Research Commons

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Author: davis.2345@osu.edu (page 1 of 2)

New Research Guide: Navigating the Article Publication Process

Publishing and Repository Services and Copyright Services have worked together to develop a research guide on navigating the article publishing process. The information outlined in the guide as well as the resources it points will help you:

  • Choose where to publish your work: This section gives tips to help you make an informed decision about where to publish your work.
  • Evaluate Open Access journals: This section goes into detail about steps you can take to evaluate OA journals and avoid predatory publishers.
  • Recognize your rights as an author: This section addresses authorship and ownership of an article, book, or other creative work under copyright law and Ohio State policy. Readers will also learn more about the automatic rights given to authors for the works they create.
  • Understand publishing agreements: This section provides tips for reading and reviewing publication agreements.

In addition to the research guide, Publishing and Repository Services and Copyright Services are also working on a series of blog posts that will provide more information about each of these topics. If you have any questions about publishing in general or copyright, please reach out to the appropriate unit.

Five Important Considerations for Mentoring Undergraduates and Young Researchers

This week we posted a series of blog posts from participants in The Ohio State University-hosted Summer Research Opportunities Program. If you are a researcher who would like to get involved with SROP and are interested in mentoring talented underrepresented students interested in research and graduate studies, please contact SROP Program Manager Dominiece Hoelyfield (hoelyfield.1@osu.edu).

To end our series, we are excited to present mentoring advice and resources from Dr. Marcela Hernandez, Administrative Director of The Office of Post Doctoral Affairs at Ohio State.

Five Important Considerations When Mentoring Undergraduate and Young Researchers

By: Dr. Marcela Hernandez, Administrative Director of The Office of Post Doctoral Affairs at Ohio State.

During my journey as a research trainee, I experienced both great mentoring and little to no mentoring at all. The contrast and the outcomes of these experiences changed profoundly my self-esteem and confidence as well as my approach to mentoring others. You can learn more about my mentoring story here and here. I became a mentoring evangelist and talked to anyone who would listen about the importance of mentoring in the success of trainees and their productivity. This led me to my involvement with the National Research Mentoring Network and have participated as a virtual mentor and received training to facilitate mentor training workshops. We have a program to offer these workshops to faculty and postdoctoral scholars and we hope to expand it in 2021.

It is crucial that young researchers have good mentoring. As they go through their experience, they will make decisions about continuing the research path or not. Those decisions often are made based on the mentoring they received and not on whether they are capable of conducting research. A negative mentoring experience often results in the student concluding they are not good enough and decide not to continue in research. This is the wrong conclusion and an unfortunate outcome. A more accurate assessment is that the person who train and mentor them did a poor job, and the question of whether they are capable of doing research is still unresolved.

Here I provide a list of five things to consider for those who are mentoring young researchers:

  • Explain your research as you would to a lay audience. Remember you are talking to a non-expert. Avoiding jargon and keeping concepts simple is the place to start. As you train and mentor the student, you can elevate the level of your research conversations. A good mentor meets the student where they are and rise their level of understanding through the research experience. Resources about science communication are great to teach experts how to make non-experts understand what they do. Some resources that I would recommend are The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and the AAAS Communication Toolkit, but there are many more a Google search away.
  • Align expectations. It is important that both mentor and mentee agree on what is expected from each of them during the research experience. Being explicit and clear from the beginning will prevent miscommunication and conflict later. A great way to accomplish this is to use a mentoring compact that is signed by both parties. There are many examples available online UG Mentoring Compact.
  • Explain research group etiquette and culture. As newcomers to research spaces, undergraduate students do not understand all the rules and customs associated with sharing space, reagents, etc. It is crucial that you familiarize the student with your research group procedures and policies. The culture of the group is also important to talk about and to introduce the student to everyone in the group. This will increase the likelihood that the student becomes a good citizen of the research space and that they feel comfortable talking to everyone in the group. The latter is important in case the primary mentor is not around when they need something or have a question.
  • Ascertain the student’s communication and learning style. We all have different communication styles and learn best in different ways. It is important that mentors of young researchers take the time to assess their mentee’s communication styles and inform them of their own style. This will help avoid problems with communication. Once the mentor knows how to communicate more effectively and what is the best mode of communication, it will be easier for them to adapt to what the student responds to best. There are many free online assessment tools that can be used for this. Some examples are Communication Styles: A Self-Assessment Exercise and Communication Style self-assessment.
  • Be approachable. The productivity of most students plummets when they do not feel they can ask questions without negative consequences. Working under lots of stress can also result in lack of progress. Thus, it is best to protect mentees from the mentor’s stress. Advanced researchers are busy people and have multiple competing priorities. The stress this causes can sometimes result in a negative interaction with a young trainee: stress is very contagious. Be patient and create an atmosphere in which students feel they can make mistakes and learn from them. Give them constructive criticism and treat them with kindness, but also be honest and make sure you hold them to high ethical and scientific standards.

