Submitting to OnSET will improve your communication skills and help you gain recognition through publication. Why not have a go?
All undergraduate, honours, masters and PhD students are invited to submit material for publication in OnSET.
Our audience is senior high school students and undergraduate university students, who may not have a scientific background.
Feature Articles: current developments in science, ethics, history and philosophy of science.
Research Articles: showcases of your or others’ research in narrative, not report, style.
UNSW Research Wrap or News: short reports about UNSW research.
Career Profiles: brief articles about the career path of a science graduate. May be an interview but not question and answer format.
Interviews: with distinguished scientists about a relevant topic, not in question-and-answer format, though.
Book Reviews: brief recommendations or longer reviews of books relating to science.
You should use a writing
style that is relaxed, neither colloquial nor formal,
and it should contain minimal scientific jargon. If you
are not sure that your style is what we are asking for,
send in the article anyway. An OnSET editor will fix it.
must include references.
Acknowledge people who help you, and use tables and figures
your work to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Articles may be submitted at any time.
you submit, in the email, please provide your full name;
student ID; course (and major, if applicable); year; and
an email address and phone number with which we can contact
you easily. Also include one or sentences describing your
career interests, hobbies, or other background information
that might interest readers.
you have questions about the selection, editing, and production
process, see our FAQs.
If you would like to become more involved with OnSET,
please contact email@example.com.
Download the Submission
should I submit to OnSET?
Who may submit to OnSET
Who is OnSET’s target audience?
What style of article should I submit?
article, research article, UNSW research wrap or news, career
profile, interview, book
What format should I submit my article
What else do I need to include with my
How and when should I submit my article?
What will happen to my article after I
What about copyright and ownership?
What if I want to get more involved
with OnSET, or if my question is not answered here?
should I submit to OnSET?
1. It will improve your communication skills. Good written
communication skills are an asset in any field. In science,
being able to communicate your ideas to non-scientists
(e.g., venture capitalists, human resource managers) can
make or break your career.
2. Your writing will always be edited, regardless of the
field you choose to go into. Getting used to the process
can make life easier for you later on. Being edited also
makes you a better writer, as it teaches you what works
and what does not.
3. You can showcase your own research and achievements
(i.e., free publicity!)
4. You can get your writing published by a reputable journal,
an achievement that makes you feel terrific and looks
great on your CV.
may submit to OnSET?
All undergraduate, honours, masters and PhD students are
invited to submit material for publication in OnSET.
is OnSET’s target audience?
Our audience is senior high school students and undergraduate
university students. Always assume that the reader does
not have a scientific background.
goal is to direct the attention of the reader to scientific
developments and information that they may not have come
across, or been able to fathom if they did see it, if
they were written in technical format.
What style of article should I submit?
should not be too formal and should not contain too much
scientific jargon. Keep in mind that most readers are
high school and university students who may have no prior
knowledge of your field. Articles should not be colloquial,
but they can be relaxed in style. Think of New Scientist’s
style rather than Nature’s. First and second person usage
is acceptable, as is the style commonly used for assignments.
Contractions are not acceptable (use ‘do not’ rather than
articles should present factual information in an interesting
and coherent way. You should reference your sources and
acknowledge anyone who helped you. Please proofread your
article and run a spell checker over it. However, grammatical
errors are easily fixed, so do not be shy if you think
your English is not good enough. We will fix the mistakes,
and you will not lose any marks! Everything submitted
to OnSET gets edited.
article types are listed below. Word limits are a guide
for the maximum length of the article. Remember we are
using the web to publish your article, which gives us
some flexibility with layout and formatting. So contact
us if you feel that an article needs to be longer or shorter
than the specified word limit for its type. We can also,
for example, place footnotes and definitions of terms
behind ‘hyperlinks’, so that the article reads quickly
for the non-technical reader.
What is it? A feature article addresses
current developments in science. These articles do not
have to be based on the author’s own research. Feature
articles can examine the interplay between science and
society, including controversial topics such as human
cloning, government policy towards a scientific issue,
the history of an aspect of science, or an ethical issue
such as bioterrorism.
Format: A straight-forward,
narrative piece with a clear introduction and conclusion,
in the style of longer newspaper features or editorials.
Word limit: 1000 words.
What is it? A research article aims to showcase
scientific research (your own or others’), preferably
within the University of New South Wales and its affiliated
institutions (e.g., Prince of Wales Hospital).
Format: The article should
be in narrative format, not divided into formal sections
(introduction, methods, results and discussion). Provide
enough background information to give the context of the
research to a non-scientific reader. Detailed experimental
protocols are not necessary. Technical terms must be explained
in brief rather than providing dictionary type definitions.
Use figures and tables to make the article more understandable
(copyright guidelines on illustrations must be observed);
ask the OnSET staff for help with such illustrations if
you need it. In the conclusion, discuss the outcomes of
the research and the broader significance of the research.
Word limit: 750 words.
Research Wrap or News
What is it? A short report that addresses
cutting edge scientific research within UNSW or affiliated
institutions. Such an article may cover research being
conducted by academics or PhD students. These articles
will highlight activities not currently gaining media
For example, the School of Chemistry gains funding to
start a Commonwealth Research Centre or a PhD student
attains a prize for their research.
Format: A short, newspaper-style
Word limit: 250 words.
What is it? Brief articles written about
science graduates (yourself or others) and what they have
done after completing their degrees, for example marketing,
journalism, etc. The person interviewed does not need
to be a notable scientist. They should include ‘regular’
people, someone whom most readers can relate to.
