Anyone is welcome to submit content to ScienceBasedMedicine.org, regardless of credentials. We’ll publish anything we think is interesting, relevant, scientifically sound, and, of course, well-written. (The less editing we need to do, the better.) The volunteer editorial staff looks at all promising submissions using an informal peer-review process that has two steps, a screening step by our managing editor and a “rough and ready” peer review step in which at least three of our editors evaluate the submission.
Please embed citations as weblinks rather than footnotes or endnotes, it saves us a lot of time.
How to submit a guest post for publication on SBM
Submit your article by email directly to Dr. Gorski ([email protected]), the managing editor. If he thinks it has potential, he will distribute it to the editorial staff for further consideration. Please note that none of the editors are paid for our work on SBM, and most of us have demanding day jobs. That means that, more frequently than we would like, the process is less than optimal and not as fast as bloggers (or we) would like. (For instance, if Dr. Gorski is working against an NIH grant deadline, you might not hear for a while, because trying to keep his lab afloat trumps his extracurricular activities on SBM.) Try to be patient. If your post is time-sensitive (e.g., about a current medical story that will be of much less interest if it’s not published quickly), please let us know. We make no guarantees, but in such a case we will try to speed the process along.
Next, here are our guidelines.
No link placement and sponsored posts accepted—ever!
This is listed first, because, if actually followed, it would filter out a lot of noise in our guest post submissions. Do not submit content that contains a promotional link. We have never published a submission that was motivated by link placement, and never will. We also do not accept sponsored posts—ever. So don’t bother even asking. We do not publish advertorials and ignore all inquiries and requests to publish sponsored posts or links.
Like most publications, SBM gets too many irrelevant submissions. We urge you to read our content before submitting. If you haven’t read at least a dozen of our posts, you almost certainly will not “get” the zeitgeist of what this blog are about. SBM is not a general medical blog. Perfectly good submissions providing medical information that would be just fine in a more general medical blog (e.g., guidelines on how to manage diabetes; suggestions for exercise or diet; listicles on how to improve your sleep, etc.) will almost certainly be rejected by Dr. Gorski at the screening step and never even make it to our informal peer review. It’s nothing personal. It’s just that general medical posts are not what SBM is about and not what we publish.
Seriously, it’s alternately amusing and frustrating just how many apparently earnest submissions we receive that are not just a “bad fit” or wrong for SBM, but sometimes totally at odds with our values; e.g., pitches from CAM practitioners looking to promote their practice, articles extolling the usefulness of acupuncture, etc. If that’s what your post is about, don’t waste your time or, more importantly to us, ours.
Most relevant posts that we reject are usually rejected for poor quality of writing and/or thinking.
Style guidelines and format
The biggest thing you can do to help us out is, as mentioned, cite all sources as links to websites (original journal page, PubMed, even DOI links) rather than using footnotes or endnotes.
Being a blog, SBM has a lot of flexibility in its editorial style, and room for personality and humor, as you will see if you actually follow the suggestion above to read our content. The main requirements are intellectual rigor and engaging writing: Make a well-reasoned, science-based point about health care in a blog post that is enjoyable to read, and it has a good chance of being published. (This excludes clickbait — no listicles or infographics, please!) You’ll get extra points for good scholarship and referencing, but it’s not necessarily required, depending what you’re writing about.
We accept posts in Microsoft Word files for your initial submission because of ease of reading and distribution. However, if we accept your post, we really don’t like Word files for the final version to be posted because when Word files are converted for WordPress they generally produce atrociously ugly HTML that takes fixing. That’s why we much prefer either plain text with basic HTML markup as needed and the links already embedded, the better to spare our intrepid copy editor who prepares submissions for posting the pain and strain of going through your text and manually inserting links and adding HTML tags as needed for bold, italics, and other formatting. The closer to being able to be just cut and pasted into WordPress your text is, the better we like it. Our copy editor will work with you to convert your text to an acceptable format.
With rare exceptions, publish only original content as guest posts. Guest contributors are welcome to re-publish their contribution to SBM elsewhere after it has been available on SBM exclusively for one week. Authors retain copyright to their posts but, as a condition of our posting it, must provide us with permission to publish on our site indefinitely. Of course, that permission may be revoked at any time. However, if we publish something of yours and you later revoke our permission to publish, the editorial staff here are likely to look a whole lot less favorably on any future submissions you might send our way.
Guest posts from representatives of companies or advocacy and political organizations
We at SBM are very protective of our reputation for integrity, scientific rigor, and freedom from undisclosed conflicts of interest. That’s why, if you represent an organization that the editors deem to be promoting science denial (e.g., the Discovery Institute and its evolution denial; the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and its promotion of vaccine denialism and COVID-19 minimization—and much more; the Heartland Institute and its denial of climate science; or US Right to Know and its anti-GMO activism, we have a simple message for you right now: Don’t even bother submitting. Your post will be rejected at the screening step. Similarly, if you represent an organization that our editors consider astroturf—e.g., ACSH—it is very likely that you submission will not get far in the evaluation process.
We are also very careful about not letting our platform be used for marketing purposes. The former concern is why we strive not to promote (or be perceived as promoting) any specific company, product, or service. If you work for or otherwise represent a company and we judge that your guest post submission is more about promoting your product or service than about contributing to the mission of this blog, there’s no way we’re going to publish it. (Don’t even bother to submit.) We never publish advertorials—or anything that we perceive as resembling an advertorial.
Regarding submissions with a political viewpoint, we point out that certainly we are not apolitical. We advocate for policies and laws based on rigorous science and are not shy about, for example, opposing laws that make vaccine mandates easier to obtain; license pseudomedical specialties like naturopathy; or require that insurers reimburse their services, Indeed, we have called for the abolition of, for instance, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Nor do we shy away from pointing out partisan political actors responsible for spreading medical misinformation; e.g., for spreading COVID-19 and antivaccine disinformation during the pandemic. However we strive to avoid even the appearance of promoting specific parties or ideologies. Consequently, if you hold a position with or otherwise represent an organization whose purpose is to promote a specific political viewpoint or ideology—e.g., a think tank like the American Institute for Economic Research—your submission will have to clear a much higher bar to be published and even then might not be accepted for publication, because, again, we strive to avoid even the appearance of promoting the viewpoint of a political think tank or advocacy group, even at the expense of passing up a chance to good material.
None of this policy is intended to unduly discourage relevant and potentially deserving submissions; it is rather to discourage irrelevant, poor quality, and marketing-based submissions. We’re always on the lookout for new talent, and we know we have areas where we really need to beef up our expertise (e.g., women’s health, mental health, epidemiology). If you’re in one of those areas, you’re more likely to be published. Even if you’re not, none of us is getting any younger, and two contributors here (Drs. Atwood and Crislip) have already retired (although Dr. Crislip recently decided to return for a more limited regular engagement).
We’d really love to recruit the next generation of medical skeptics to carry on the legacy of SBM and continue our work after the current generation no longer can.
And finally: it really does save so much work if you use weblinks instead of footnotes or endnotes.
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