This month, The Tower Undergraduate Research Journal released the print version of Volume VI, Issue I. According to Mohammad Ali Naija, Editor in Chief of the Tower, this is arguably the most significant volume of The Tower released to date as it is the inaugural issue of their article exchange program with the MIT Undergraduate Research Journal (MURJ).
“The goal at least behind this collaboration is to promote undergraduate research endeavors between both institutes and to further collaborations between MIT and Georgia Tech … We’re hoping this will further foster collaborations and research experience for undergraduates,” said Ali Naija.
With this first article exchange, contributors from both Tech and MIT hope that the partnership will continue on in subsequent semesters.
“I think the partnership that we have between MIT and Georgia Tech is pretty strong as it is. The reason we reached out to them is because our journals share very similar core values. Open Access, Blind Peer Review, Emphasis on showcasing promoting and inspiring undergraduate research,” said Ali Naija.
Both editorial boards had been in discussion for the last two years, but nothing had been formalized until this past summer when all were able to meet face to face to formalize a publishing agreement where they exchange one article from each submission pool to publish in the opposite journal.
Due to this new article exchange as well as The Tower being accepted into the Library of Congress over the summer this has been one of the most competitive issues for the Tower, as well. This is reflected in the acceptance rate for article submissions of 38 percent, the lowest in years because the number of submissions had gone up from previous years.
Tech had two authors featured in MURJ in this inagural article exchange. Helen Li, a third-year ECE major, is the first author on the publication “Crosslinking of a positive-tone, polynorbornene dielectric.”
Zach Pritchard, a fifth-year double major in ChBE and BMED, is a co-author on the Li paper while his current research is focused on improving microelectronics packaging and fabrication.
The authors were chosen this year based on manuscripts that shared research and collaboration between the two schools. The MIT article featured in The Tower was part of emerging behaviors in Biomedical Engineering, titled “Sythesis of Polypeptides for Hydrogel Scaffolds,” and written by Kiara Cui, Macknzi Martin and Paula T. Hammond, PhD.
According to Ali Naija, this may change moving forward to simply be what articles are the best representation of each school rather than those already involved with partnerships between the two schools.
Moving forward, The Tower hopes the entire staff will be able to build on their recent successes and continue to grow as a whole.
“I definitely attribute a lot of the success to the staff because they’ve done a great job in getting the content, reviewing the content and implementing ideas. We’ve highlighted a few authors from last semester but typically the authors that are published in the journal perform astoundingly either downstream academic careers, graduate schools, postdoc, industry or government jobs,” Ali Naija said.