Response from:

Director, Science Education Programs
Program Manager, Intel Science Talent Search

We share your concern for the protection of IP and that is why we include this statement in the rules. The intention of the competition is to promote young scientists and the research that they are doing by communicating their science to the public. The finalist week has a Public Exhibition of Projects with this express intent. We do not want students to submit the research and then upon realizing that they are a finalist, establish what they can and cannot share about their research. We are also attempting to stress that it is the student’s IP that should be submitted in their entry and not that of their mentor’s. In this regard, the mentor is asked to express what work is that of the student’s and what is that of the research laboratory and we presume that many are helping to guide what general information about the laboratory’s work can be submitted within the student’s research paper and what cannot.

In terms of assurances, we are not publishing the full text of a student’s submitted research nor making it publicly available. The only persons who see the full submissions are our panels of evaluators and judges, who all sign ethics statements regarding confidentiality. If we receive any requests for a student’s full research report, we forward that request on to the student and they can decide if they would like to respond at all or share their full work. For semifinalists, the project titles are published in the semifinalist book. If a media outlet were to ask, we would send them a semifinalist’s laypersons summary or abstract. At the Public Exhibition of Projects, finalists must talk freely about their research to any member of the public who might stop by, including those from the scientific community. Students must also create a three-panel display explaining their full experiments. Visitors may not take close-up photos of the display boards and they are not on display when the students are not next to them.

In our experience, most journals do not consider Intel STS as prior publication of the work. They look at it as akin to a poster presentation at a scientific gathering. That is a rule specific to every journal, so if a scientist or student knows in what journals they are hoping to publish, they can look up the rule or contact the journal before submitting their work to Intel STS. Students are also welcome to publish their work in journals and submit it to Intel STS afterwards. We would expect that if the entry and the publication are identical, that the student would be listed as the primary author. If only a portion of the published paper is the student’s work, it is understood that they may not be the primary author. Research from any time in the student’s life is eligible for Intel STS.