Many universities have dedicated student-run science publications. Such publications are ideal places for young science writers to work with an editorial team, build up confidence and grow their portfolios. But they are also teasers of what is to come from the emerging generation of science writers.

Periodically, we’ll cover some of those student-run science publications here on The SA Incubator. Today, we introduce The GIST, short for Glasgow Insight Into Science and Technology. The GIST is very new and has one print issue to its name. A second one is in the pipeline, as reveals Alan Boyd, The GIST’s founder. Alan also talks about how a love for cake and science brought about this publication.


Cake is extremely important to the members of Glasgow's The GIST (Glasgow Insight into Science and Technology) (Website, Twitter, Facebook), almost as important as the quality of our science reporting. This might give you an idea of our approach to science communication.

Founded by a former producer of the University of Edinburgh's EUSci magazine podcast, the group is perhaps unique, in that it encompasses students from two universities in the same city, the University Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde. Not only does this double our potential readership—and membership—it also improves our chances for funding, both for print runs and even more delicious cake.

Our first issue was released in April 2012, after running as a website (which is now run alongside the print edition at for a year. This allowed us the time to work out whether we had the enthusiasm and skills to produce a physical issue. It turned out we had a lot of the former and some extremely talented individuals in areas such as layout, web design, editing and writing who were willing to teach the rest of us. One of our members even enjoyed copyediting!

Visually, we have tried to keep our pages as clean and uncluttered as possible. The only thing worse than a badly-written article is a badly-written article that fills all the available space with a giant wall of text.

The magazine includes the usual short and long form articles across many disciplines, with perhaps more of an emphasis on engineering than normal given the University of Strathclyde's particular strengths in that area. We also try to offer more light-hearted articles, such as our cover story on the science behind the zombie apocalypse (with accompanying cover art by Tom Hunt,

We're also interested in holding companies pedalling 'bad science' to account, including a systematic (and funny) dissection of the 'power balance' energy bracelets in our first issue.

In addition to publishing a second issue (as soon as we can find the funding), we have also begun a seminar series looking at topics such as renewable energy and a podcast, hopefully offering something entertaining, educational and different to our written output.

So join us!

Alan Boyd

Founder of The GIST