Blog guide

A Guide for NYC Science Communication Bloggers and Editors

By Tristan Fehr and Yue Liu 

This post is a guide for anyone who is interested in blogging for NYC Science Communication. It also serves as guidelines for self-editing and editorial board. For more information on blog submission, please refer to an earlier post here: We Want You to Blog for NYC Science Communication!


Article Scope Guidelines

We accept submissions within several main categories:

  • Career exploration within the field of science communication and other related fields
  • Storytelling one’s own research
  • Demystifying science and medicine
  • Translating novel science and technology for popular consumption
  • Health-focused articles summarizing recent findings related to wellbeing and lifestyle, and
  • Any topic you are knowledgeable and truly passionate about related to science communication

Formatting Guidelines

Word limit:

  • Blog posts should be 650-1200 words. For topics needing more than 1200 words of coverage, we encourage blog post series


  • Imbed any links to external articles, videos, and images as hyperlinks

Supplemental information (if any):

  • Link to any supplemental resources at the article’s end using hyperlink descriptions


  • Include with your submission one high resolution open source image (no more than two images, graphs, and tables in total)

Use an Oxford comma in lists.

  • For example: The reagents were combustible, corrosive, and potentially carcinogenic

Gene and protein abbreviations, and formats:

  • Please use NCBI Gene as a resource for gene names and abbreviations
  • Gene abbreviations, genotypes, cDNAs, and mRNA names should be italicized. Proteins should not be italicized but should have all letters capitalized. For example: BDNF mRNA, BDNF-/-, and BDNF protein
  • When writing gene abbreviations, please do not use subscripts or superscripts, hyphens, Roman numerals, or Greek letters. Examples: IGF1 instead of IGF-1, TNFA instead of TNF-α
  • Do not italicize full gene names (e.g. breast cancer 1) or phenotypes
  • Capitalize full gene abbreviations for humans and non-human primates, and only the first letter of gene abbreviations for other species (for example, SHH for human but Shh for mouse and rat). Do not capitalize full gene names unless they begin with someone’s name. For example: human PAX6, mouse Pax6, and paired box protein 6
  • Gene name formatting guidelines largely adapted from JCI’s guide on gene nomenclature

Style Guidelines

  • Keep technical jargon to a minimum, explaining it fully when its use is unavoidable
  • If you must use abbreviations, define them upfront and use them sparingly
  • Be consistent in your wording, and strive for concise language
  • Adapt your content to be accessible to non-native English speakers and readers from outside your discipline
  • Assume that the audience has up to a 12th grade level background in science. The Gunning-Fog index is one resource available to check the educational level needed to understand your writing on first reading
  • Hook the reader in with your first sentence or two. We are aiming for 1-2 minutes of a reader’s time, and immediate engagement is imperative
  • Use humor as appropriate; be wary of sarcasm and dry humor as they can be misconstrued. Please also be aware of the diverse cultural background and ideology of our readers, and be thoughtful and respectful
  • Metaphor is a powerful way to connect readers with complex concepts. Be aware of overuse, though, as this can confound and convolute your message
  • Third person voice can be more laborious and harder to read than first or second person, and often isn’t as effective at engaging readers
  • Here are resources on

Flow Guidelines

  • In journalism-style writing, the most important facts of an article are stated in the first sentence or paragraph (the lede) to gather the reader’s attention and inspire them to read more. Although scientific blogging can take a variety of forms, it’s best to keep introductions brief and get to the point quickly to maintain reader engagement. This way, readers can quickly decide whether and how a piece may be relevant and interesting to them.
  • George Gopen and Judith Swan created a guide on how to address reader needs and improve flow in scientific writing. Here are their main points:
  1. Follow a grammatical subject as soon as possible with its verb
  2. Place in the stress position the “new information” you want the reader to emphasize
  3. Place the person or thing whose “story” a sentence is telling at the beginning of the sentence, in the topic position
  4. Place appropriate “old information” (material already stated in the discourse) in the topic position for linkage backward and contextualization forward
  5. Articulate the action of every clause or sentence in its verb
  6. In general, provide context for your reader before asking that reader to consider anything new
  7. In general, try to ensure that the relative emphases of the substance coincide with the relative expectations for emphasis raised by the structure

Additional Resources