Our primary goal in NITARP is to work with the teachers, and we depend on them to then bring the experience to students. Of course, many students use parts of this experience as a science fair project. Please note that it is not appropriate to take work done by the whole team and present it as a single- or two-author science fair project.
Even when doing work for science fair projects that has emerged out of NITARP team work, some of the students have had some uneven reactions to projects coming out of this work, so here we have collected some wisdom and advice.
In all cases, the best solution is to be pro-active, to NOT wait until the eleventh hour right before the event and then deal with it on a crisis basis. Contact all the relevant directors early on. Read the rules. Make sure all your ducks are in a row from the beginning.
Some people have had problems with doing archival astronomical research, e.g., using archival data rather than "new" data. You should be sure to contact your relevant science fair director early on and review your research proposal with him or her. If there are still questions, we will be happy to speak with them directly about how many astronomical journal articles are based solely on archival data. (Hint: LOTS.)
Some people have been asked by the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) to submit a "Regulated Research Institutional/Industrial Setting Form (1C)." This form should not and does not apply to projects conducted as part of NITARP, because the research is not conducted at Caltech or IPAC or JPL. Luisa called the ISEF in September 2009 to verify that this was in fact the case. She was told that: (a) Students should work with their local ISEF-fair-affiliated director from the beginning. The research plan needs to be filed in advance, and it should be clear from that point that this form 1C is not required, as long as you have read and followed the rules. (b) Students should contact the ISEF Scientific Review Committee (SRC) proactively (at src - AT - societyforscience DOT org) and make it clear that this form is not necessary because, although there was a visit to IPAC involved in the larger program, the research was not conducted at Caltech or IPAC or JPL, and thus this form is not required. Again, if there are questions, we would be happy to speak to ISEF if this issue arises again, but you should be proactive and deal with this early on, not at the last possible minute.