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Why Publish at JEI?

Learn the scientific method

JEI connects students with the PhD candidates and more advanced investigators who work in university research labs. When you submit your work to JEI, these researchers will give you meaningful feedback on your science. This feedback will help provide you with ideas on how to expand your question, more thoroughly investigate your hypothesis, or more accurately interpret your results.

Share your science

JEI helps middle school and high school students communicate their research with others. Scientists build on each other’s work by formulating new questions based on what others have already found out about a phenomenon, so publishing science research in journals is crucial for science to move forward. Just like other academic journals, JEI facilitates that communication between you and other students like you.

Be recognized as a scientist

JEI helps recognize you as emerging young scientists by publishing your work. The firsthand experience of what being a scientist is like will help you prepare for pursuing more advanced science later in your career.

Who Should Publish?

Anyone can publish with JEI

We encourage all middle school or high school students to submit research that tests a reasonable hypothesis. JEI does not judge submissions based on the “cutting edge” nature of the research, and access to university labs and advanced techniques are not required. In fact, some of the most noteworthy manuscripts submitted to JEI use inexpensive, household materials in creative ways to test an interesting question. We focus on your ability to pose and successfully address an interesting scientific question, not the sophistication of the techniques.

Senior Authors

A middle school teacher, high school teacher, or college/university professor must serve as a senior author. If the research was conducted at home, a parent can serve as senior author. A senior author

  1. provides guidance during the project,
  2. reviews the manuscript prior to submission,
  3. submits the manuscript to JEI via Editorial Manager
  4. is listed as the last author on the manuscript, and
  5. provides guidance during the submission and review process.

What Makes a Project Appropriate for JEI?

You should pose an interesting, clearly-stated scientific question. You must then perform appropriately-controlled experiments to answer this question. Given the depth and complexity of scientific research, it is difficult to propose a novel scientific question that has not been addressed previously. Thus, it is not necessary that the scientific question/conclusions be truly original (although this is preferred). However, the authors MUST propose a scientific question to which they themselves do not know the answer. Furthermore, all experimental data that is not cited MUST have been experimentally obtained by the student authors.

The editors at JEI recognize that students have access to different types of scientific equipment. We will focus on your ability to pose and successfully address an interesting scientific question, NOT the sophistication of the techniques. We encourage all students to enjoy the thrill of scientific inquiry.

What types of projects are NOT appropriate for JEI?

Some examples of work that are NOT appropriate for JEI are: scientific review of a topic, a description of an invention, and an ideation of a project. If your project is engineering-related or involves an invention, you should generate a hypothesis regarding that invention’s function and test the function with a rigorously designed experiment.

Importantly, data published in JEI must NOT be published in any other academic journal. If your work has been already published or is in preparation for publication in another journal, it is not appropriate for JEI.

Requirements for projects involving vertebrate animals and/or human subjects

All research published in JEI must adhere to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) guidelines for ethical research involving vertebrate animals and human subjects. In most cases, this involves obtaining approval for your project from either a Scientific Review Committee (SRC), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), or Institutional Review Board (IRB) before beginning your research.

What is an SRC/IRB/IACUC?

An SRC is a group of people who review each research project to ensure that it meets ethical standards and complies with all legal requirements. An SRC must be composed of at least three people, including a medical professional with research experience (for human subjects research) or PhD-level biomedical scientist (for vertebrate animal research), an educator, and a school administrator. The SRC cannot contain a parent, research supervisor/mentor, or anyone who is an author of the submitted manuscript. An IRB/IACUC serves a similar role as an SRC, but is associated with a federally regulated research institution. All research conducted at a regulated research institution should have been reviewed and approved by the appropriate IRB (for human subjects research) or IACUC (for vertebrate animal research) prior to the beginning of the study.

What documentation do I need to submit with my manuscript?

If you conducted your study at a regulated research institution, you must submit a copy of the IRB/IACUC approval for your study (or the larger project that your study belongs to) or an official letter from the IRB/IACUC attesting that no approval is required.

If your study was conducted outside of a regulated research institution, you will require approval from an SRC. Because most science fair organizers require SRC approval, many middle and high schools already have a designated group of teachers and/or administrators that meet the ISEF requirements for SRC composition. JEI provides two forms (one for human subject research and one for vertebrate animal research) that you can use to obtain your SRC certification. Additionally, if your research involves human subjects you may be required to collect informed consent forms for each participant. This form must be pre-approved by the SRC and should be developed before you apply for SRC approval – you can find a template consent form and instructions here. When you submit your manuscript to JEI, you should include copies of the completed human subject research and/or vertebrate animal research forms.

