Please read the guidelines in full. There are 18 points.
The guidelines pertain to fully written articles. We discuss story ideas on a case by case basis, and if you’d like to pitch one, please write to Vasudevan Mukunth at mukunth at thewire.in. (Points 4, 5, 7, 12 and 15 apply to pitches as well.)
1. The average sentence length should ideally be 20 words/sentence or less (you can use this tool to check).
2. Try and ensure your submission is no longer than 1,000 words. The hard upper word limit is 1,200 words. Please discuss any exceptions with the editor beforehand.
3. Please submit the article as a doc or docx file. You can attach a PDF too if you wish, if you are afraid the placement of tables and graphs in the doc/docx file will go astray.
4. Cite all sources, and do so as hyperlinks and not footnotes. This includes statements made available in the public domain. For journal articles, provide the link to the paper on the publisher’s website. If there is a legally unpaywalled version available, go for that. You can reference a book via a link to its Google Books version, especially if the quoted lines show up in search. Otherwise, a link to the publisher’s site will do.
5. If you do not know how to add hyperlinks in MS Word, insert all sources as URLs inline, next to the words you would like linked.
6. If your submission has charts, please share the data in a separate spreadsheet and clearly mention the source.
7. Don’t cite papers published in journals with questionable practices or in unreliable preprint repositories (e.g. viXra).
8. Always quote a primary or firsthand source over a secondary or secondhand one. If a primary or firsthand source isn’t available, make sure there is more than one secondary or secondhand source and that they are all reliable. If you are discussing the results of a preprint paper, please say so.
9. To the extent possible, quote scientists working outside the West as independent experts, unless you have specific reasons to quote a particular scientist. Avoid speaking to the same set of people over and over again.
10. Our preferred gender pronoun for generic references is the female: “she”, “her”, etc.
11. Stuff said on Facebook is in the public domain if the author has set the visibility of the post to ‘public’. Stuff said via a public Twitter account is also in the public domain and may be quoted, but please check with the author before you embed their tweets in the article.
12. Be as descriptive as you can. Avoid statements like “In the following article, we are going to show…,” etc.
13. Write in the active voice to the extent possible (you can use this tool to check).
14. If you can, please include some suggested images. We prefer those licensed Creative Commons Attribution or Zero. Flickr has a large library of the former and Pexels, of the latter. Make a note of the username of the user who uploaded an image and the specific license version.
15. Disclose any conflicts of interest there may be between you as the author and any reports, papers or activities cited in your pitch/article.
16. After you have submitted your article, please give the editor at least 12 hours to respond (24 hours on weekends). If you think your submission needs to be considered on priority, please make sure it really is urgent before you attempt to draw the editor’s attention.
17. If you plagiarise, you will be warned the first time and banned the second. If you plagiarise from your own pieces – i.e. the unattributed use of your own previously published passages – you will be given more than one warning but we will avoid working with you.
18. We don’t pay per word. We pay per piece, with each piece valued according to usefulness, length, amount of work required to produce it, newsiness and quality of writing.
For anything related to The Wire Science, write to Vasudevan Mukunth at mukunth at thewire.in or to science at thewire.in.