BlueSci is open to any member of the University, so if you are interested in getting involved, please get in touch. If you would like to write for BlueSci, find out more below. We also really want to hear from you if you’re interested in editing, illustration, photography, graphics or film-making. Contacts are available on our committee page, or email email@example.com.
BlueSci has also produced a series of files which provide guidance on writing, editing and copy-editing including tips on style and the manner in which these tasks should be approached. They are reccommended reading for anyone wishing to get involved in science writing & editing, but are by no means hard and fast rules.
There are two main types of articles in BlueSci magazine: Features and Regulars. Features, News & Review articles can also be submitted for publication on the BlueSci website. Scroll down to find out what is required for Feature articles, how to submit them and some helpful tips. Also find out how to get involved in writing the Regular articles, and find out the ideas and themes for each of the Regular sections.
- Features can be submitted by any current member of the University and may be on any science-related topic.
- For the magazine, Feature articles must be no longer than 1200 words, and should not be shorter than approximately 1000. Submissions that are considerably longer or shorter than this may still be considered, but are less likely to be accepted. For the website, article length is more flexible, but approximately 1200 words is recommended, and no more than 1500 words.
- If you have an idea for an article, but wish to discuss it with the editorial team before writing it, please email your idea to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Finished articles should be sent as Microsoft Word documents (.doc or .docx) to email@example.com. The submission deadlines for upcoming issues are:
Issue 27, Easter 2013 – 3rd February 2012
- Feature articles for the website may be submitted at any time to the same address, specifying that they are for the website.
- Submissions must be owned by the author and must not have been published previously.
- Photographs, illustrations or any other graphics for your article are welcome, although not necessary. Please be aware, however, that we must have permission to use any graphics, and for the magazine, they must be of sufficient quality for printing (300 dpi at the printed size).
- Between four and six Features are selected for each issue, depending on other editorial content. If more submissions are received, they will be considered simultaneously and anonymously and selected on the basis of interest to our readers, the editorial balance of the issue and the quality of submissions. Those not selected for the magazine may be considered for use on the website with the author’s agreement. However, we cannot guarantee the publication of all submissions either in print or online.
Tips for Feature Articles
- Look back at recent issues of BlueSci to see the topics of recent articles. We are unlikely to publish more articles on the same topics in the following few issues, unless the topic is approached from a different angle.
- Try to be original – we receive many articles on certain topics. For example, climate change, renewable energy, brain imaging and psychology are hot topics and there is a plethora of writing on these in the popular media – it is difficult to say anything new. If your topic is a common one, try to find a new angle on it.
- Please do not use subheadings. We never use them, all our articles are continuous. Removing subheadings often leads to significant restructuring of the article, since it is often broken up and disjointed. In competition with other submissions, one with subheadings is less likely to be accepted.
- Try to engage the reader from the outset – it’s best not to start the article with a list of statistics, a vague discussion of the subject area or by telling the reader things they already know. By the end of the first paragraph, the reader should know what the rest of the article will be about and have an idea of what they will learn by continuing.
- Avoid jargon – BlueSci’s readership is wide-ranging, from first year arts undergraduates to science professors. Not everyone will know your field. If you must use technical language, try to explain it so that it is still accessible.
Regular articles to be written for the magazine are discussed at the magazine meeting for each issue, where ideas are put forward and the Issue Editor makes final decisions and allocates writers to sections. To receive notifications of these meetings, sign up to our mailing list, firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, ideas may be sent to email@example.com to be considered for the next issue. Articles for Regular sections may also be submitted for publication on our website at any time, by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org, specifying which section they are for. Find out more about each section and the recommended word counts by reading the section outlines below.
Please Note: Word limits are applicable for printed articles only, pieces for online publication are more flexible, although we still suggest you bear the word limits in mind when writing or editing.
Pavilion: This is not a written feature, but a visual one. A piece of art, photography or illustration demonstrates how science can inspire art. Look at previous issues for examples, and contact email@example.com with any ideas.
