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Hi all, I am in my final semester of undergrad and my advisor has voiced her opinion to me multiple times that my senior capstone paper (not a thesis) is up to par for publishing. I have poked around the various forum posts with subjects similar to this and it seems as though it is mostly agreed upon that undergraduate journals are a waste of effort. I study International Studies and I will definitely be applying to graduate school (International Development or Forced Migration Studies) after a year and a half or so of work experience and I was hoping that being published could give me a leg up in this process. The paper is a literature review specific to the subject of unaccompanied minor refugees and covers a fairly niche topic so I think I could possibly send it to a more specific journal. I was wondering if anyone had any input on publishing in social sciences as an undergrad as well as any concerns I should have about attaching my name to a paper this early in my academic career. This is a prospect that I am fairly excited about but I want to make sure I have considered all aspects of it before jumping in head first. Thanks!! 

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30 minutes ago, nightowl97 said:

Hi all, I am in my final semester of undergrad and my advisor has voiced her opinion to me multiple times that my senior capstone paper (not a thesis) is up to par for publishing. I have poked around the various forum posts with subjects similar to this and it seems as though it is mostly agreed upon that undergraduate journals are a waste of effort. I study International Studies and I will definitely be applying to graduate school (International Development or Forced Migration Studies) after a year and a half or so of work experience and I was hoping that being published could give me a leg up in this process. The paper is a literature review specific to the subject of unaccompanied minor refugees and covers a fairly niche topic so I think I could possibly send it to a more specific journal. I was wondering if anyone had any input on publishing in social sciences as an undergrad as well as any concerns I should have about attaching my name to a paper this early in my academic career. This is a prospect that I am fairly excited about but I want to make sure I have considered all aspects of it before jumping in head first. Thanks!! 

IMO, guidance / advisement that one receives in person from a professor / advisor should generally supersede anonymous counsel received from internet message boards. You have a person in your corner and she's doing what she can to put you in a position to succeed. If more aspiring graduate students had that level of in person support, there'd be less need for the Grad Cafe. 

I suggest that you work on developing more trust in her. I recommend that you ask her for the journals she has in mind for submission. You could (politely, respectfully) ask if one of the journals you have in mind would be appropriate. If she says anything that doesn't resemble an enthusiastic "yes," I suggest that you stick to her list and nail it.

Here's something that I ask you to consider. A first year graduate student would likely not know the literature of a field to know if it qualifies as a "niche" topic, even in the age of Google Scholar and Jstor. After World War II, there were more than 14 million refugees in Europe alone. Some of them were likely  "unaccompanied" minors and there was likely a discussion of their plight somewhere. And the same can likely be said of any society that had suffered the ravages of modern warfare and/or the mechanization of ethnic cleansing. Unless your existing review consults sources in secondary works ranging back at least to the end of the American Civil War, and unless your review consults sources in non-Western European languages including Armenian, Vietnamese, and Korean, you may not be as far as long as you're going to be when it is time to submit to a specific journal that represents the leading edge of professional academic work.

In the event you're determined to publish sooner rather than later in a niche journal, please do your due diligence to manage your risk. Read extensively in those journals to see how controversy is handled. Do academics get their reputation destroyed when they're too far off the mark? Are reviewers diplomatic when authors get some of the finer points wrong? Are the BTDTs with whom you want to work as a graduate student sober in their judgments or do they wield razor sharp blue pencils? 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Sigaba said:

IMO, guidance / advisement that one receives in person from a professor / advisor should generally supersede anonymous counsel received from internet message boards. You have a person in your corner and she's doing what she can to put you in a position to succeed. If more aspiring graduate students had that level of in person support, there'd be less need for the Grad Cafe. 

I suggest that you work on developing more trust in her. I recommend that you ask her for the journals she has in mind for submission. You could (politely, respectfully) ask if one of the journals you have in mind would be appropriate. If she says anything that doesn't resemble an enthusiastic "yes," I suggest that you stick to her list and nail it.

Here's something that I ask you to consider. A first year graduate student would likely not know the literature of a field to know if it qualifies as a "niche" topic, even in the age of Google Scholar and Jstor. After World War II, there were more than 14 million refugees in Europe alone. Some of them were likely  "unaccompanied" minors and there was likely a discussion of their plight somewhere. And the same can likely be said of any society that had suffered the ravages of modern warfare and/or the mechanization of ethnic cleansing. Unless your existing review consults sources in secondary works ranging back at least to the end of the American Civil War, and unless your review consults sources in non-Western European languages including Armenian, Vietnamese, and Korean, you may not be as far as long as you're going to be when it is time to submit to a specific journal that represents the leading edge of professional academic work.

In the event you're determined to publish sooner rather than later in a niche journal, please do your due diligence to manage your risk. Read extensively in those journals to see how controversy is handled. Do academics get their reputation destroyed when they're too far off the mark? Are reviewers diplomatic when authors get some of the finer points wrong? Are the BTDTs with whom you want to work as a graduate student sober in their judgments or do they wield razor sharp blue pencils? 

 

 

Thank you for your input. I am absolutely putting my primary trust in my advisor to help me make any and all decisions; I just wanted to grasp additional thoughts as well as I have seen this topic discussed on this forum in passing prior and different people had their own experiences to add to the conversation. I certainly do not intend to prioritize any advice I receive here over the opinion of someone I greatly trust. 

As for my research, I did not feel the need to fully disclose its specifics within my original question. I am not simply addressing the existence of UAM as a niche topic- you are correct as that would be a foolish claim. I am creating an extensive review and analysis of Greek policies towards this population specifically from 2012-2016 and how these policies in their centralized creation and decentralized and flawed implementation stripped UAM of their right to autonomy and self-determination and thus resulting in an exodus of many of these individuals from the formal EU asylum system. I am lucky in that I have many knowledgable professors who have guided me in the composition of my research and have an understanding of the forced migration publications that would be interested in this topic so I am not looking in any input on my research specifically, rather the experiences that others have had within publishing as an undergrad more generally. 

I will certainly be considering the implications of publishing in certain journals rather than others as I understand that this work is towards the beginning of my academic career. 

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