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How to Get Published in The International Journal of High School Research?

Publishing research at the high school level is an excellent way for you to give your research credibility. However, figuring out where to publish your research can be tricky for high school students especially if someone is conducting research for the first time.


There are many different journals that accept research from high school students. One of our most popular recommendations for students conducting research at the high school level is the International Journal of High School Research (IJHSR).


In this guide, we will cover this journal in detail and what it takes to get published here.


What is IJHSR?

The International Journal of High School Research publishes student research in behavioral and social sciences, technology, engineering, and math. It is published by the Terra Science and Education publication, a nonprofit organization, that is also behind the Genius Science Olympiad (we have written a detailed guide on Genius Science Olympiad).


IJHSR is peer-reviewed by university faculty members, STEM experts, postdoctoral researchers, and doctoral students. It has a rolling submission policy and open access to the public. The journal has been published since 2019 and all manuscripts published are indexed internationally by EBSCO, which makes it available to be searched by most libraries around the world.


IJHSR is particularly popular among students because it accepts both original research and literature review articles. Many of our students working on literature review pieces are often looking for avenues to publish their articles in journals. This is especially true for students conducting literature reviews in STEM fields (for students doing original research in STEM, we often recommend journals like the JEI as a first choice). IJHSR is one of our top recommendations for such students due to its selective nature and high quality work.


An important point about IJHSR is that in order to be considered for this journal, students have to find three reviewers who will agree to review their paper. These reviewers will then be contacted by IJHSR for feedback on your paper which you will have to incorporate. This is an important requirement because many students do not apply to IJHSR solely because of the difficulty and time-consuming nature of finding these three academic reviewers.


How prestigious and selective is IJHSR?

Based on our experience of guiding many students to IJHSR, we estimate that 50% of all those who submit their research at IJHSR get published. However, this relatively high acceptance rate hides the difficulty behind the submission process itself.


The reason for this discrepancy is the difficulty of finding reviewers. Out of all the students who target IJHSR as their first choice, many do not find the reviewers needed and end up not submitting their draft here. For instance, in our experience, we have noticed that out of all the students who select IJHSR as their first preference to submit their research, only 20-30% end up getting published here. Those who do manage to find the required reviewers and submit their drafts, have a 50% acceptance rate as mentioned.


Keeping this in mind, we believe that while IJHSR is a prestigious option that we usually recommend many of our students across STEM and social sciences, it is still not the most selective journal in our database. Getting published in a journal like IJHSR would boost your research's credibility and make it stand out from unpublished research. However, it is less prestigious than winning an international science fair, such as RSI, or being published in a highly selective journal such as the Columbia Junior Science Journal or the Concord Review.


What are the formatting guidelines for IJHSR?

It's worth noting that IJHSR has fairly standard formatting requirements common to most journals. We are mentioning some important formatting points to keep in mind here:

  • All papers should be submitted in the Arial font: Body/Paragraph Text: 10pt font

  • Sub Headers: 12pt font, italicized, bold Section

  • Headers: 14 pt font, bold

  • Paper Title: 16pt font, bold

  • Papers are to be single-spaced. Do not indent paragraphs.

In our experience, the best way to follow the formatting guidelines of IJHSR is to use their official template and paste your text on the same document while adhering to the format. They have two different templates for review articles and original research. Please use the one relevant to your research.


How much does it cost to publish?

There is no fees to submit an article. However, when an article is accepted for publication, there is a $250 publication fee.


The publication charge, generally, is used by journals to cover the cost of running the journal (hiring editors, website maintenance, etc.). Having this charge per se does not reduce the legitimacy of a journal. However, an important thing to keep in mind is that usually, the most selective and prestigious publications do not have fees associated with them. For instance, journals like the Journal of Emerging Investigators, the Columbia Junior Science Journal, and the Concorde Review do not have any publication costs associated with them.


What does the submission process look like?

As per the IJHSR website, the entire publication process from draft submission to publication may take 4-8 months depending on how many revisions are needed and how soon the authors can resubmit their revised paper. However, in our experience, we have seen that it can take a full year for most of our students to see their papers finally published.


Submitting the final draft

When you are ready to submit, please email your article to editor@terraed.org as a single document named as “LastName_FirstName” or “LastName_LastName_LastName” (if multiple authors). Any images (including figures, formulas) used in the article should be submitted separately in high resolution and .png format in the same email with the article.

As mentioned earlier, this is also the step where you will have to provide the names of three reviewers. Reviewers must be outside your organization and be experts who did not help you in your research. They may be people you referenced in your paper, people you admire or wish to work with in the future.


Timeline

Once you have emailed your final draft, a more detailed outline of the entire process of submission and review can be found below:

  1. Check for basic formatting: The Editor-in-Chief will check the submitted article for the proper format, styling, plagiarism (using TurnitIn), and citations. If there are format issues, they may send it back to you to correct the specific issues. The use of the template is very important for this step.

  2. Review stage: Once the proper format is established, the Editor reviews the paper to see whether it is scientifically sound research and suitable for publication. If the editor agrees, they will forward the paper to two or more outside reviewers who have expertise in the field for their independent scientific opinion. We have covered this stage in more detail later where we show examples of the feedback received by our student.

  3. Feedback incorporation: Reviewers may ask for revisions before publication or the paper may be denied for publication. Based on reviewers’ feedback, the editor may ask for corrective action on the paper before accepting it for publication. Please keep in mind that students specifically get 30 days to make revisions.

  4. Payment: Once the revisions are submitted and it is accepted fully, the publication fee payment will be requested. The fees can be paid by credit card. A payment link will be sent to your email address. You may request a fee waiver/reduction scholarship.

