Submission and publication is on a rolling basis, therefore there are no deadlines to be concerned about. Improperly formatted submissions will need to be reformatted by the authors before the publication. Once you have read the submissions guidelines and are ready to submit your work, scroll to the bottom of this page to submit your own research article!
An information packet with a basic manuscript help sheet, sample paper and sample reviews, and an overview of the peer-review process can be found here.
Research Article Requirements
A research article is a body of research (conducted by the authors of the article) that describes a specific scientific question that is being explored, the experimental methods used to address the question, the results of the experiments, and the conclusions that can be drawn from the results.
Turning science fair into a science paper
These Powerpoint slides are designed to show students how to convert their science fair project into a science paper. Download.
Before Writing, Keep In Mind:
- The authors should pose an interesting, clearly-stated scientific question.
- To answer this question, the authors must perform hypothesis-driven experiments that 1) are clearly described, 2) contain the necessary controls, 3) take into account experimental error/noise, and 4) provide believable and interpretable results.
- The authors must derive appropriate conclusions from their data that are supported by their results.
- A middle school teacher, high school teacher, or college/university professor must serve as a senior author. A senior author 1) provides guidance during the project, 2) reviews the manuscript prior to submission, and 3) is listed as the last author on the manuscript.
- Submissions are accepted and published on a rolling basis.
While Writing, Keep In Mind:
- The manuscript must contain title page, abstract, introduction, results, discussion, materials and methods, and references sections. For detailed descriptions of each of these elements, see below.
- Data must be presented in figures with appropriate captions.
- The article must provide an appropriate and sufficient background on the subject matter and must include references.
- Manuscript must be correctly formatted with references.
After Writing, Keep In Mind:
- Manuscript must be submitted as a zip file that includes the text of the article in Word format and each figure as a separate JPEG image. The text of the article and the figure captions should be in Word format. Each figure should be a separate JPEG image. The maximum manuscript length (excluding figures and figure captions) is 10 pages (size 11 font, Times New Roman, 1.5 line spacing, 1 inch margins). It should be emphasized that this is a maximum page limit and that shorter manuscripts are quite acceptable.
- All students that contributed to the project should be listed as authors of the manuscript. Authors should be ordered based on their contribution to the project, with the student(s) who made the largest contribution listed first. If multiple authors made the same contribution to the manuscript, this should be noted upon submission by placing an asterix next to the students’ names and a footnote on the title page that these students made equal contributions. 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.
Science Content (this is the most important aspect of the paper!)
- 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 authors.
- All work with human subjects and/or vertebrate animals must adhere to International Rules for Precollege Science Research. Documents for human subject consent forms and vertebrate animal forms can be found here. If human or vertebrate animal work is performed then these documents must be included in the submission zip file.
- The editors at JEI recognize that students have access to different types of scientific equipment. We will focus on the students’ ability to pose and successfully address an interesting scientific question – and NOT the sophistication of the techniques. We encourage all students to enjoy the thrill of scientific inquiry.
Research Article Outline
The title page should include a title which succinctly describes the content of the manuscript. This page should also have all of the authors listed in the order in which they contributed, with the teacher or college/university mentor listed last. Please also include the school of the students and the school or place where the research was performed. Here is a sample title page.
An abstract should be a short (under 250 words) summary of the scientific question, major results, and conclusions. The abstract should be on a separate page, after the title page but before the remainder of the manuscript.
The introduction should
- briefly describe the overarching scientific topic of the paper
- contain a clearly-stated scientific question/hypothesis
- provide background information on that scientific question (including references) such that the audience understands the question being asked AND why this question is of interest
- briefly summarize the conclusions drawn from the authors’ research.
Note that the purpose of the introduction is to provide context for the manuscript and it is not to be a comprehensive review of all the literature on the subject.
