Guide for Contributors

Mission of The Bubble Chamber

The mission of The Bubble Chamber is to analyze and debate science in a way that is accessible to a general audience. We are particularly interested in the interaction between science and society, and science policy, but we aim to cover all aspects of science that are of general interest.

Who can write for The Bubble Chamber?

Ultimately, anyone. However, the mission of our blog is to facilitate interaction between academics and wider society, so we anticipate that most of our contributors will be graduate students or professors in history and philosophy of science and related disciplines. Contributions should engage with academic history and philosophy of science or science studies in some way.

Why should you write for The Bubble Chamber?

Although we currently have a modest readership, writing for The Bubble Chamber allows you to be part of a group working together to build that readership. Working together we hope to reach a wider audience than any of us would be able to on our own.

Interested in writing a post?  Here’s how to get started.

Contact the editors via the Contact Us form.  Tell us a bit about yourself and what you’d like to write about.  We’ll get back to you and if we like your idea, we’ll ask you to set up an account.

To register:

  • In the sidebar menu, expand the Meta menu (at the very bottom) by clicking on the [+] sign, then click on “Register” – or just follow this link.
  • When filling out the required fields, please add a sentence or two about yourself in the Biographical Information section.
  • Choose the name you’d like to appear in your post (in the Display Name Publicly As field).
  • Upload a photo that looks professional.

We’ll then approve you as an author.  Once you’re approved, you’ll be able to log in and create a post.

To create a new post:

  • Expand the Meta menu and log in.
  • In the left sidebar menu, click on “Posts.”  In the drop-down menu, click “Add New.”
  • You can now write, edit, save and preview successive drafts of your post in the Edit Post page, or you can copy and paste text from a Word document.

Writing your post

Length:

Please aim for 500 to 1000 words.

Style:

Writing style should be informal and aimed at a general audience.  Avoid academic jargon and acronyms.  Explain terms that are likely to be unfamiliar to someone outside your field.

General advice for attracting readers:

Although The Bubble Chamber has a modest readership, and we will promote your post to the extent possible, you should not count on an automatic audience for your post.

The more links you insert to other blogs and websites, the more visibility you add to your post.

The first two paragraphs are generally all that will appear on the blog’s homepage.  Readers will have to click on “Continue Reading” to read the rest of your post.  Craft these opening paragraphs carefully to grab your reader’s attention. By the end of the second paragraph, the reader should have a good sense of what the post will cover.

Adding an image or two greatly increases the visual appeal of your post.

Adding citations:

The blog’s citation style is hyperlinked footnotes. If you are copying text from Word and it includes footnotes, you will need to delete your footnotes and insert them between square brackets in the body text.  Converting them is quick and easy.  To create a footnote:

  • Place your cursor in the body text at the exact location you want the footnote to appear.  Then insert the footnote text between square brackets, as follows:
    • Open a square bracket, followed by the footnote number, a period, and a space.  Insert the footnote text, then close the square bracket.
    • e.g.:2. Steve Fuller, Science (Durham: Acumen, 2010).]
  • Repeat these steps for subsequent footnotes, assigning a different number each time.
  • The number you assign isn’t important, so long as it’s a unique identifier.  (Footnotes don’t need to be numbered sequentially in your draft.)
  • When you publish your post, the blog will generate hyperlinked footnotes and will automatically number them sequentially.

Example.  Consider the following passage:

In 2009, the average penguin in captivity ate 17 ice cream cones per month.1 While this number might seem alarming, it’s consistent with the disproportionately high number of ice cream trucks operating in the vicinity of zoos.
_____________
1 Joe Smith, Brain Freeze (New York: Penguin, 2010).

You would render this in the body text as follows.

In 2009, the average penguin in captivity ate 17 ice cream cones per month.1. Joe Smith, Brain Freeze (New York: Penguin, 2010).] While this number might seem alarming. . .

To add an image:

Position the cursor where you’d like the image to appear in your text.  Click on the “Add an Image” button.  You’ll find this in the Upload/Insert menu, just above the editing toolbar (below the title field).  Select either the “From Computer” or the “From URL” tab, depending whether you’re posting an image from a file or from online, and complete the required fields.

To add a video clip:

Position the cursor where you’d like the video to appear.  Click on the “Add video” button in the Upload/Insert menu above the editing toolbar (next to the “Add an Image” button described above).  Either select the video clip from a file on your computer, or click the “From URL” tab to add an online video, and complete the required fields.

Copying & pasting from Word?

To preserve formatting from a Word document, copy the text you wish to insert, then use the “Paste from Word” button.  To make this button visible, you may first need to click on “Kitchen Sink” to expand the editing menu.

Paste from Word

Remember, however, that you will need to modify your footnotes, as explained above.

Once your post is written

In the TBC Post Options at the very bottom of the edit page, check the boxes for “Show Author Photo” (if you have uploaded a photo) and “Show Author Bio.”

Click “Preview” to see your post as it will appear when published.  Correct any major problems, but don’t worry about making it look nice (by positioning images or applying heading styles, etc.).  The copy editors will ensure that your post is formatted consistently with the blog’s standards.  When you’re done, click on “Submit for Review.”

An editor will be notified and your post will proceed to the editing stage.  You’ll be notified by email as editors submit comments on your post.

Once the post has been reviewed and you’ve made the requested changes, your post will be copy edited.  The managing editor will schedule it to appear in the near future and will let you know when you can expect to see it go up.

Thanks for joining the conversation here at The Bubble Chamber!

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