Polygence blog / How to Conduct and Showcase Research

A Guide to Publishing Your Research in the Journal of Emerging Investigators

6 minute read

Did your passion for science lead you to delve into original research? If so, the Journal of Emerging Investigators (JEI) might be the perfect platform for you to share your findings. In this guide, we'll explore what JEI is, why it's highly regarded by admission offices, and the key steps to get your work published.

Founded in 2011 by Harvard graduate students, JEI stands out as a premier publication destination for high school students and STEM research scholars. What makes it popular is not just its origin but also the rigorous review process it offers. Facilitated with the guidance of a teacher or advisor, JEI extends the opportunity for young scientists to submit their work, receive valuable feedback, and ultimately have their findings published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal`. 

This guide is designed to steer you through the nuanced journey of how to get your research paper published, offering insights from eligibility requirements to submission timelines, empowering you to present your research on a global stage. For those exploring journals and conferences to publish research as a high school student, it's crucial to understand the eligibility criteria that define the scope of acceptable submissions.

#1 Academic Level: Middle and High School Students

If you find yourself in these academic stages, congratulations! You meet the first eligibility criterion!

#2 Research Focus

JEI welcomes submissions from a wide array of scientific disciplines, including but not limited to biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental science. Whether your research involves unraveling the mysteries of cellular biology or exploring the impact of climate change, JEI provides a canvas for your scientific endeavors.

#3 Originality and Significance

Your research should be original and demonstrate a clear significance in the broader scientific context. Whether it's a novel experiment, an innovative approach to data analysis, or a unique interpretation of existing literature, JEI values contributions that push the boundaries of knowledge.

If that sounds like it’s something up your alley, below are further details about the history, eligibility criteria, and process for publication in JEI.

A proven college admissions edge

Polygence alumni had a 90% admissions rate to R1 universities in 2023. Polygence provides high schoolers a personalized, flexible research experience proven to boost your admission odds. Get matched to a mentor now!"

JEI’s History

JEI's journey began when Harvard graduate student Sarah Fankhauser shared the idea of a high school student publication with her peers at Harvard Medical School in 2011. It started with volunteer graduate students and quickly expanded to involve students from various schools. In its decade-long existence, JEI has not only published over 600 papers but has also ventured into projects focused on science access. Despite its growth, JEI remains a non-profit run entirely by research volunteers, emphasizing its commitment to expanding research access. Programs like JEI are among the many competitive summer programs high school students can participate in to gain valuable research experience and mentorship.

Selective Process with High Standards

JEI holds a "selective" status among high school journals for STEM scholars, denoting its comprehensive multi-step review process and high standards for publishable research. Understanding JEI's selectivity requires insight into its meticulous review process. The initial submission prompts revisions and manuscripts are accepted as long as suggested revisions are completed. Over the past five years, 70-75% of submitted manuscripts have reached publication. The remaining 25-30% mainly face withdrawal due to authors declining revisions or ethical issues like plagiarism.

Eligibility Criteria

To embark on the JEI journey, you must be a middle or high school student (6-12th grade) at the time of the original submission. The initial submission should precede your enrollment in a university and access to advanced labs or techniques is not a prerequisite. What sets JEI apart is the requirement for a senior mentor to be included as the last author on all manuscripts. This mentor, while not necessarily a full-time researcher, is crucial for guiding the research process.

What are the topics in JEI?

The topics JEI accepts span most academic disciplines, but the key requirement is original research with a hypothesis. Unlike literature reviews or theoretical papers, JEI seeks hypothesis-driven research paper, emphasizing the scientific process over groundbreaking discoveries. Notably, JEI does not accept manuscripts related to COVID-19 epidemiology, management, detection, treatment, or prevention, as well as the biology of SARS-CoV-2.

How much does it cost?

One of the standout features of JEI is that it's FREE to get published! Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis, and the journal article typically takes 6-10 weeks to review and provide feedback.

How long will it take?

While the average review and publishing process takes 7 to 8 months, the timeline can vary. Submissions peak between May-September and December-January, leading to potential delays. JEI employs a detailed formatting guide, and manuscripts are submitted through their Editorial Manager. Importantly, students cannot submit their manuscripts; a teacher, mentor, or Principal Investigator must submit on their behalf.

Where can I find a mentor?

Polygence is a hub of mentors ready to support young students in scientific projects and original research that universities will love. These mentors, experts in various fields, guide students through projects, offering real-world experience and academic insight. Whether exploring environmental science, biomedical research, or computer science, Polygence provides personalized mentorship. Students not only receive subject-specific guidance but also learn effective and the latest research methods, academic writing, and scientific communication. The collaborative environment nurtures curiosity, creating portfolios that universities will undoubtedly recognize and appreciate in aspiring researchers. You can check out the Polygences mentors bios here!

Contribute to the cure

Interested in Medicine? We'll match you with an expert mentor who will help you explore your next project.

Publishing vs Showcasing

When deciding between publishing vs showcasing your research, it's important to consider the different outcomes each path offers. Publishing in a recognized journal like JEI provides formal recognition, a peer-reviewed platform, and a significant addition to your academic credentials. On the other hand, showcasing your research, such as presenting at science fairs or conferences, offers immediate feedback, networking opportunities, and, often, a chance to engage with a broader audience in real-time. Both approaches are valuable and can complement each other in building a robust research profile.

For those with a strong focus on humanities, particularly historical research, publishing in Concord Review can be a prestigious alternative. This journal specifically caters to high-quality history essays by high school students, offering a platform similar to JEI but within the humanities domain. 

JEI offered a unique opportunity for 8th-10th graders in the United States to delve into the world of scientific research through its Mini-PhD Program in the past summer. The eight-week program, which ran from June 3rd to July 29th, aimed to guide students through the entire research process, from formulating a testable research question to writing a manuscript for publication. Conducted online via Zoom on Saturdays from 10 am to 12 pm EST, the program, led by Harvard graduate students, provided mentorship, knowledge, and resources for students to conduct their independent research projects. 

The program emphasized inclusivity, encouraging applications from individuals from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, those with disabilities, first-generation college students, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Successful completion of the program equipped young students with the skills to submit their independent research projects to JEI for publication, creating a valuable opportunity to stand out on college applications and build connections with fellow young researchers. 

Although the Summer 2023 program has concluded, students are encouraged to look out for this exciting opportunity in 2024. The application deadline for the past summer was extended to May 12th, 2023, with teacher recommendations due by May 19th, 2023. While there was no minimum GPA requirement, applicants were encouraged to demonstrate enthusiasm for independent mentor-supervised research projects. The program, conducted entirely online, provided participants with science kits to facilitate hands-on experiments at home, fostering engagement and practical application of scientific concepts. Notably, the program was FREE, eliminating financial barriers for interested students!

Polygence Scholars Are Also Passionate About

The FAQ section addressed common queries, emphasizing the program's flexibility and the importance of full attendance to maximize learning. Overall, JEI's Mini-PhD Program presented a unique opportunity for young minds to explore, question, and contribute to the scientific community, laying the foundation for a future in STEM. Students should be on the lookout for this exceptional program in 2024.