These policies and reminders are meant to be a useful guide for authors and are subject to revision and refinement. We are always open to suggestions.
Lady Science has a specific format and tone that we would like to keep consistent. Before beginning work on your essay, please read through our past issues to get a sense of how we do things. These types of short essays are deceptively difficult to write, so give yourself plenty of time. We edit in multiple rounds, so the sooner you get a draft to us, the more time we all have to work on the piece together and to meet our publication standard. You may be asked to submit several drafts incorporating our suggestions, but once your proposal has been accepted, we will never ask you to resubmit except under very unusual circumstances. Having booked you for an issue, we are committed to helping you get your piece into Lady Science on schedule and up to par. Each Lady Science essay is a collaborative effort, and while the editing process can sometimes be strenuous, we feel that it yields the best work, and has proven to be a satisfying and constructive process for past authors.
If at all possible, please submit your draft as a shared Google doc with editing permissions enabled for both Leila and Anna.
Our essays are generally 1000 words, though guests are welcome to stretch to about 1500 if the essay really requires a lot of room.
We prefer traditionally structured essays with strong introductions and conclusions. There’s not really enough space here to bury the lead, and there are no spoilers in Lady Science, so just get to the point. We’re interested in tightly-focused essays that aim to make readers consider issue of women in science in a new light. “I never thought of it that way before” is a good response to shoot for.
Humor, snark, and sarcasm are welcome if it’s funny, clean, and generally inoffensive. Don’t get too attached to the idea of writing a “funny” essay though- just be yourself.
We are interested in all kinds of writing. We have published original research, contemporary cultural criticism, think pieces, and historiography. We welcome experimental approaches and tentative conclusions, but we do ask that you take the essay seriously and come prepared with well-researched and thoughtful content.
Content should be original, meaning we do not publish book reviews or literature reviews.
Your essay will be read by a diverse crowd, not just academics. Aim to be accessible, but don’t try to dumb it down. Bear in mind that people of all different genders, races, sexual orientations, professions, and interests read our letter. We respect our readers, and we ask that you do as well.
Images are acceptable if they are integral to the text. We don’t accept illustrations, meaning that you should be actively analyzing the images if you wish to include them. If applicable, include proper attribution for images to avoid copyright violations and to give credit to the artist/creator of the image.
Avoid footnotes and endnotes, unless it is absolutely necessary. In-line citations in the form of hyperlinks are preferable. Sources that don’t have an internet location can be included in a “Further Reading” section (see below).
Images are not required for your piece, but you certainly may do so. If you are including images, be sure that you have the necessary permissions to use it and that you provide all necessary citation information to include in the piece.
Avoid excessive citing and use of direct quotes from secondary sources. With only 1000-1500, readers want to read your words, not someone else’s.
These recommendations get added to the Lady Science Bibliography, so we ask that you choose high-quality readings. In general, peer-reviewed books and articles are best, but use your best judgement. Online sources are great as well if they are credible and useful, and links to online sources need to be included for easy access for our readers. We hope to make the Bibliography into a useful and accessible tool for anyone interested in learning more about women in science.
Terms to Avoid
Manned [spaceflight, mission, etc] – Use crewed
Female scientists [pilots, engineers, etc] – Use women scientists
Female [in reference to women] – Unless used in the biological sense or in terms of gender/gendering. When used as a replacement for “woman” or “women,” it implies depersonalization and dehumanization
Marie-Curie Complex- (Any more mention of that, and we will become the thing we hate)
Feminazi – Never acceptable, even in the context of humor.