Remember that not all students start at the same level, and that they do not all develop at the same rate. Do not fall into the habit of measuring every student against our own strengths. Ultimately your role as a mentor is to help your students grow and develop until they become independent. The more you invest in your mentoring skills, the more productive your students will be.

SROP Research Spotlight: Yesenia I. Velez Negrón

This is part four of a series on the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP).

By: Yesenia I. Velez Negrón
Crop Protection of the Faculty of Agricultural Science
University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus

Last summer I was part of the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) at The Ohio State University while I was an undergraduate student from Crop Protection of the Faculty of Agricultural Science at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus (UPRM) in 2019. I wanted to share my experience with others underrepresented students about a program that led me to continue graduate studies at OSU. For that summer, since I was nearing graduation, I wanted to find an opportunity to be part of an academic environment. As a Puerto Rican, Hispanic and a woman in agricultural science, I found this program as a gateway that provided me a support team. This program helps and provides underrepresented students the tools to develop research skills and critical thinking as future researchers. In this program I was able to challenge myself in a different environment, a different culture and on a different research experience. My research was focused on three soil borne pathogens (a fungus, a nematode and a bacteria) on tomato plants. The goal was finding different possible biocontrol agents from a collection of bacteria with the same genre (Pseudomonas) were tested using in vitro assays.

Front of my building during the SROP 2019.

At OSU, the SROP students were divided into two groups. One group was in Columbus, and the group that specialized in agriculture was sent to Wooster, which was a friendly environment to work in. All the relationships that I developed with these groups provided me support to strengthen my confidence, to be more efficient with my work and to feel sure about what I was doing. I also developed a good relationship with the Wooster cohort, the lab team and my mentor.

My mentor (Dr. Chris Taylor) and my graduate student (Ms. Marlia Bosques-Martinez) for the research project.

It is very important to create and understand how relationships affect our lives, since these people are going to be our work partners in the near future. To create these types of relationships, it is important to understand that a relationship needs commitment from both ways. A tip for starting a good relationship with a group or mentor is to take a proactive approach. Remember that for a healthy relationship it is important to look at the big picture. Asking specific questions, managing your time, and trying to troubleshoot your experimental problems can make your research successful. Through this experience I learned how to improve my problem-solving skills, not only in an academic way but also in my social life. In this program I was able to challenge myself in a different environment, a different culture and on a different research experience.

My research project and group support made the experience in the SROP program feel more encouraging, and making research more fun and exciting. My advice to other underrepresented folks would be to keep some pointers in mind. First of all, remember to always take your time off because overworking is not healthy for your mind and body. However, the most important thing is to keep going, have fun in the process and never lose hope because mistakes help us to improve ourselves. Sometimes we find hard situations on the way, but we don’t lose anything trying to solve them.

SROP 2019 Wooster Cohort and guide (grad student, Gary Closs Jr.).

SROP Research Spotlight: Jacob Newsome

This is part three of a series on the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP).

By: Jacob Newsome
Biological and Biomedical Sciences 
Texas A&M University – Kingsville

My name is Jacob Newsome and I was an SROP intern in the summer of 2019. I am from Texas A&M-Kingsville. I performed my research with the Entomology department about making plant-based insecticides to combat the growing mosquito problem. Mosquitoes are more than annoying pests that bite you. They also transmit several diseases that have caused millions of deaths. My research experience was rigorous. I felt like SROP gave me a realistic expectation of doing research and what that entails.

There were eight of us total in the program. Coming from a rural college town, the idea of going to Wooster, a rural town, had me concerned. From the first day what made the difference for me was having a mentor that wanted to be involved in our experience. From day one, Gary Closs was there to help us integrate ourselves into Wooster. As a man that is not only black but also queer, I was worried about how I would integrate into Wooster and research.

Picture of the cohort at our final research presentation

I was very surprised to say that I felt accepted by my cohort. Pamela Thomas, the person that oversees our program, constantly clued me in on various events for LGBTQ individuals. She even found a way for me to attend the Columbus Pride. I think what made me more comfortable was to know the administration was on my side and wanted me there. That made the difference.