Vertebrate animal research

All studies that involve vertebrate animals must be approved before the beginning of the research project by a Scientific Review Committee (SRC) or Institutional Review Board (IRB), except in cases where all of the following conditions apply:

  • There is no interaction with the animals being observed,
  • There is no manipulation of the animals' environment, and
  • The study meets all federal and state agriculture, fish, game, and wildlife regulations
Where can vertebrate animal research be performed?

The following types of studies involving vertebrate animals can be performed at the student’s home or school, outside of a regulated research institution:

  • Studies that involve studying animals in their natural environment or in a zoo, with no intentional interference from the student researcher.
  • Studies of fish or livestock that use standard agricultural practices.

These projects must be pre-approved by an SRC in which at least one member is a veterinarian or animal care expert with training and/or experience with the species being studied, and they must only use non-invasive methods that do not negatively affect and animal's health or well-being.

All studies involving the use of vertebrate animals that do not fall under one of the categories listed above must be performed in a regulated research institution and be approved by that institution’s IRB.

Human subjects research

All studies involving human subjects (including interviews and surveys) must be approved by an SRC or IRB before beginning the research, except in the following cases:

  • Studies in which the student researcher is the only person involved in the research (i.e. the students themselves are the research subjects), and the testing does not pose a health or safety hazard.
  • Studies that use only data from a pre-existing dataset that is published and/or publicly available, and does not involve any interaction with humans or the collection of any new data from a human participant.
  • Studies that use only behavioral observations in a public setting (e.g. shopping mall, public park), and ALL of the following apply:
    • The student researcher has no interaction with the individuals being studied,
    • The student researcher does not manipulate the environment in any way, and
    • The student researcher does not record any personally identifying data.

Additionally, most studies must obtain written permission (informed consent) from each human subject before they participate in the research. If any of the subjects are minors, written consent is required from both the participant and their parent/guardian. In certain cases, the SRC/IRB may waive this requirement if they determine that the project involves only minimal risk (either physical or emotional) and does not involve the collection of any personal information.

Please see the full ISEF guidelines for human subjects research for a more comprehensive description of requirements and SRC/IRB review criteria.

How to Write a Scientific Manuscript

How do I Start?

Manuscripts for JEI often have their beginnings in at-home science experiments, class assignments, science fair projects, and internships in university labs. Before beginning to write your scientific manuscript, please review the appropriate sections of a scientific manuscript here. A parent, teacher, or mentor can often help you think about your experiments and compose your thoughts before writing. Importantly, you should review the scientific literature, thinking about how previously published research informs your experiments and interpretation of the data. During the writing process, the editors at JEI are always available for contact with any questions, and can often provide feedback as you engage in writing.

Citations and plagiarism

Any of statement of fact that is not common knowledge must be cited properly. Any manuscript that fails to properly cite sources will be considered plagiarized and will be sent back to the authors for major revisions, and in extreme cases can be rejected. See the References section on “Parts of a Scientific Manuscript” to see how to properly cite.

In addition, you should not quote sentences or phrases verbatim from a source, even if the source is cited properly. Instead, you should paraphrase the sentence in your own words. See the following resources for examples of proper paraphrasing.

Scientific papers usually cite work that is published in scientific journals. However, we understand that scientific papers published in these professional journals can be inaccessible by students, both in terms of difficulty and public availability. We encourage students to use and cite readily available resources such as textbooks, encyclopedias, and science magazines. All internet sources will be assessed by the reviewers and editors. Our Resources page contains helpful links for literature search.

How to Prepare for Submission

Submission and publication are on a rolling basis. Once a manuscript successfully goes through the review and editing processes (click here for details of the Review Process) it will immediately be published online.

How do I submit a manuscript?

Manuscript must be submitted as 1) the text of the article in Word (.doc or .docx), and 2) figures either as separate images (any image file format such as .jpg, .jpeg, or .tif) or compressed together as a .zip file. Tables should be included in the Word file along with the text. You should also submit any related files such as the Human Participant Consent form. Detailed instructions about how to upload your manuscript and figures in Editorial Manager can be found here.

The maximum manuscript length (excluding the title page, references, figures and figure captions) is 10 pages (size 11 font, Times New Roman, 1.5 line spacing, 1 inch margins), but shorter manuscripts are quite acceptable.

All students that contributed to the project should be listed as authors, ordered based on their contribution to the project (largest contribution first). If multiple authors made the same contribution to the manuscript, note this by placing an asterisk next to the students’ names and a footnote on the title page. There are no restrictions on the number of authors that can contribute to a manuscript – it is acceptable for a single student or an entire class to submit a single manuscript.

Permissions and Licensing

All uncited data published in JEI must NOT be published in any other academic journal. This is particularly relevant if the research project was performed in a research lab under the guidance of a professor.

Everything published through JEI is free forever and licensed under the Creative Commons attribution non-commercial, no derivative license, so please distribute any articles that interest you!

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