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Most often high school students do research in a university under a professor. Has there been any instances where a student published a paper in a peer-reviewed journal without any help from a professor?

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  • Why do you ask? How is this relevant for professional academics? Jul 27 '16 at 18:43
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    Considering the peculiarities of the publishing process (the "usual" format for articles in a specific field, relevance of results/etc), I'd say unlikely. When I'm reviewing submitted articles, I can usually tell when the advisor didn't really review the paper, exactly because of those kinds of mistakes. Experience makes a lot of difference in this process... Jul 27 '16 at 18:57
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    High school and middle school students have successfully published in a bunch of predatory journals that claim to be peer-reviewed, according to this recent paper. But I assume you are asking about publications that actually mean something.
    – ff524
    Jul 27 '16 at 19:34
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    I find it hard to believe a high school student could navigate a journal submission system without some sort of help.
    – StrongBad
    Jul 27 '16 at 20:38
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It's unlikely but not impossible.

To use an example, I once had a colleague reviewing a paper where a high school student produced some results from a commonly used mathematical model in epidemiology. While not duplicative, they weren't exactly novel. Yes, no one had published for this model and this disease in this population, but these results were very much of a "Yes...and?" variety.

But the journal in question was pushing the "Papers should be technically correct, and excitement or novelty is less important."

I don't know the final outcome of that paper, but it's conceivable that it could have been published.

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    Though the student might have been significantly helped by a professor not interested in having authorship too.
    – Massimo Ortolano
    Jul 27 '16 at 21:50
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    @MassimoOrtolano IIRC in that case it was expressly their high school math teacher. Though you could never really rule out an anonymous professor.
    – Fomite
    Jul 27 '16 at 22:58

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