Format: Career profiles can
be written in narrative interview format (a feature article
where you describe the interviewee’s statements and include
quotes) or a biographical format (a description of the
interviewee’s career path, without quotes). Question and
answer format is not acceptable. It is preferable to include
a small photo of the person interviewed, either an action
photo or a portrait. Please include the contact details
of the interviewee (with their permission).
Word limit: 400 words.
What is it? This section is
different to career profiles. The main aim of the interview
should be to attain the opinion of a distinguished member
of the scientific community or UNSW. Suggested topics
include: Australian science, ethics, or the future of
Format: Articles should be
presented as a narrative rather than in a question/ answer
format. For a detailed guide on how to conduct an interview,
please see http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/specials/weblines/461.html.
Please include the contact details of the interviewee
(with their permission).
Word limit: 500 words.
What is it? Any books relating
to science may be reviewed. Suggested books for review
may be found at
Format: This should include
a brief description of the content of the book as well
as the author’s opinion of the book. Consult online book
reviews and book review guidelines. Book reviews can be
brief recommendations, where you succinctly describe the
book and state your opinion on it, or longer reviews,
which should include more detail. Please include the complete
title, the author’s name, the publisher and the cost of
Word limit: 100-200 words for
a brief recommendation, 400-500 words for a detailed review.
format should I submit my article in?
Titles should be in bold. Do not include numbers, acronyms
By-line: the version of your
name you would like the article to be published under
(for example Joan Doe, J. Doe, Johnny Doe).
Text. When you submit your article
in the following format, it makes it easier for us to
edit and publish.
All text must be submitted as an MS Word file (.doc)
or in Rich Text Format (.rtf).
12 point font size.
Times New Roman, Arial or Courier New font.
Double line spacing.
2.5 cm margins (all sides).
else do I need to include with my article?
References are excluded from word count. They must be
listed at the end of an article in alphabetical order.
There are many different styles of referencing.
Please be consistent within your article. Guidelines for
citations can be found on the web, e.g., type ‘APA format’
Example of journal references:
Watson, J.D. and Crick, F.H.C. (1953) Molecular structure
of nucleic acids. A structure for deoxyribose nucleic
acid. Nature, 171: 737-738.
Example of book references:
Gilbert, S.F. (2000) Developmental Biology, Fourth Edition,
Sinauer Associates, Massachusetts, p 55.
Example of a web document reference:
Nye, David (1998) A Physician’s Guide to Fibromyalgia
Syndrome [online]. Available: http://www.muhealth.org/~fibro/fm-md.html.
For more information on referencing, please consult the
UNSW Learning Centre’s guide to the Footnote/Bibliography
method of referencing, available at http://www.lc.unsw.edu.au/onlib/refbib2.html.
Acknowledgements should be brief, and should follow the
reference list. Acknowledge anyone who helped you write
your article, including interviewees, lecturers and fellow
Tables should be included at the end of an article or
submitted as a separate file (.doc or .rtf). Table legends
should be placed above the table. They should include
text the same size as the rest of the article. Symbols
and abbreviations should be defined below the table, followed
by essential descriptive material. If you have trouble
formatting a table, let us know, and an OnSET staff member
Figures should be included at the end of an article or
submitted as a separate file. Figures should be saved
in a standard image file format (.gif, .jpg or .pdf).
Figure legends should be placed under the figure and should
contain a short description of the figure and any of its
symbols. Again, if you have trouble with formatting or
file types, an OnSET staff member can help.
and when should I submit my article?
Submit your work to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the email, please provide your
full name; student ID; course (and major, if applicable);
year; and an email address and phone number with which
we can contact you easily.
may be submitted at any time, however bear in mind that
articles submitted by the end of May will probably appear
in the National Science Week issue of OnSET (August),
while articles submitted by the end of October will be
most likely be published in the Orientation Week edition
will happen to my article after I submit it?
Each article submitted to OnSET will be read by at least
two editors. One editor will be in a field related to
the topic of the article, to check on the scientific accuracy
of the article. One editor will be in a different field
to ensure that the ‘non-technical’ reader can understand
the piece. Both editors check to see that the piece reads
will be sent back to the person whom you interviewed,
after editing, to ensure that they feel adequately represented.
will be asking themselves these questions:
Is it easy and interesting to read? Are technical terms
Are facts referenced? Are these references valid?
Are grammar and spelling correct?
Is the writing style engaging, and is the sequence of
Is there a particular angle that the article is trying
Is there a good ‘hook’ to start with? Is the conclusion
If you have questions about the editing process, or if
you would like to become an editor yourself, please contact
Present your question, or outline your experience and
qualifications for editing.
about copyright and ownership?
By submitting an article to OnSET, you are guaranteeing
to us that you wrote it. Articles should be original and
should not include other peoples’ work, apart from short
quotations that are properly cited. If you are having
trouble expressing an idea gleaned from another source
or stated by someone without copying the exact words,
an OnSET staff member will be glad to help you rephrase
and cite it appropriately. All co-authors must be listed
as such, and they must consent to publication in OnSET.
All sources must be properly referenced, and we can help
you with referencing formats.
requires first publication rights only. Please contact
us if your article was published previously. You may republish
an article that you published in OnSET provided that you
state in the article that it was originally published
if I want to get more involved in OnSET, or if my question
is not answered here?
Please email us at email@example.com.
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OnSET is an
initiative of the Science Communication Program
by: Will Rifkin,
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Febuary, 2006 © UNSW 2006 | Disclaimer
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