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Top Medical Journals for High School Students to Publish In

3 minute read

Learning about medicine is something that many students are interested in, given the popularity of the pre-med track among undergraduate students. However, who says that you have to wait until college to embark on a summer research program in medicine and healthcare? If you have research experience or are planning a research project, it’s not a bad idea to start thinking about a journal where you could be published. Contrary to what you might think, there are numerous journals out there that welcome high school student submissions. 

By submitting your work, you can learn about the peer-review process of scientific research. You might also have the opportunity to gain a mentor by having your work reviewed by current students, graduate students, or scientists. In this article, we’ll cover our top medicine journals that offer a research opportunity for high schoolers. 

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What Are the Top Medical Journals For High Schoolers?

1. New England Journal of Medicine

Since 1812, NEJM has published some of the highest-quality research to advance medical science and improve patient care. The journal includes an extensive peer review process conducted by physician editors and reviewers. What makes this journal potentially a good fit for high school juniors and seniors is that there is a wide variety of categories that you can participate in. If formal research training intimidates you, you can complete submissions like a Letter to the Editor or even submit images that showcase concepts in clinical medicine. Further, NEJM gives you the chance to gauge interest in your research prior to making a formal submission by allowing you to complete a Presubmission Inquiry.

  • Cost: Free

  • Deadline: Throughout the year (unless you are making a Letter to the Editor submission, in which you have three weeks to after the publication date of the article to which you’re responding)

  • Type of research: Original research, clinical cases, review articles, editorials and letters to the editor, images and videos in clinical medicine

2. Brown Journal of Medical Humanities

Run by undergraduate students, this new publication emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of medicine and illness, including topics such as bioethics, medical anthropology, history of medicine, and medical storytelling. This journal does a great job of encouraging submissions in topics beyond just original medicine research and for patients and physicians alike to share their unique experiences related to medicine. For prospective students and those just starting research training, there is also a lot of opportunity for literary creativity, given that the Brown Journal of Medical Humanities is one of the few STEM journals we’ve seen that allows for written fiction submissions.

  • Cost: Free

  • Deadline: Has passed for 2023; check website for updates

  • Type of research: Academic papers, fiction, poetry, visual art (photos, paintings, etc.)

3. Cambridge Medicine Journal

This student-run, peer-reviewed, open-access journal welcomes all submissions from a research project by a graduate student to a pre-college program paper by a high school junior.  Based in the UK, it has an editorial board composed of college students from around the world. As far as the submission timeline goes, initial screening usually occurs within a few days, after which the editors will provide constructive feedback. The journal website mentions that the acceptance rate for articles averages around 50% and that in many cases the journal will invite authors to resubmit their articles. The Cambridge Medicine Journal is a great option as it emphasizes feedback for all authors and isn’t overly exclusive. Do keep in mind however that submissions must use Vancouver style citation format. For more on citation and bibliographies, check out our complete guide to citing sources for research.

  • Cost: Free

  • Deadline: Throughout the year

  • Type of research: Research articles, case reports, personal perspectives on future of medicine, letter to the editor, images in medicine

4. Harvard Medical School Review

The scope of this student-run medical journal is intentionally broad, giving students a wide range of topics to choose from and providing students a platform to contribute their perspectives to issues in health and medicine. The journal allows for submissions in research, prose, poetry, and artwork. Although the website mentions that the journal is intended for medical school students, we believe that any research, opinion on healthcare or medicine, or work of art that is properly researched and follows the author’s manual should hold up to the standard of the journal. If you’re interested in what previous submissions have looked like, you can check out the journal archives.

  • Cost: Free

  • Deadline: Throughout the year

  • Type of research: Research articles and literature reviews, perspectives on current healthcare issues, artwork, poetry

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5. Florida Medical Student Research Journal (FMSRJ)

This journal based out of the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine aims to help Florida medical students learn about the peer review process, but the editorial policy mentions that the journal accepts submissions from anyone conducting scientific research in medicine. The journal was founded in 2015 and is one of 18 journals worldwide publishing original research. Be sure to check out FMSRJ’s submission guidelines before sending in your work. For inspiration, you can look through past editions of the journal.

  • Cost: Free

  • Deadline: Throughout the year

  • Type of research: Original research, case studies, reviews, editorials

6. Health and Human Rights Journal

Starting in 1994, the Health and Human Rights Journal is an online, open-access publication supported by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University. The journal aims to increase awareness of human rights knowledge in the health field. There are a variety of submission types available for researchers, but student essays is the only section available for students to participate in. The essays should have a clear human rights grounding and focus on a public health issue. Submissions are then peer-reviewed by a select editorial group. Considering these parameters, you can use your passion for biomedical science or high school summer program experience to your advantage by approaching human rights from an acute academic perspective. 

  • Cost: Free

  • Deadline: Submissions welcome at any time. Journal published twice a year in June and December

  • Type of research: Essays

7. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine (YJBM)

This open-access, peer-reviewed, quarterly journal is the oldest medical student journal still in print, dating back to 1928. This international journal has a rich history of landmark articles, featuring notable contributors and an editorial board consisting of students and faculty from the Yale School of Medicine. Unlike some other journals, each issue of the journal has a specific focus topic voted upon by the YJBM board. For example, the June 2024 issue focuses on Chronic Diseases while the September 2024 issue focuses on Integrative Medicine. If any of those topics sound interesting to you, conducting research for this journal can be a great way to explore an interesting subtopic within medicine. You could even gain a research mentor or a laboratory learning program opportunity by submitting to the university's journal.

  • Cost: Free

  • Deadline: Next deadline is February 1st, 2024 for the June 2024 issue. The next deadline after that is March 1st, 2024 for the September 2024 issue.

  • Type of research: Original research, reviews, perspectives, book reviews, interviews

Can You Submit to Multiple Medical Journals?

Are your sights set on a prestigious institution like Stanford University or Princeton University? Publishing your research is a great way to set yourself apart from other applicants. Ultimately, your research can only be published in one peer-reviewed journal. Submitting the same paper to multiple peer-reviewed journals is not allowed and many websites of the journals listed above mention that explicitly. If your work is not accepted at one journal, however, then you’re free to submit your research to your next choice. Keep in mind however that journals will often have different formatting and citation requirements, so do not just copy and paste the same submission to every journal! 

Take the time to carefully read through submission guidelines and checklists. You can also submit your research to a preprint archive in addition to a peer-reviewed journal, since a preprint archive is an online library of research that is not peer-reviewed and allows you to share your research easily with others. A great example of a preprint archive is the Research Archive of Rising Scholars (RARS) created by Polygence!

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How Can Polygence Help With Next Steps?

Whether you're interested in biomedical research, computer science, or medicine, submitting to a journal can be a summer science research program of your own making. High school research may seem daunting, but with passion for your research project and knowledge of the criteria, you are well on your way to academic success that will aid you in your future internship or higher education journey. Get a head start on undergraduate research by enrolling in a research training program, planning a summer session with a research mentor, and starting the publishing process today!

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