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Northeastern Undergraduate Starts Online Journal of Student Work

A Northeastern University student might spend more time reading student papers than most professors do.

The student, Dustin R. Turin, devotes a couple of hours each morning to look at papers sent in by students from across the country, and even so, he has a 50-paper-high pile waiting for his attention.

Mr. Turin runs an online academic journal of student work, Student Pulse, that publishes students’ work and pays them for it. He got the idea after thinking about all the papers he had written during college that nobody but his professors would ever see. He felt it was a pity to have worked on so many interesting essays that never lived past the day they were due, and he realized that plenty of other students probably felt the same way.

“Not every paper necessarily deserves to be published,” he said. “But some people are really writing great papers.”

Mr. Turin, who is an international-affairs major with a background in Web design, spent about a month developing Student Pulse, which first went online in October. Since then, he has received about 300 submissions from undergraduate and graduate students and has published about half of those. He gets an average of about three submissions per day, which he and two other student editors review.

Though the student editors admit they are not experts in every field, they say they look for high-quality references, proper grammar and style, and fundamentally good writing to decide what to accept.

“Usually by the end of the introduction, I have a pretty good idea of whether we’re going to be able to publish it,” Mr. Turin said.

Mr. Turin also enlisted a Northeastern business student to help with accounting and other administrative matters. Student Pulse sells ads, which allows it to pay its contributors each time their article gets a thousand hits. Mr. Turin would not disclose how much Student Pulse pays, but he said, “I don’t think anybody is under the illusion that they’re going to get rich off of two articles.”

“We do it to be fair,” he added.

Student Pulse has published papers from students at institutions all around the country, though so far many of the institutions are located in Boston. Mr. Turin said there are not a significant number of submissions from his own university.

Contributors send in English papers more than anything else. Most of the papers are undergraduate work, but Mr. Turin said that there have been “a fair amount” of graduate student submissions as well. “When we do get graduate submissions, those oftentimes get featured,” Mr. Turin said. People even send in their master’s theses.

Mr. Turin said that he thinks most people who visit Student Pulse are “incidental visitors” who found the Web site through a search engine. Google News picks up Student Pulse, which brings in many of its visitors, so the articles often appear in search results right next to an article from The New York Times, The Washington Post, or Time magazine.

“Look at the audience that this student is now connecting with,” he said. “Their name is sitting there right next to some famous author or some famous journalist.”

So far, Student Pulse has turned just a small profit. Mr. Turin said he doesn’t think he’ll ever live off the money from the Web site, but he would like to see it grow.

“I think it’s a valuable resource for people,” he said, “and if we can make a little money on the side, that’s a great goal.”

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