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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 5, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Office of Undergraduate Research is launching a new open-access, interdisciplinary student journal titled Aperture.

In photography, the aperture is the space through which light passes. The undergraduate team behind the journal feels this reflects how research brings things to light and drives innovation. 

“Aperture is a wonderful way to showcase and support UK’s undergraduate researchers through highlighting their excellent work and giving them exposure to the publication progress,” said Ashbey Manning, a senior chemical and biopharmaceutical engineering major in the Stanley and Karen Pigman College of Engineering and co-editor in chief.

The journal’s foremost objective is to showcase the rich and diverse scholarship conducted by UK undergraduates and promote the advancement of knowledge by publishing reports of their unique experiential endeavors. Aperture is edited and produced by an undergraduate student editorial board of peer editors, ensuring a platform that reflects the perspectives and contributions of their fellow peers in academia.  

“Aperture provides the opportunity for undergraduate researchers to share their amazing contributions to research. By showcasing the extraordinary creativity and ingenuity of undergraduate researchers across all disciplines, the journal plays an important role in reshaping the perception of research at the University of Kentucky,” said Megan Johnston, a Lewis Honors College member and agricultural and medical biotechnology senior in the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and co-editor in chief.

Students can submit their full-length manuscripts, abstracts and brief reports online starting in January for the spring issue. The journal will focus on the research culture at UK with spotlight articles on student researchers and current topics in research.

Each submission goes through four stages of review. Initially, the student’s adviser or principal investigator (PI) reviews and approves the paper. Then Aperture’s editorial team assesses the submission to ensure adherence to the journal's submission guidelines, meticulously checking for errors or inconsistencies. The third stage involves a thorough review by graduate students or faculty advisers specializing in the specific research field under discussion. The final phase of the review process occurs as the editorial team revisits the revised paper, confirming that all necessary changes have been incorporated and ensuring the article is polished and ready for publication.

“Aperture stands apart from other journals because, in addition to being peer- and expert-reviewed, it is largely student-led and driven by undergraduate perspectives,” said Elizabeth Elliott, a Lewis Honors College member and biology junior in the College of Arts and Sciences and Editorial Review Committee member.

Founded in June 2023 and supported by the UK Office of Undergraduate Research, Aperture is an entirely student-led organization dedicated to promoting a culture of curiosity. Aside from the executive editorial board, Aperture includes four student committees focused on design, marketing and outreach, editorial review, and publication and production. Undergraduates with strong writing skills and an interest in editing and publishing are invited to join the Student Editorial Board. Joining the board offers students opportunities to learn firsthand about producing an online research journal.

Students interested in learning more about Aperture can attend an information session 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, in Room 321 of the Jacobs Science Building.

You can learn more about Aperture online here.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.