Senior Dustin Turin works on Student Pulse from his home. Photo by Lauren McFalls.
January 26, 2010
For many of the nation’s roughly 18 million college students, their papers are graded by a professor—and promptly filed into binders, tossed in the trash or simply forgotten.
For Dustin Turin, a senior pursuing a degree in international affairs, a 4,000-word academic essay or research paper represents an opportunity for a student to share his work with the rest of the world.
Turin founded Student Pulse, an online academic student journal, late last year. So far, he’s published more than 130 papers—on topics ranging from football and colonialism in the British Empire to an analysis of money in Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”—by more than 50 students from more than four-dozen colleges and universities throughout the country.
“Nobody else is doing this,” Turin says. “If I can recruit 1 percent of the top 10 percent of college students, that’s 1,800 students who have written dozens of papers—think of all the knowledge they have.”
Turin doesn’t pretend to understand the underlying differences between holistic, alternative and complementary medicine, or how biology influences the development of modern art. But after reading hundreds of student submissions, he realizes that a quality paper is an oft well-cited and well-referenced one.
He has editorial control over which papers get published. Students who make the cut are paid based on the number of hits their papers receive.
In early January, a research paper written by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student on Dubai’s Burj Khalifa—the world’s tallest building, standing at 2,714 feet—drew hundreds of visitors to the Web site.
A Google search for Burj Khalifa yielded articles by journalists from The Washington Post and The New York Times. Sandwiched between the popular dailies’ Google entries: the MIT student’s analysis of Dubai’s gigantic skyscraper.
“Publishing on Student Pulse is an opportunity to put work out there in an environment where it might show up next to some of the top newspapers and journals in the world,” Turin says. “There is a potentially unlimited audience. People all over the world are reading these articles.”
Students who think they can get away with plagiarizing a paper found on Student Pulse should think again, Turin says. Online plagiarism detection services such as Turnitin.com would just as easily flag a student for copying text from Student Pulse as it would any other Web-based source. And if students want to reference a paper found on Student Pulse, they would cite it like any other online source.
Student Pulse makes money by hosting advertisements, but Turin is more interested in growing the readership than he is in turning a profit—at least for the time being.
Over the next several months, he hopes to recruit more experienced editors in an effort to attract more of the nation’s top college student authors.
It’s easy for him to envision Student Pulse taking off sometime in the near future: “In 10 years how many thousands of articles could we have published?” he says. “If I could make a living doing this, that would be great.”
For more information on Student Pulse, please visit http://studentpulse.com/
For more information on Northeastern’s international affair’s program, please visit www.northeastern.edu/internationalaffairs