News writing guide for researchers

We only publish news about recently published science research and papers presented at conferences. We generally do not post stories about grants, contests, profiles of researchers or such things as the opening of new science facilities. We do not publish the abstracts of studies.

News writing standards differ from the editorial requirements of a peer-reviewed journal.

Following are guidelines for writing Dialog articles:

Headline / title

Science X favors headlines that are highly informative over those with clever wordplay. In AP style, only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized. Max length 120 characters.

Avoid the following:


Please include a byline. If two writers contributed to the article, separate names with "and." If more than two writers contributed, separate names with commas.


Dialog is intended to be more personal than standard news stories; it is a venue to convey your personal perspective to the reader. Please write in the first person; if more than one writer contributes to the article, second person (i.e., using the editorial “we”) is fine.


As in a personal essay, open with a brief introductory paragraph about the topic. It might express the theme of the article, the subject of the study, and its relevance to the audience. The goal is to intrigue the reader. You can use a question, a personal anecdote or even a joke.

Close this paragraph with a hook to engage the reader. This can encapsulate your thesis and suggest what results or realizations the reader might expect at the end of the article.

The story

Sources / quotes

All quotes should be enclosed in quotation marks; punctuation appears within the quote marks as in U.S. editorial style.

Only tag quotes with the verb "said" or "says." Do not use other verbs to tag quotes.


When quoting directly from the study, enclose the quote in quotation marks and tag the quote clearly.

Avoid the following:

Occasionally, quotes are derived from an email interview involving more than one interview subject. If this is the case, attribute the quote to "the researchers" and clearly indicate that the response was written.


While the paragraphs in the main body may be thought of as opening doors, the concluding paragraph closes them—do not introduce new ideas in the concluding paragraph.

You may conclude an article in a number of ways. You may choose to end with a quote from a researcher that conveys a strong sense of the relevance of the research or the news story as a whole; you may summarize the results; you could suggest directions for future research.

You may include a one-paragraph bio of the main researcher at the end of the article with points of professional relevance.


Please provide at least one image or illustration (required aspect ratio 5:3 or close to it; 1280 x 1024 pixels or larger) with clear caption and credit. We prefer jpg files, and we also accept animated gif files if they are not too large. The image should be public domain, available under CC license, or you must own the copyright or arrange all necessary permissions for third-party publication. YouTube, Vimeo or video files are also welcome.

We prefer not to publish portraits or headshots of researchers. However, we do accept photos of researchers in the field or working in the lab.

Captions for photos should be descriptive. If you are including a number of graphs from the study, you may designate them in the captions as "Figure 1," "Figure 2," etc.

Captions should end with a credit in this format:


Please cite the study or studies the article references in the following format: Author Name, Title, Journal name (year). DOI number.

If more than one researcher contributed to the study, use the first author followed by "et al."

If the study does not have a DOI number, as in many pre-press archives, please provide a link to the study or the abstract instead.