Spectra Undergraduate Research Journal

Instructions for Authors


General Guidelines

  • As we publish two issues in fall and spring semesters, we encourage undergraduate researchers to submit manuscripts for review on an ongoing basis with no specific deadlines.
  • For all manuscript submissions, students must be under the supervision of a faculty member or gain approval from the appropriate faculty member prior to submission.
  • Authors will retain the rights to their original work.
  • Submitted articles must be original work that has not been published or accepted or under review for publication elsewhere. Conference papers presented orally or poster presentations do not count as publications and are eligible for publication.
  • OUR does not charge submission or processing cost to authors to publish in Spectra.
  • OUR manages Spectra and the entire publication process, from submitting a manuscript to its review, revision, acceptance, and final publication, using the Digital Scholarship @ UNLV platform and its online resources: https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/spectra/
  • Formatting Guidelines

    1. To submit your manuscript, please go to: https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/spectra/ and click on “Submit Article” link

    2. Before you begin, please be sure you have the following items:

    • Article Title

    • An abstract (separate from the article body)

    • Keywords for your article (optional)

    • Article in one of the following formats: Microsoft Word, or RTF.

    • Articles must be submitted without a title page, abstract, or page numbers. These will be provided by the system. This is especially important so that you do not include any identifying information about the authors, as the article you submit will be sent to reviewers.)

    3. All manuscripts should have 1-inch margins on all sides

    4. All text should be formatted in single column and double-spaced

    5. Limit manuscript sections and sub-sections to 3 heading levels. Make sure heading levels are clearly indicated in the manuscript text

    6. Please cite primary and secondary sources (e.g., peer-reviewed journal articles, academic books and book chapters, government reports, and other legitimate published data etc.) and avoid grey literature (e.g., websites, blog posts, working papers, newsletters, social media posts, meeting notes, and personal notes)

    7. Times New Roman font type and 12 point font size should be used

    8. All text must be left-aligned and all paragraphs must be indented

    9. All pages must include page numbers (top, right-aligned) and continuous line numbers

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    Style Guidelines

  • Primary research articles, primary review articles, research protocol articles, and thesis-based research articles must use “APA style,” following The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , Seventh Edition for specific guidelines provided below:
  • Authors submitting creative writing including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and prose should use “MLA style” and consult the following links for specific guidelines and instructions:
  • To help with your reference management, consider using some of the tools listed below:
    • Zotero: A free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share research
      Mendeley: Generate references, citations and bibliographies in a whole range of journal styles with just a few clicks

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    Avoid Plagiarism

    Please consult the resources below to learn more about writing with integrity and avoid plagiarism:

  • UNLV Libraries website
  • American Journal Experts website provides resources about plagiarism in academic writing
  • https://www.aje.com/arc/editing-tip-defining-plagiarism/
  • https://www.aje.com/arc/editing-tip-avoiding-plagiarism/
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    Organization and Structure Guidelines

    Manuscripts for the following submission types should contain the sections listed below: <

  • Primary research articles
  • Primary review articles
  • Research protocol articles, and
  • Thesis-based research articles.
  • Please note that the items #1 through 4 will be blinded during the submission stage to remove any identifiers about the authors but will still be submitted through the online submission portal to the editors. Abstracts will also be submitted during the initial submission through the same online portal.

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    What to Submit

    To submit your manuscript, please go to: https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/spectra and click on “Submit Article” link. In addition, please submit a cover page to our@unlv.edu, including the following information and copy your faculty mentor:

  • Author(s) full name, institutional affiliation (i.e., University, College/School, and Department), and rebel e-mail address
  • Author(s) role(s) and contribution(s) to the manuscript
  • Research mentor’s name, affiliation information, and e-mail address.
  • Keywords (4-6) to enable successful database searches. Be strategic to make your work easily detectable with widest accessibility.
  • A 100- to 250-word abstract of the manuscript, typed double-space, not indented, and with the same type and style of language found in the original manuscript. Summarize the study’s contribution to the scientific literature

    Please submit your manuscript in Microsoft Word or RTF format (DOC, DOCX or .RTF).

    Manuscripts may be 3000 - 5000 (maximum) words or longer if approved by Spectra editors. The world limit must include all text including acknowledgements and references.

    Camera-ready graphics and photographs are welcome.

    An endorsement from the faculty mentor who attests that:

  • They have read the manuscript
  • The planning, execution, and writing of the manuscript represent primarily the work of the undergraduate student(s).
  • The use of human subjects or animals for research purposes is regulated by the federal government and individual institutions. All authors of manuscripts in this journal describing research involving human subjects or animal experimentation should obtain approval from their Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), as appropriate, prior to manuscript submission. A statement of IRB or IACUC approval must be included in the Materials and Methods section. Documentation of IRB or IACUC status must be made available upon request.

    Sample Manuscripts

    Please access the sample manuscript file to help with your manuscript preparation.

    Open Access

    Spectra is an Open Access publication; all articles are freely available online immediately upon publication. With few exceptions, articles are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License, where readers may reuse the materials with proper citation to the original.

    Publication Agreement

    Articles in Spectra are freely available under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0) which allows others to re-use the work without permission as long as the work is properly cited.

    For more information, visit the Creative Commons licenses page. Copyright is retained by the author(s). Where an author is prevented from being the copyright holder (i.e., U.S. government employees), the copyright line and license statement in individual articles will be adjusted. Please contact the editors during or immediately after submission of your paper.

    General Terms and Conditions of Use

    Users of the Digital Scholarship@UNLV website and/or software agree not to misuse the Digital Scholarship@UNLV service or software in any way. The failure of Digital Scholarship@UNLV to exercise or enforce any right or provision in the policies or the Submission Agreement does not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any term of the Submission Agreement or these policies is found to be invalid, the parties nevertheless agree that the court should endeavor to give effect to the parties' intentions as reflected in the provision, and the other provisions of the Submission Agreement and these policies remain in full force and effect. These policies and the Submission Agreement constitute the entire agreement between Digital Scholarship@UNLV and the Author(s) regarding submission of the Article.

    Copyright is retained by the author(s). Where an author is prevented from being the copyright holder (i.e., U.S. government employees), the copyright line and license statement in individual articles will be adjusted. Please contact the editors during or immediately after submission of your paper.

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