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  Writing Style Guide for Geotimes Contributing Authors

Writing an article for Geotimes? Want to submit an article?

If you are a scientist...

If you are a freelance science writer...

Scientist's Guidelines

Before submitting a story for review, we suggest you contact our editors first at, with a detailed description of the story you would like to write. Geotimes reports news and trends in the geosciences. Our readers want concise summaries of new developments and the implications of evolving trends in your discipline. Our goal is to publish easy-to-read features that address current topics. We do not have room for in-depth coverage and complex details.

Try to place your research in a larger context if possible. As you’re writing, ask yourself:

·        How does my research affect or contribute to my discipline?

·        How does my research affect people’s lives?

·        What specific features of my research would interest a geoscientist in another discipline?

·        What makes my work unusual?

·        What is current about my work? How does it fit into larger changes occurring in my discipline?

One article won’t answer all of these questions; but even answering one or two of them can place your research in a larger context.

The tone of the article should be informal, as befits a newsmagazine. First-person narrative and personal experience, perception, observation and anecdotes relating to your topic are welcome. Use simple, lively language and short sentences; rather than long, formal sentences.

Try to write in active voice as much as possible. The verbs are italicized in the following examples:

Passive voice:

The images were taken three times per day by the satellite.

Active voice:

The satellite imaged the island three times per day.

We will edit your work. For many mechanical decisions such as punctuation and spelling, Geotimes follows the Associated Press Stylebook and Webster’s New World Dictionary. For geological usage, you may refer to the U.S. Geological Survey publication Suggestions to Authors, 7th edition. We edit content for clarity, cohesiveness and readability. We aim to enhance your writing, not change the content or your science.

Audience: The important idea to keep in mind while writing is how your intended audience will receive your message. Geotimes caters to professional and academic geoscientists and lay people who have an interest in science. You should try to explain jargon and concepts that are specific to your discipline, and in general try to limit use of unnecessary jargon. We also want to reach university geoscience students (young geoscientists), so keep them in mind as well. Feel free to contact the managing editor if you have questions as you’re writing.


The more we have to choose from, the better your article will look. Send as many as possible; they will be returned. Normally do not use figure callouts. We prefer figures that can stand by themselves.

Photographs and slides: Please send color photographs when possible. We can scan slides and photos at Geotimes, and we’ve found that scans made from slides work best.

Digital art: We prefer digital art, as long as it meets the following requirements:

·        Has been scanned in or created at a resolution of at least 300 dots per inch (dpi). Large photos that are 72 dpi (the usual resolution of photos posted on Web sites) can be shrunk down to 30 percent their original size; but they have to be very large so that we don’t end up with thumbnail-sized art.

·        Saved as TIFF, JPEG or EPS files

Sending digital art: You can send your art to us on CD or direct us to an ftp site. You may also email the files directly to the managing editor, if size permits. Contact the managing editor for instructions.

Drawings and maps: These make good illustrations, as long as the lines and lettering are distinct (resolutions of 1,000 to 1,200 dots per inch, or dpi) and the background is white.

Captions: Please include caption information (describing details of the photo such as its location or the significance of specific features) and credit lines for all illustrations submitted.


Length: Feature stories should be 1,800 to 2,200 words long. If your manuscript exceeds this length, please indicate potential areas for cutting.

References: If references are necessary, please work the material into your manuscript in an informal style. For example, "In an article published in the June 4, 1999, issue of Science, Dr. Researcher reported that …” In general, try to limit reference usage in the main text.

Additional Reading section: We like to receive about four bibliographic references for readers who want more information on your subject. These references will be listed at the end of the article online.

Biography: Please provide two or three short sentences that relate your background, research and interests. Let us know how you got into the topic of the story.

Footnotes: Do not use footnotes.

Abbreviations and acronyms: Do not use abbreviations. Spell out state names, measurement terms and technical terms. Use acronyms only if the first reference has been spelled out.

Names of persons: Use full names of individuals and include professional affiliation and country if outside the United States.


Please email any story queries to If your proposal is accepted, you will correspond with the managing editor via email.

Thanks for writing!

Freelance Science Writer's Guidelines

If you are interested in writing a story for Geotimes, we suggest first contacting the editors at, with a query letter, outlining your story proposal. All rates and word counts are assigned on a case-by-case basis.


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