gamifies algorithm learning.

Head over to our Research Opportunities page for more ideas for showcasing your research!