Detailed Program Requirements (Section 5)

5. 2nd Year Research Paper Requirement

(revised 12/2012)


Important dates
Final day of Spring quarter of 1st year
Last day to select a research mentor
Day before Fall quarter begins
Last day to select a co-advisor
During 2nd year
Perform research!
1st July
Last day to give research paper draft to co-advisor
15th July
Last day for mentor and co-advisor to email Program Director stating that they approve the research paper for submission
15th July
Last day to email Program Director manuscript pdf + submission cover letter
Day before Fall quarter begins
Last day for paper to be approved
Final day of Fall quarter
Last day for 2nd year research project to be presented in departmental seminar

Rationale for requirement. Program faculty determined that conducting a research project in the 2nd year then writing about it in the format of a manuscript-suitable-for-publication would provide a useful training exercise for several reasons:

  1. students would learn how to write a manuscript that succinctly presented their research as a cohesive, hypothesis-driven argument,  
  2. students would become familiar with the submission-review-resubmission cycle involved in publishing,  
  3. ideally, the approved manuscript should provide a foundation for submission as a first-author manuscript to a journal, which, in turn, would enhance the possibility that students would obtain NIH training awards and thus move their careers forward,  
  4. creating deadlines associated with this requirement would reduce time-to-degree-completion. 

Appropriate contents of research project. Ideally the research project that the student undertakes in the 2nd year, which is the basis of the research paper, will be planned in consultation with the research mentor. At the very least the project should be structured in a way that the student can contribute to the experimental hypotheses or design. Once the project is determined, a co-advisor who can most appropriately assist with the development of the project, should be selected by the student in consultation with the mentor. The co-advisor need not be affiliated with the Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program, but must be appointed as graduate faculty or affiliate graduate faculty in the School of Medicine at OHSU. 

The majority of the research data described in the 2nd year research paper should be collected and/or analyzed by the student for this project. Students will be asked to attest to this when submitting their research paper. Data collected by collaborators or other materials included in the research project (e.g., mouse lines/strains, reagents) must be specifically acknowledged, as well as specific details of any technical assistance (e.g., individuals who conducted particular assays or statistical analyses) must be included in the acknowledgements section of the research paper. Many journals now require this type of acknowledgement, as do NRSA applications, and students are encouraged to look at journals for appropriate examples. 

Obtaining positive results is not a prerequisite for completion of the project. 

It is expected that the written document submitted for evaluation will be the student's work. Consequently the student should be listed as the only author. Faculty mentors and co-advisors may offer general advice and comments on preliminary drafts, but should not engage in extensive copy-editing or re-writing of the document. Their contributions may be recognized and described briefly in the acknowledgements. This is not intended to imply that the student will not elect to add co-authors if and when the 2nd year paper (or its descendant) is subsequently submitted for publication. The faculty mentor should be consulted before the student requests editorial input on the research paper or revisions from other faculty. 

Manuscript submission. When ready to submit the research paper, an email should be sent to the Program Director with the following attachments:

  • a single pdf document containing the text and all of the tables and figures (this requirement supersedes any requirement from a journal that text and figures should be submitted in separate files).
  • a cover letter that includes:
    1. title of the manuscript
    2. author's name
    3. name of the journal to which the manuscript is being "submitted"
    4. hyperlink to that journal's instructions for authors
    5. statement affirming that the research paper is the student's own work AND that the majority of the research described was performed by the student. This statement should name each other contributing individual and identify his or her contribution. 

Manuscript review process. Research papers will not be sent out for review until the Program Director has received an email from the research mentor and the co-advisor indicating that each approve the research paper for submission (see Important Dates table). The Program Director will solicit written reviews from two Behavioral Neuroscience faculty members (excluding the faculty mentor and co-advisor). Additional reviews may be solicited from faculty with appropriate expertise in other programs or institutions when necessary.The identity of the reviewers will remain anonymous, unless the reviewers choose to reveal themselves. 

Reviewers will be asked to prepare their reviews (and re-reviews) and make recommendations to the Program Director concerning the acceptability of the paper within 2 weeks. Ordinarily a maximum of 2 weeks will be provided to the student for manuscript revisions. Students are expected to consult their faculty mentor and co-advisor when preparing their revised document. One or more revision-and-resubmit cycles may be required before the final recommendation for approval is forwarded to the Department Chair. 

Departmental presentation. Once the manuscript is approved, each student shall present a public seminar describing the research project and its results before or during the Fall term of their 3rd year. It is recommended that no more than one seminar should be scheduled in a given week. 

Alternatives. There are two alternative ways of completing the 2nd year research paper requirement:

  1. Students may provide evidence that an original research paper on which the student is sole author AND which describes research conducted at OHSU or one of its associated facilities has been accepted for publication in a reputable peer-reviewed journal. Documentation must include a copy of the final version of the paper, written reviews, and all correspondence with the editor, including the letter of acceptance for publication.
  2. Students may complete the requirements for the M.S. degree as described in the Graduate Council By-Laws: see Section 1: Graduate Studies Policies & Guidelines; Bylaws) 

In both cases, the alternative must be approved by the Graduate Program Director.   

Failure to complete. The research paper requirement (or one of the alternatives) will be judged to have not been completed if the reviewers have not indicated that the manuscript in its current form is "suitable for publication" before the first day of the Fall quarter of the student's 3rd year in the program.Failure to complete will result in academic probation, and may be considered as grounds for recommendation of dismissal from the graduate program.