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 We do not publish the abstracts of studies.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 science news:

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.

Examples:
Avoid the following:

Byline

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.

Lead

The first sentence, sometimes called a "lede," provides a general overview of the whole article and includes many of the basic facts. The sentences that follow the lead in the first paragraph provide more general details but begin to include specifics such as the research methods and the relevance of the research to industry or the sciences.

This structure is sometimes called the "inverted pyramid," as it provides all of the most general details first, and narrows down to more specific details throughout the story.

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.

Examples:

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

Examples:
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.

Conclusion

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.

Images

Please provide at least one image or illustration (1024 x 768 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:

Citation

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.

Examples: