For some VCU students, discarded bits of microfilm lost in VCU’s library can create art, while for others, researching computer simulations of tooth mobility provide insights to improving dental care.
Dedicated students across different majors are trying to get works like these recognized outside their fields with Auctus — the Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship.
Auctus is a free service aiming to encourage undergraduate research and creative expression by allowing students to submit their research papers, personal articles and art mediums such as film and paintings for publication.
Herbert Hill, director of Undergraduate Research at VCU, was one of the faculty who helped to get Auctus off the ground.
“I was initially approached by a group of students who wanted to start a student-run undergraduate research journal,” Hill said, “they were prepared to take ownership of it and committed to making the journal sustainable.”
Hill believes that archiving student research is just as important as archiving any research.
“The goal is to share new knowledge and disseminate information so that our society progresses and human life improves,” Hill said.
Each Auctus submission is peer-reviewed and published in the journal online. One way Auctus has helped this research get recognized is through their website, which digitally archives these works.
Looking through the archives, users can see a wide variety of submitted works, with many leaning towards the STEM category. All of them were written by students who are still attending school or recent graduates.
Jacqueline Smith-Mason, associate dean and director of undergraduate research at the Honors College, is one of Auctus’ many supporters.
“A lot of times, students do research for their papers, turn them in for a grade and it ends there,” Mason said. “But the point of research is to synthesize, and that’s what the students at Auctus are doing.”
These works were also approved by fellow students before published, giving them useful experience, according to Smith-Mason.
“The student’s are the one’s soliciting pieces for the journal,” Smith-Mason said. “It helps them with editing and leadership positions, which are needed to run a publication.”
The Auctus team also hopes these works to gain recognition from outside the college. This could lead students to advancing their careers and finding new opportunities.
Many student-staff members have gone to undergraduate research conferences to describe their experience with starting and maintaining a student-run journal.
Auctus takes submissions year-round and is currently looking for new staff members. More information can be found on their website.
“The work that the Auctus staff has done and the scholarship that our students have published have certainly made an impression.” Hill said.
Article by: Samuel Goodrich, Contributing Writer