  5. Final revisions: Once the fee is paid (or a scholarship is awarded), the paper is sent to copy editors for article placement in the Journal. Once the article is placed into production, the author will receive a copy to check for errors. Only when the author approves the publication of the final version, the article will be added to the queue for the next available issue. An important point that we would like to stress here is that the time between acceptance and final publication is the most time consuming stage out of all the ones mentioned above. Before you apply, keep this point in mind!

Example Lumiere student who published in IJHSR - Naisha Agarwal

There is no better way to understand the process of getting published at IJHSR than by going through a student’s journey from start to finish. Naisha Agarwal was part of Lumiere’s Winter 2021 cohort and conducted her research to study how social media apps like Instagram affect disordered eating and self-image.


We interviewed Naisha to understand her journey in more detail. Please note that the interview has been edited for brevity.


How long did it take you to complete your paper?

I started the process in December 2021 and finally completed the paper by April 2022. Since my paper was based on my own original research and experiment, it took a lot longer than my fellow Lumiere cohort members (I had to complete various extra procedures like getting approval from an ethics committee, designing a survey, etc).


How important was mentorship for this process?

Having a mentor was crucial. With her help, I narrowed down on my research question, made necessary edits, and analyzed survey results with the help of a test - something I would not have been able to do alone.


When did you submit your work and when did it finally get published?

I submitted my paper in April 2022, and it just recently got published in the February

2023 edition.


Note: An point of information here is that Naisha was accepted into the publication in August. However, the research actually got published in February of the following year. This time lag between getting accepted and getting published is common in many journals. The important thing here is that even if you have been accepted (and not published), you can still mention it in your college applications as an achievement!


How would you rate your overall experience with IJHSR?

My experience was good, however, getting published in the IJHSR was definitely a tedious process. Before submitting, I had to format the paper according to a specific template. After submission, the reviewers were contacted, and after they sent in their edits I had a month to implement their suggestions. In the end, however, the outcome made all the work worth it.


What were some challenges that you faced with the journal?

Getting published took much longer than I expected. I felt that the journal took extremely long getting back to me, and delayed my publication. It took almost an entire year to get published!


What advice do you have for others interested in submitting here?

Regularly keep in touch with the journal, emailing them frequently and reminding them of your paper! Otherwise they may keep delaying. It is important to ask for updates. Take all of your reviewers’ suggestions seriously and try to implement everything. Since there are 3 reviewers, their opinions may clash. If this happens you should trust your own instinct, and do whatever seems right to you. Remember that in the end it is your paper!


What kind of feedback did you get from the IJHSR?

For IJHSR, I was required to find 3 reviewers of my paper, each of which gave me their own feedback and edits. These reviewers are meant to be professionals in their field of study, preferably with PhDs.


Before submitting my paper to the IJHSR for the selection process, I was required to find these reviewers myself and provide their names and email ids with my submission. Lumiere helped me to find appropriate reviewers who were willing to help me out. Hence it was not the IJHSR who gave me feedback, but reviewers who I suggested to the IJHSR.


Feedback from IJHSR


As Naisha mentioned, the reviewers gave their feedback to the IJHSR, who then passed their suggestions on to her.


Naisha shared the feedback that she received with us. Please find screenshots of the suggestions below:

Section-wise feedback can be found here:

6 Tips To Get Into IJHSR

Given the case study mentioned above and our experience of guiding many students successfully to IJHSR, we recommend students keep in mind the following points when submitting to IJHSR.

  1. Contact reviewers in advance: A unique aspect of the IJHSR is that it requires you to contact and acquire 3 professors or post-doctoral scholars who agree to review your paper. This is a fairly time-consuming process, so if you’re aiming to publish in IJHSR, we would recommend that you get started on this early in your research process! At Lumiere, we usually recommend our students to reach out to the authors of the papers that students cite as part of their own research. On average, we advise students to email at least 50 potential reviewers. This tends to lead to a positive response from 3 of them.

  2. Literature reviews face more competition: IJHSR accepts literature review submissions but at the same time it clearly states that these submissions are more competitive and that only 2-3 articles are accepted in any particular issue. While this is not meant to discourage you from pursuing this option, it means that you must aim for extremely high quality work.

  3. Find a mentor: Research paper writing is an academically intensive process and the guidance required for this is often not found at the school level. Guidance from an external mentor can fill this academic void by pointing out scientific inconsistencies in your arguments and giving critical feedback on your paper. Another important benefit of having a mentor is that it will help you in understanding the heavy literature that is often a key part of the writing/research process.

  4. Review the guidelines thoroughly: IJHSR has formatting guidelines that you must go through. These include everything from how you must cite references to how you can include diagrams in your paper. Make sure you go check these more than once to avoid unnecessary delays. The templates can be found here. We recommend that you use these templates as a starting point and modify your paper to fit these guidelines.

  5. Have a backup: Despite how good you think your paper is, you must plan your backup beforehand. What if you do not get into IJHSR? What if the edits they have suggested are too time-consuming and you are on a tight deadline due to college applications? Be prepared for any such eventuality and find a journal that has a higher acceptance rate and a faster turnaround time. The National High School Journal of Science is a great example of this.

Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you’re looking for a mentor to submit to a journal like IJHSR or want to build your own independent research paper, then consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program. Last year over 2100 students applied for about 500 spots in the program. You can find the application form here.


You can see our admission results here for our students.


Manas is a publication strategy associate at Lumiere Education. He studied public policy and interactive media at NYU and has experience in education consulting.

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