Last year, we launched a public Google Sheet, gloriously entitled “Operation Database of the Future,” that provides advice and tips on how to pitch editors of various science publications as well as payment rates, editors’ contact details and actual pitches. The Sheet is populated by upcoming writers. The whole idea behind it is to provide a platform for upcoming science writers to help out fellow upcoming writers in the spirit of “Friends in Low Places.” (Read this post for more information Operation Database of the Future.)

So far, Operation Database of the Future lists 12 publications, including ScienceNow, Nature’s Scitable, Scientific American’s Guest blog, Los Angeles Times and BBC Focus Magazine.

Advice is typically to-the-point and insightful. For example, here is what upcoming science writer Beth Skwarecki recommends to upcoming writers interested in writing for ScienceNow:

“[...] The morning the piece goes live, you'll have to be by your computer and ready for a couple rounds of edits. Fast paced but fun. SNOWs require an interview with a researcher and 1-2 comments. [Shorts] don't require interviews. Art is key (but they can get stock photo if necessary).”

Adam Smith, now a full-time reporter, stresses on the importance of finding an appropriate hook when pitching to BBC Focus Magazine:

“Science, tech, future. You need a very timely hook, a poppy top line and a good reason why they should commission you and not just publish another article that conveniently cross-promotes other BBC output. Space, geology, dinos are particularly popular. ”

If you have contributed to other outlets, consider adding some information in the Google Sheet. And make sure you sift through the advice listed to maximise chances of your pitch getting accepted.


Publications currently listed in Operation Database of the Future:

  1. Scitable, Nature Education, NPG
  2. Chemistry World, Royal Society of Chemistry
  3. Significance, Royal Statistical Society
  4. Scientific American's Guest Blog
  5. Los Angeles Times
  6. New Humanist
  7. The Register
  8. BBC Focus magazine
  9. Pod Academy
  10. British Medical Journal
  11. Bionews
  12. Science Magazine: ScienceNow and ScienceInsider