News: Three news stories are included in each print issue, written by members of the news team. These give a brief summary of recent research and its importance. This is great practice at identifying the main points of a research story and conveying them in a succinct piece of writing. There are also weekly opportunities to write news stories for the website. To write for BlueSci News, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. (200 words)
Reviews: (Formerly Book Reviews) There are so many science books on so many topics, it is hard to know which are worth spending precious time reading. If you have read a good science book recently, or maybe a bad one, you might like to tell others about it to recommend or warn against it. If you haven’t, but you’d like to write a review, get in touch and we may be able to suggest one. This section has been recently expanded and can now include reviews for other scientific products including films and games, please contact us with any ideas you may have for a review. Three reviews are featured in each issue of the magazine, but more can be submitted at any time for online publication. (200 words)
Weird and Wonderful: Some published scientific research is bizarre, to say the least. In Weird and Wonderful, we present the strangest we can find and leave the reader to fathom out the answer to the question that is left hanging…‘why?’ If you have some light-hearted mockery in you, maybe you’d like to put it to use, or if you know of any strange research but you don’t feel you can write it yourself, let us know and we may use it. (200 words)
A Day In The Life: The idea behind A Day in the Life is to interview scientists from both academic and non-academic settings, and get an idea of their day-to-day lives in a question-and-answer format. This is a great opportunity to gain experience of interviewing, and provides our readers with insight into different scientific roles that would otherwise remain a mystery. (600 words)
Arts and Science: The arts and sciences are often pitted against one another as though they are polar opposites. The truth is, however, that there are often significant interactions between them which enrich and advance both. Arts and Science aims to explore the ways in which the arts benefit the sciences and vice versa. (600 words)
Away From The Bench: Many of us spend our daily lives at a bench with a pipette or a microscope. But there is more to science than this. From jungles and volcanoes, newspaper offices and parliament, scientists can be found everywhere. If you’ve taken your science out of academia and into the world, be it a research project, a career move, science outreach or anything else, maybe you’d like to tell others about it in BlueSci. (600 words)
Initiatives: Initiatives presents a cause, organisation, event or innovation intended to promote and improve science in some way. If you know of any such initiatives, get in touch and we could feature an article on our website or possibly in our magazine. (600 words)
Behind The Science: There are many scientists who are household names, or who have made landmark discoveries in their field; we know about their work. But we know very little about their lives beyond their work. This section aims to profile well-known scientists in a way that provides an insight into what interested them, motivated them and what made them the person behind the science. (1200 words)
History: It is often useful to know how we got to where we are today, and it is no different in science. The history of science is not only fascinating, but can lead to new innovation, the transfer of ideas, and perhaps even warn us for the future. History goes back in time, by either decades or centuries, and reveals the paths that led us to the science of today. (1200 words)
Perspective: Science is based on experimental evidence and logical thinking. Yet surrounding these fundamentals are countless debates, discussions and issues within the scientific community and beyond. Perspective provides you with an opportunity to air your views on a burning issue, and the website provides an opportunity for further discussion. (1200 words)
Science and Policy: This new regular aims to highlight the overlap between the spheres of science, politics, social science and law. From vaccine scares to volcanic eruptions, scientists can do plenty to help those in power. Here, in collaboration with the Cambridge-based Centre for Science and Policy, we present some of the ways in which research science has, or should have, an impact on policy making. (1200 words)
Technology: In our ever-advancing world, we rely more and more on technology. In this section, we feature a recent advancement in technological research that may provide the newest innovations of tomorrow. (1200 words)
Focus: Focus is a more in-depth article examining one topic or theme. It usually includes three or four writers, each dealing with a different aspect. If you are interested in getting involved with it, come to the next magazine meeting.
All material published by BlueSci, both in our magazines and online, is under a Creative Commons licence. One of the founding principles of BlueSci was that it should provide engaging science stories in a way that is accessible to as many people as possible. The Creative Commons licence facilitates this by allowing everyone to share BlueSci materials freely, provided that certain conditions are met. These conditions were selected to ensure that all of our contributors receive the recognition they deserve.
The Creative Commons license allows BlueSci material to be used for educational purposes and aligns us with other scientific journals, such as the Public Library of Science (PLoS), that scientific information should be freely available to everyone. We encourage other science magazines to join us in this exciting new movement.
The new licence means that anyone who reproduces our materials must credit BlueSci when doing so, cannot edit our material before reproducing it, and must not redistribute it for financial gain. For more details see here and full legal details are available here.
The change should not affect your enjoyment of BlueSci in any way; we have simply added the Creative Commons logo to the bottom of every page online and it will also appear in all issues from Issue 22 – Michaelmas 2011 onwards.