The authors must address the scientific question with well-designed scientific experiments. For each experiment, the authors must
- describe the rationale for the experiment
- briefly explain how the experiment was performed (additional or lengthy details should be included in only the Materials and Methods section)
- interpret the scientific data, referencing the figures that contain the results (graphs, charts, tables, equations, etc).
Note that it is important to discuss the experimental controls and to include statistical analysis when appropriate. It is also important that the authors draw appropriate and reasonable conclusions from their experimental data.
Data must be presented in figures that contain a descriptive caption.
For the purposes of submission, figure captions should appear at the end of the article, after the references. If the article is accepted by JEI for publication, editors will place the figure legend underneath the appropriate figure.
In the discussion section, the authors should discuss the results and their interpretation of the results. The authors should
- summarize the experimental results and draw conclusions from the experimental data
- discuss factors that could have influenced the results, such as sources of error or bias in interpretation
- address the significance of the results
- discuss remaining scientific questions and/or potential future experiments.
As noted above, it is important that the authors draw appropriate and reasonable conclusions from their scientific data.
The authors should describe the methods in enough detail such that a different scientist could perform the same experiments and obtain the same results. Materials should not be listed out but should be mentioned within the context of the respective experiment that the materials were used. For example, when explaining a method within this section the author could state the materials used: “bacteria were grown in standard LB media (FisherSci) for 24 hours at 37C while shaking.”
Citations should be in the appropriate MLA format at the end of the manuscript (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/07/). An example of a journal citation is as follows: Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal. Volume. Issue (Year): pages. Medium of publication.
Citations within the manuscript should be numbered based on when they appear in the manuscript. For example, the first citation should have a (1) at the end of the sentence; this (1) should correspond to the first citation in the reference section.
Often, scientists cite research that is published in scientific journals (like this one!). Given the complexity of these journals and their lack of public availability, we encourage students to cite textbooks, encyclopedias, and science magazines.
Internet sources, such as a well-documented Wikipedia articles, are acceptable. However, only 50% of the references may be internet sources. All internet sources will be assessed by the reviewers.
*Plagiarism: It is important that authors cite all information obtained from their sources. However, it is unacceptable to use sentences and paragraphs verbatim from a source, even if that source is cited. We encourage students to try to interpret texts to the best of their ability and explain concepts in their own words. Any manuscript that has plagiarized material will be sent back to the author for major revisions, and in extreme cases the manuscript will be declined.
Example of plagiarism: For more extensive repair, stem cells are maintained in the quiescent state, and can then be activated and mobilized to the required site.
Why is that sentence considered plagiarized? First, there is no citation, so the reader has no idea where the information came from. This is important because a reader may want more information on the topic and therefore needs to know where to obtain that information. Second, this sentence is verbatim from the website: http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/stemcell/overview.php.
This is a section to acknowledge people who have made minor contributions to the manuscript. For example, people who have read and commented on your manuscript before submission should be acknowledged. This is also the section to state your funding sources (if any).
Authors should have appropriate spelling and sentence/paragraph structure.
The passive voice should be avoided.
Authors should use appropriate scientific language. For example, data “is consistent with” or “supports” a given hypothesis, as opposed to “proves” it.
Each reviewer will assess the manuscript using the rubric above and provide a following recommendation:
- Accept with minor revisions: this generally will require changes in text or reinterpretation or more in-depth interpretation of the data. Manuscripts with minor revisions are expected to be resubmitted within 6 weeks after receiving this recommendation.
- Accept with major revisions: this will generally require additional experiments to be performed, as suggested by the reviewers, to support the conclusions. Resubmissions of manuscripts accepted with major revisions will generally not have a time limitation for resubmission. Papers that are accepted with major revisions will be sent out for review upon resubmission.
- Decline: in some cases a manuscript will not be suitable for publication in JEI. A decline will be based on the scientific aspects of the paper.
The editor will compile the reviews and make the final decision about publication and which revisions will be required. The editor will contact the authors by email and provide the reviews and his or her decision.
If you have additional questions, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page: http://emerginginvestigators.org/jei-faq.