SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN and SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND welcome ideas for articles on recent scientific discoveries, technical innovations and overviews of ongoing research. Our preferred authors are scientists who have extensive first-hand knowledge of the field that they describe and, preferably, have made significant contributions to it, or science journalists with the experience and background to deeply explore the topics they propose covering. We very strongly encourage potential contributors to read recent issues of the magazine for a sense of form, style and level of complexity and specialization typical of our articles.
Before writing or sending us a manuscript, please send us a proposal letter (one to two pages is usually sufficient) that briefly summarizes:
- The subject of the article
- How you would tell the story of this subject
- The practical and theoretical significance of this subject
- How this article would differ from previous coverage of the topic (if any) in Scientific American, Scientific American MIND or other media
- Why this story is timely. (For instance, we prefer stories that include research findings from the past two years.)
- Your credentials for writing about the topic
- A list of some recent papers on the subject that you plan to cite
- Any other information that you think would make the article interesting to our audience.
Some authors send us an outline in addition to their letter but that is not required. Include illustrations, other graphics, or copies of original research papers only as necessary to help explain your idea. Keep in mind these tips:
- Generally speaking, Scientific American and Scientific American MIND present ideas that have already been published in the peer-reviewed technical literature. We do not publish new theories or results of original research.
- Please note that while Scientific American covers all scientific areas, Scientific American MIND seeks pitches that can be tied to brain or behavioral research and is happy to consider service-oriented articles.
- Our articles are geared to general readers interested in science and technology. We avoid jargon and equations.
- We are looking for authors who can convey ideas with clarity and concision. Lengths of feature articles vary; the average length of a published article is approximately 2,500 to 3,000 words.
- Please allow six to eight weeks for the review process.
Send all proposals and manuscripts
Include your last name and the word PROPOSAL in the subject line.
Or by post to:
Board of Editors
Scientific American or Scientific American MIND
One New York Plaza, Suite 4500
New York, NY 10004-1562
IMPORTANT: We cannot return and are not responsible for materials delivered to our office.
How to propose a guest essay for SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
We welcome essays from thought leaders and scholars at all levels, from grad students and postdocs at one end to senior researchers, CEOs and policy professionals in government and nonprofits. Our authors come from, or are in a position to influence, all STEM-related fields or enterprises, from all parts of the world.
Finished pieces should be approximately 7-800 words long (although longer essays may be accepted as well). They should be written in a conversational tone with minimal jargon—as though you were at a dinner party with intelligent, educated non-scientists who are curious about what you do and what you think about. Your affiliation and experience as described in a brief bio will establish your expertise.
These essays should not be purely promotional in nature. We don’t accept submissions that tout specific products. We do, however, accept pieces by the authors of journal papers who are explaining their results for a non-technical audience, or by businesspeople who address trends in the fields in which they operate. In the latter case, it’s appropriate to talk about what your company is doing, but that should not be the main focus. We look for fact-based arguments. Therefore, if you are making scientific claims—aside from those that are essentially universally accepted (e.g., evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of life on Earth; vaccines do not cause autism; the Earth is about 93 million miles from the Sun—we ask you to link to original scientific research in reputable journals or assertions from reputable science-oriented institutions. Using secondary sources such as news reports or advocacy organizations that do not do actual research is not sufficient.
The range of potential topics is almost unlimited: essays can be serious or tragic or funny or provocative or simply intriguing. Some of the many possible topics for a successful essay include:
- New and emerging trends in one’s field of expertise
- Ethical quandaries in particular STEM fields, and how to think about them
- Commentary on recent high-profile results or announcements in one’s field
- A lay-language explanation of one’s own recent journal publication
- How the author came up with a new approach to a scientific/technical question
- What the experience of working in the field or in the lab is like
- How well or badly STEM fields are doing at being inclusive of under-represented populations
- What the likely effects might be if a given public policy were to go into effect or to go away
- A window into a little-known but fascinating area of inquiry
- How to address an existing problem or question in a novel way
- How the practice of science could be made more effective/transparent/equitable
- What policy or business leaders should be doing to properly manage an emerging or key area
To propose an essay, email a simple, one-paragraph description of what you’d like to write about and what your background/affiliation(s) are to our Chief Opinion Editor, Mike Lemonick, at email@example.com or to our general inquiry email: firstname.lastname@example.org