In a research context, I learned a couple of things. Firstly, work hard on your project. It is yours and yours alone, and how you progress your project reflects on your work ethic. Secondly, please keep a separate notebook detailing your errors in your project. You will be constantly quizzed on where you went wrong. Identifying your errors matters if you want to move your project forward. Thirdly, first impressions matter. The first week you enter your program will set the tone for how people see you.

Always keep in mind that you are contributing to a body of knowledge. You will often be the first person to do your idea. That can be scary but also really fun. I really liked research because it is an intersection between creation and marketing. You are cultivating this idea and project that could be impactful years to come for so many people. But, in that same vein, you need to convince people that your work is as important as you think it is.

In a social context, my cohort was mixed with students from various backgrounds. My advice for students would be to keep an open mind to everyone’s experiences and backgrounds. However, bring your entire self to your program. Your experiences matter too. I truly believe that you will become a better you through learning other people’s experiences.

How students can have successful mentor relationships depends on how you engage with your mentor. They can be a resource for you and also a comforting ear. My advice to the programs would be to make sure the people you hire as mentors are open minded and accepting individuals. Please be mindful of the intersections a student is at. I was fortunate to have a mentor such as Gary Closs, who was very accepting of me and helped me be all that I could be. Even to this day, we keep in contact with each other and I think that matters to me.

Because of how well I fit into the SROP program and how the research went, I feel as though being an SROP scholar was one of my best internships in undergrad. I did not imagine I would grow so close to seven other individuals in 10 weeks but they were truly like family to me. We still keep in contact and I was lucky to get to experience the beautiful lives of these individuals, even if it was just for a summer. 

SROP Research Spotlight: Chalier Dones Ortiz

This is part two of a series on the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP).

By: Chalier Dones Ortiz
Animal Sciences Major (Pre-Veterinary Medicine)
University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez

Why you should not do SROP 

Let me start by saying hook, line and sinker. Yes, this was another false advertisement plot to get you to read what I have to say, but do not even think about leaving yet. Truth is there are several reasons that will stop you from applying to SROP, but these have little to nothing related to the quality of the program, but more to do about your willingness to explore the unknown as you embark on an unforgettable journey.

If you are the type of person who does not get excited about growth, DON’T APPLY! When I applied to SROP I was interested in doing research and further exploring dairy cattle nutrition. I received that and much more. Above all, I had keen interest in having a glimpse of the hardships of research on the graduate level. Upon meeting with my professor, I expressed that beyond my determined project I would love to participate and help in any other projects that could provide the experience I was searching for. He listened! Before I knew it, I was out and about going back and forth from the lab to the farm, working directly with the animals, sampling at the craziest hours and going back to the lab to process samples. I felt pushed to my limits and in these circumstances, I believe I gained all the right tools, preparation and confidence to tackle research on the graduate level.

My project titled “The Bioavailability of Mg in Dairy Cattle” studied magnesium excretion in dairy cattle in which urine is the principle pathway of output. Image shows the method employed to obtain urine samples later.

If you do not want to get better at communicating interpersonally and in research, DON’T APPLY! As a Puerto Rican whose native language is Spanish, having to constantly think and express myself in another language posed a great challenge. Slipups, wrongful use of words and overthinking was a daily struggle I dealt with through my SROP experience. However, having to engage in conversations with peers, clarifying doubts and concerns regarding your project with your Principal Investigator and communicating research in both written and spoken form drastically enhanced my English communication skills. By the time my final presentations came around, I was prepared to engage with the crowd and more than capable of sharing my summer experience.

Communication is important on all levels. It is instrumental in developing and maintaining a fruitful relationship with your mentor. Dr. Chanhee Lee (PI and Assistant Professor of OARDC Animal Sciences) and I during poster presentations to faculty at OARDC.

If you do not want to meet interesting people from different backgrounds and develop long lasting relationships, DON’T APPLY! In my case, I was part of the 2019 SROP – OSU Wooster Cohort. This meant that we would live for approximately two months in a small town with little to do but spend time with each other, and the community at OARDC. The results of these circumstances are the ones I hold most dear and from which I gained friendships and even growth in my development as a researcher. OARDC provided me the opportunity to be fully immersed in my research and have constant exposure with peers and faculty from all over the world. In turn, it developed my ability to connect with people with different backgrounds and cultures and to value the importance of sharing quality research with all that are willing to listen.

SROP – OSU Wooster Cohort 2019 with friend and mentor Gary Closs Jr., Department of Food Science and Technology Graduate Research Associate.

 

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