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Information for Authors

Submitting copy to Geoscientist

Copy deadlines for Geoscientist are available on request from the Editor. Broadly speaking, material should be submitted no less than five weeks in advance of the intended issue. Copy must be submitted electronically, preferably by E-mail.

Calendar information from Society Groups and Associations should be sent to Eleanor Lewis for inclusion in the first instance on the Web Site.

Geoscientist - Guide for authors

If you want to contribute to Geoscientist, please read this guide for authors (below).  If you are considering writing a Press Release (News Release) these too have a guide for authors.

Geoscientist, the monthly magazine of the Geological Society, is pleased to receive contributions. Unfortunately, Geoscientist cannot pay for contributions.

Fellows are invited to contribute Opinion pieces, reviews, letters and features. However, anyone may offer articles for consideration by the Editor, whether they be Fellows or not.  We only publish letters from Fellows however.

Submitting copy

All copy should be submitted electronically, preferably by email. We use Word but if you are in any doubt, please also submit in plain text and .rtf format.

Pictures and figures

Illustrations are crucial. These should also be submitted electronically. If you do not have digital pictures, we can digitise them for you. If you wish to supply digital pictures, you can email them or send them on CD/memory stick. We prefer JPEG format, but can accept most. All scans and digipix must be 300dpi or more. Pictures intended for the cover must be at least 800dpi and A4 or bigger in size.

All FEATURE material and Letters to the Editor should be sent to Dr Ted Nield.

All material MUST be submitted electronically. We do not re-key typescripts or digitise MSS by OCR.

House style

  • References should be FEW and numbered in the text, using superscripts. Preferably, do not use references – suggest further reading. Remember this is a magazine, not a journal, and its main purpose is to entertain. For guidance, read New Scientist.
  • Figures should be referred to as Fig. 1, Fig. 2 etc. 
  • Pictures should have captions.


Geoscientist publishes one full and one short feature in all issues. Longer features are submitted for approval by the Editor to the magazine's Editorial Board.  All features must therefore be submitted first to Ted Nield, who will see that the Editorial Board considers them. You will then be informed if your MS has been accepted or not, and if any rewriting is required.

Features should be 2500 words long. Illustrations should be profuse - please submit about 12. A well illustrated article will have a distinct advantage over a poorly illustrated one. Second features should be 1250 words long and will require at least 6 illustrations.  Please note that wordages are not flexible and are not approximations. 

Features should be written for the general geoscientist. The most frequent reason for rejection of features is that they are not of sufficient general interest to all the Society’s Fellowship. If you would like to discuss such matters before committing pen to paper, please contact the Editor for guidance. For more advice on how to write a feature article, please refer to the section below, headed 'Features - how to write them'.

Features should be written in a direct, journalistic way. You should avoid jargon wherever possible and explain it where unavoidable. "The passive voice should be avoided" - in other (acceptable) words, "do not use the passive voice".

Bear in mind that your copy, once accepted, will be edited for publication.

Non-feature material


Contact the Editor for details. Details of books received for review are listed on the Books & Arts page and printed in each issue. The online version is always likely to be more up to date, so you are advised to check there.  If you wish to review a book and that book is still available, please contact the Editor before writing anything.

Opinion - Soapbox

Want to shout it from the rooftops? If you have a geoscientific hobbyhorse you would like to ride we would like to hear from you. Strong opinions colourfully expressed (and illustrated if possible) will stand the best chance. No self-promotion, shameless platforming or advertising allowed. You should send your opinion piece to Ted Nield. Soapbox is available for Fellows (only).  Soapbox pieces must be exactly 500 words long.

Soapbox requires a portait of you, the author.  Pictures should be digital, large, of high resolution and be sent by Email if possible. If too large for email, please submit on CD. We require at least 300dpi for print purposes. We can digitise images for you, if required.


Geoscientist welcomes readers’ letters. Please send your letter by email to Ted Nield. All letters to Geoscientist (with the usual exceptions for those that are defamatory or fail to make sense) are published on this Website. Letters are included in the magazine as space permits.

