I am a student who's highest academic achievement so far is high school degree. Infact I am not even a university student yet (I will be in few months though). I am working on a thesis that is related to biology. I was a biology student in high school. But my college major is mostly going to be computing. So I have some doubts regarding the publishing part. First doubt is, can I actually publish the thesis? And will I be able to publish by myself without a professor since I worked on it all by myself? If not, can I possibly use the help of a professor from computing department?

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    In the kindest possible way it seems unlikely you will produce a sufficiently novel and advanced thesis solo out of high school to be publishable.
    – Sophie
    Mar 15 at 22:36

3 Answers 3


A thesis is normally something that you do in order to earn a certain degree (e.g. a Bachelor's, Master's, or a Ph.D. thesis). What you are describing would probably be called a (working) paper or a manuscript.

Yes, you can submit your paper, once it is finished, to a journal in your area. Whether you are enrolled in a biology programme or a computing programme or in no programme at all has no bearing on this. There is also no formal requirement that you need anyone else (such as a professor) to be a co-author. Indeed, someone who did put in the work to earn this should not be a co-author of your paper.

If you paper is in biology, it seems unlikely that a professor at the computing (computer science?) department would be able to help with the substance of the paper, unless it also touches on their area of expertise. However, you could certainly reach out to a professor you have a good relationship with and ask them questions about how the mechanics of publication works. The disadvantage of asking a computer scientist would be that they are probably not familiar with how publishing works in biology, but they could perhaps give you some general advice. An advantage would be that it is unlikely that they would try to convince you to add them as a co-author.

However, while there is nothing preventing you from trying to publish your work on your own, beware that publishing your first paper without any outside advice is a very difficult task. In particular, you may not be fully aware of what the expectations are as regards the structure a paper, methodology, relation to the existing literature and so on. I would considering reaching out to an expert in the area at your university and discuss the matter with them. The danger that they will steal your work is, I believe, minimal. (At least according to my experience with Western academia, I don't know how things work elsewhere.) On the other hand, they might wish to be a co-author on your paper in exchange for their assistance. Whether or not this would be a good deal for you is difficult to tell, since it is difficult to estimate (if you have no experience with academic publishing) how far you paper in its current form is from being publishable. It may be that your paper is publishable as is, but it may also be that the paper requires substantial further work before it conforms to the expectations that people in your target field have of publishable papers, in which case I would think having someone knowledgeable help you with this would probably be a good deal.

Another possible scenario is that they will tell you that you work is not publishable for some reason, perhaps due to a lack of novelty or due to some methodological flaws. If this happens, do not take this too badly: already doing non-trivial scientific work on your own as a high school graduate is something that most people never take the initiative to do, regardless of whether or not you succeed publishing it in a journal (a non-trivial task even for people several rungs higher than yourself on the educational ladder!).

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    A "not" is missing in "someone who did put in the work ... should not be a coauthor ...." Mar 15 at 18:42

There are places to publish articles by and for high school students. For example, The National High School Journal of Science, https://nhsjs.com/?mainpage. From their about:

The National High School Journal of Science is a free, online, student-run and peer-reviewed research journal that is targeted towards high school students. Striving to bring science to a wider audience and engaging students in learning beyond the classroom walls, our journal hopes to expose young people to new ideas and topics. This high school student-run science journal always welcomes aspiring scientists to submit articles and to get involved with our publishing process.

There's also https://jhss.scholasticahq.com/, and many more, I'm sure. In addition, there are a variety of similar publications targeted for college undergrads, and you might want to reach for those.

You may also consider publishing down, instead of up or even -- i.e., look for publications or magazines that present science to grade schoolers. This can be pretty rewarding as well. Or, you can choose both!! Writing the same article for completely different audiences is a great exercise (just be careful about copyright issues when you do stuff like that).

You can also contribute to relevant Wikipedia entries, and such.

I'd encourage all of the above, but first try reading similar stuff from whatever path you'd like to take, to get a good feel for whether they're at the right level (don't skip this very important step!!). For example, if your paper is largely a review paper, but the medium you're considering only publishes novel research efforts, you might (or should) reconsider, and move on to the next option.

Any of the above options would be wonderful contributions to your portfolio, and help your application packages to your further academic endeavors you may apply to look more attractive.

I wouldn't necessarily consider submitting to higher-level academic journals without working closely with an advisor. Try not to take that personally, but at your level, it's unlikely that you'd find the resulting interactions very satisfactory, and you're not necessarily trained to a level where you can fairly judge the quality of your own work at the same standard as experienced practitioners in your field -- and that's the group that would be reviewing and refereeing your efforts. It's frustrating enough for the experienced.


With all due respect, you are outside your depth in this situation. Your post shows you are not prepared to publish in any field because you do not have adequate mentorship or experience. Frankly, you wouldn't survive peer review. The best advice I can offer is to enroll in a program, join a lab and get experience and guidance in whatever field interests you. Publishing should be your last concern at this point. Once you are in a program and can tap into a network of knowledgeable researchers then and only then should you preoccupy yourself with publishing. Even then your goal should be to be a helpful co-author not first author.

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    I downvoted. Why not making the dissemination of OP's work in an appropriate venue their early learning opportunity? Mar 16 at 8:23
  • @kamilazybal Because publishing a manuscript requires subject matter expertise, experience, mentorship, guidance and collaboration. All of which the OP does not have or is not doing. Genuine researchers with PhDs struggle to get published all of the time so why would I suggest a HS graduate can do it solo? That would only cause them frustration and waste their time. If the OP really hopes to be a successful researcher their time would be better spent applying to college and finding a productive lab to be a part of. Everything else is a distraction. Mar 16 at 14:25

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