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Journal Instructions for Authors

The Sigma Zeta research journal is an online repository of research carried out by undergraduate members of the Sigma Zeta honors society. This undergraduate research journal was created to provide an opportunity and venue for students to prepare and publish work carried out which may not fit in the commercially published literature.

The journal will be published online at the Sigma Zeta website (www.SigmaZeta.org) once or twice a year based on number and quality of submissions. Manuscripts submitted will be reviewed and reviewers comments should be incorporated prior to publication. Manuscripts on the website will be open access and available to all. There is no charge for publication.

Definitions

  • Primary Author(s) – The student(s) who carried out a significant portion of the work described in the manuscript and were responsible for the writing of the manuscript.
  • Corresponding Author – The student who submits the paper. There should only be one corresponding author with whom the journal editor will communicate. IF the paper has multiple primary authors, one should select to be corresponding author. This need not be the first listed on the manuscript, simply the one who submits the paper.
  • Research Advisor – The faculty member who supervised / mentored the research and who will be contacted by the Journal Editor to confirm their acknowledgement of the submission of this manuscript.
  • Journal Editor – A Sigma Zeta faculty member who interacts with the corresponding author, assigns reviewers, compiles reviews and communicates with the primary author. Also responsible for final typesetting, compilation and layout of issues of the journal.
  • Editorial Board – Sigma Zeta faculty who provide anonymous feedback on manuscripts.

Manuscript Overview
Manuscripts should be written by the primary researchers on the project. Review by the research advisor prior to submission is recommended. Manuscripts will be submitted via the Sigma Zeta website at the link below. Fuller details on submission are given later in this document, https://sigmazeta.org/sigma-zeta-research-journal/

Manuscripts should be written as to be accessible to an interdisciplinary science audience. Each manuscript should incorporate an abstract, introduction that provides relevant background and states the goals of the research, an experimental section which describes the work done, a results and a discussion section, acknowledgments, and a bibliography. A suggested manuscript length is approximately 2,000 – 4,000 words including bibliography. There is no page charge for submission or publication.

Additional Rules for submission:

  • The primary undergraduate author(s) of the manuscript must be a member of Sigma Zeta.
  • The work described in the manuscript should be essentially complete or cover a distinct part of a larger project. Literature reviews will not be accepted for submission neither will proposed research. The focus should be on work carried out by the student(s).
  • Funding of the work described in the manuscript by a Sigma Zeta research grant or presentation of the work at the National Convention in the Spring is not a requirement.
  • If students contributed equally the work and the manuscript, shared primary authorship should be indicated on the manuscript.Place a special character next each relevant name and add the note “These researchers contributed equally to this work described in this manuscript and the writing” in the line after the authors.
  • The work described in the manuscript must have been completed prior to graduation of the primary author(s). Manuscripts may be submitted by an author within one year of graduation.
  • Manuscript submission must be approved by the undergraduate research advisor. Publication in the Sigma Zeta Research journal may preclude publication of the same work elsewhere so the research advisor will be contacted to ensure they are aware of and approve the submission of the work.

Reviewers and the Reviewing Process
Upon submission of a paper, the Journal Editor will contact potential reviewers to determine their willingness to review said paper. Efforts will be made to ensure at least one reviewer works in the appropriate disciple and one reviewer works outside the discipline, the latter to ensure the work is accessible to the general science audience.

A suggested period of two weeks for the review of the manuscript will be made and reviewer identities will not be disclosed to the students unless requested by the reviewer. Reviewers will be provided with a rubric to determine suitability for publication and the opportunity to make additional comments to provide insight and to improve the quality or accessibility of the manuscript as relevant
Completed Reviews will be submitted to the Journal Editor and compiled. As a result, a 3 to 4 week period for the review of the manuscript is likely.

Manuscript Formatting / Writing Guidelines:

  • A manuscript length of 3,000- 4,000 word is preferred with a maximum of 5,000 words. Manuscripts exceeding this will be asked to shorten the work prior to resubmission.
  • Manuscripts should be prepared in 12 pt font with 1.5 spacing and minimal additional formatting. Manuscripts should be submitted as .doc or docx files to allow for ease in editing and reviewing. Manuscripts not in this format will be rejected.
  • Articles should be written in passive voice. The use of “we” is permitted when discussing data but should especially be avoided in the experimental section. Write at a level that is accessible to the typical science college student. The journal is designed to incorporate contributions from all areas that fall under the Sigma Zeta banner so ensure your work is accessible to those outside your immediate discipline.
  • Manuscript title should be descriptive and only the first word and proper nouns capitalized.
  • Authors should be listed alongside affiliation at the time the work was submitted and their Sigma Zeta chapter where relevant. If all authors are at the same institution, a single listing is recommended. In this case, if some authors are not members, use * to denote those who are members of the Sigma Zeta chapter.
  • A brief abstract (200 words or less) describing the work and significant results should be at the start of the manuscript. The abstract should not contain citations. If you have a hypothesis relevant to your work, this should be clearly stated here.
  • Following the abstract, list three to five relevant keywords describing the work.
  • Headings should denote the major sections of manuscript and be capitalized (Introduction, Experimental, Results, etc). Subheadings can be used but should not be numbered. Capitalize the first word and proper nouns in these.
  • Appropriate disciplines styles should be followed i.e. chemical formulae, organism naming, symbols, significant figures, and abbreviations.
  • Manuscripts should contain a maximum of three figures and three tables, Excess use of tables and figures is discouraged. Tables and Figures should have a caption and be referred to by type and number from within the main text. In captions, capitalize the first word of the caption and proper nouns only.

The Sigma Zeta Research Journal Instructions for Authors.

  • In the manuscript, figures and tables should occur in the main body of the text at the desired position, not at the end of the manuscript. Based on layout in the finished manuscript, these may be moved by the Editor.
  • Tables should contain minimal formatting and be prepared in Word or Excel. All Tables should have a brief title and number (Arabic numeral) and be referred to from the main text. Footnotes are permitted and should be numbered. Avoid column shading and excessive use of color in tables.
  • Figures should be incorporated into the main text with the appropriate caption. All figures should be original and not taken from works published elsewhere to avoid copyright concerns, Additional high-resolution copies of the figures may be requested by the Journal Editor if the manuscript is published. Figure captions should be minimal and figures numbered using Arabic numerals.
  • Readability in graphs is key. Ensure the graph works at the desired size and legends, labels and other text is legible, Color should be used appropriately not excessively.
  • Acknowledgements should include sources of funding and if the work described in the manuscript required IRB or IACUC approval, this should be noted here.
  • References should use the Council of Science Editors (CSE) format with Name-Year in-text citation (Harvard style) and alphabetize References. Do not use numbers for citations and do not number references. When you have multiple in-text citations, these should be listed chronologically (earliest year first), then alphabetically within the year with separation by semi-colons (Whittaker 2019; Wyllie 2019; Whittaker et al. 2020).
  • Appendices, supporting or supplementary information, table of contents should not be used. The absence of supporting information means the manuscript and it’s conclusions should standalone based on the work contained therein.

Author Biography

Primary Author(s) of the manuscript should also prepare and submit a one paragraph biography which will be not be counted towards the manuscript word count. This should include Sigma Zeta chapter, field of study and other relevant information. This should be included at the end of the manuscript after the bibliography.

Manuscript Submission

Prior to submission, feel free to contact the journal editor (email listed on the Sigma Zeta website) with questions.
Manuscript submission will be handled via the Sigma Zeta website at the link on the journal page given below.
https://sigmazeta.org/sigma-zeta-research-journal/

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