Letters are posted first on the letters page and a selection published in the magazine. Letters should be fewer than 300 words long, and if possible should either express a cogent opinion in reaction to a topical issue (or magazine content) or should attempt to "take the story on" (i.e. contribute NEW material) when responding to previous letters or material previously published.

Letters from non-Fellows on constitutional matters relating to the conduct of the Society will not be accepted.

Multi-signature letters, no matter what their subject, should be submitted in writing (i.e., not by email), and bear real (not computer generated) signatures. Copies of such letters, each bearing a real signature, may be submitted separately by co-signatories. These should be sent to Ted Nield. To avoid the possibility of fraud, faxed letters of this sort will not be accepted unless confirmed by 'phone call.

Features - how to write them

First, please read the general instructions on Features above.  If you intend to write a feature, here is some general advice on how to structure and tackle that particular literary form...

Before beginning

You should make a 10-15 word summary of your story. This will help bring focus to your ideas. If you can't do it in those many words, you're not making it simple enough.

Structure of a feature

The ideal feature for a magazine has 5 structural elements

  1. Intro
  2. Nutgraph
  3. Background
  4. Meat
  5. Conclusion

1. Intro

The job of the intro is to hook the reader, not to tell the story. Don't try to tell the story straight away – entice the reader by giving them a feel for the subject matter – make them feel part of it. Ideally, emphasize a gap – the mismatch between the expected and the actual, or between received knowledge and new results.  

2. Nutgraph

This oddly named section is where you set out a summary of the story. The term is a contraction of "nutshell" and "paragraph" and it contains the kernel of the piece. The reader should find out from this what they will learn if they read on. Getting this part right is crucial, because if you do the rest should follow.

3. Background

This is where you establish the current state of accepted knowledge about your subject – knowledge which you are about to overturn. "Until recently, scientists thought….". Should be as short as possible

4. Meat

Now tell your story – follows from the nutgraph, which it fleshes out.

5. Conclusion

You can end in a number of different ways. A traditional "wrap" ties the ends up, and may refer back to the introduction.

Twist – sometimes called a "kicker". This is where you bring in something entirely new. "Could it really be true that….?" "could this really mean that….?". To be used with caution.

General advice

Be short; avoid repetition; allow the ideas to speak for themselves… use plain language. Don't essay colourful verbs. Don't use archaisms and never say "athwart" when you mean "across". It's not clever.


Avoid it like the plague.


Don't qualify the unqualifiable. Don't say "completely unique", for example. Unique is unique.


Don't qualify where impossible. Don't say "almost unique".


Use the active voice. Professor Jim Dingbat and colleagues say that…" not "It is reported by Dingbat et al. that…."


Always say who people are when first mentioned and where they work. Always spell out names before using acronyms, putting their acronym in brackets after the first appearance. After first appearance, use people's surnames.

Measurements and units

Geoscientist uses SI untis. Where none is available, exceptions are permitted.

If the measurement (for example, if it was taken in 1875) was not in SI, please convert it (in parentheses)

If the industry stabdard is not SI, then a non SI unit is permitted. So Knots, nautical miles, litres, angstroms, computer disc measurements in inches, and calibre measurements on weapons, for example.


Please do not list more than TWO authors - this is a magazine remember, not a journal!  The format does not allow for long lists of names, as authors are listied in the Standfirst, which is itself of finite length. 


A magazine feature with more than two authors reminds the reader too much of an absurd mental arithmetic problem about how long it might take 100 cobblers to sole a shoe if it takes one cobbler 10 minutes.  Everyone knows you can't sole a shoe with 100 cobblers, and you can't really write a feature with ten collaborators.  So - if you need to acknowledge more people, please do so in the acknoweldgements.  If you insist on having multi-authors, the published article will carry the name of the lead author with a footnote listing your collaborators.

Book Reviews

Disaster Deferred - a new view of Earthquake Hazards in the New Madrid Seismic Zone. (2012) by Seth Stein

Geoscientist has a number of books available for Fellows to review. We also invite publishers to send us books to be reviewed.