I've been doing a research attachment as an undergraduate in a malaria culture lab and my project involves the screening and hit prioritisation of anti-cancer drugs for repurposing use against malaria. Since the attachment is an official programme under my school, one of the deliverables is a paper at the end of the attachment and I was keen on writing a paper to be published in a journal(if it's accepted!)

I mentioned this to my mentor and he said it might not be worth publishing the paper or something of the sort but didn't elaborate on it much. Should I look into it and ask if it can be published in an undergraduate journal or should I let it go?


Perhaps your advisor is worried about the depth or novelty of your work, suggesting that it might not be worthy of publication. s/he might be correct or not. But there is no reason to restrict yourself to an undergraduate journal. If the work has the right quality it can be published anywhere that the referees and editor will accept it. The fact that you are an undergraduate has no bearing on the issue of quality.

You can submit a paper, certainly, though whether as a sole or joint-author depends a bit on your field and location. It might be worth it just for the experience.

But speak again with your advisor/mentor to find out why they were originally a bit dismissive. And look at what appears in any journal you might submit to in order to judge your paper against what they normally accept.


Not all types of papers are publishable

Many papers produced in the course of undergraduate studies and research projects don't meet the criteria to be published in an academic journal - and not because of writing quality (which can be fixed), but due to the type, scope and domain of that research. It may well be that whatever research work is described in that paper doesn't fit the basic criteria of novel, unpublished research results, and so it won't be publishable no matter how well you write about it. You can write an good paper about experiments reproducing some well-known result - that wouldn't be publishable. You can write a survey paper of some topic that'd get a great grade, but that wouldn't be publishable unless it's in some meaningful way superior than the currently best published survey.

It may well be that some undergraduate research project does contain publishable results, I've seen multiple such projects, but most of them don't, and would not be publishable (no matter how well written) without substantial further research/experiments/etc. I have no idea whether your results on "the screening and hit prioritisation of anti-cancer drugs for repurposing use against malaria" constitute publishable research results, but your mentor is the person who should know best whether your research constitutes something that's considered publishable according to the standards accepted in your field, and if they have said that it's not, then I'd trust them.

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