Author Proposal Guidelines
Interested in authoring for Grey Matters? Here are some guidelines on what we look for in an article proposal.
When choosing a topic, try to be as specific as possible and avoid suggesting topics we've already covered. For example, we have had many articles covering the topic of Alzheimer's Disease, but each one has been about a specific treatment or new discovery about the disease, with little overlap between articles aside from their introductions. To find out which topics we've already covered, view the list here.
You can plan your article and outline to be as long or short as you'd like, but generally articles range from 1500 - 3500 words. We're happy to have a variety of article lengths to suit the varying time commitments of our readers. If you have a compelling topic and take, go for it!
Doing research and not sure where to start? We recommend sources and databases like PubMed, Google Scholar, Nature Neuroscience, Cell, Neuron, and other large journals!
In the outline itself, we look for the following:
- Level of detail: The outline should be bullet pointed in format, but should effectively summarize all of the information you plan to include in your article. Make clear what the main ideas of each section and paragraph are going to be. It should be easy to see what your main discussion is and how the parts of your article tie into it.
- Organization: Even at the planning stage, the different sections of your article should flow logically into each other and be well-ordered. They should also be different enough that they aren't intermixing information, and each should be discussing their own area of your article's topic.
- Content: We take scientific accuracy very seriously; the primary goal of our journal is to communicate science to the public in an accurate way that doesn't sensationalize it the way the mainstream does. Be careful about making blanket statements or overgeneralizing beyond what your sources say. Please read this guide for choosing scientific sources to base your article on.
- References: All sources must be peer-reviewed, scientific content, or official content straight from the source (e.g. government). You should not be citing websites or news articles. In addition, avoid using outdated sources that are no longer seen as accurate in the scientific community (you'll need to do careful research to find out whether this is the case). We generally prefer newer sources (from the last 10 years) to older ones so that readers are getting the latest updates on the field, but this won't disqualify articles with interesting topics and compelling outlines. We also prefer sources from articles taken from journals with an impact factor of two or greater. The impact factor of a journal is a general estimate on how "impactful" papers published in that journal are; for example, a more well-known journal will likely have a higher impact factor than a lesser-known journal because it may have more resources to conduct more rigorous scientific review before papers are accepted and published. You can find the impact factor of your journal with a simple google search!
Don't forget to take a look at the sample outline! This will really help give your application a competitive edge.
See some FAQs here!
Below are a few guides containing information on the type of writing and editing we are looking for.