Talk (20)


Leo Sammallahti

"I added Campbell Library to "Organisa..."
Pawel Kozlowski

Pawel Kozlowski

"I've just added some links under the ..."

Adam R

"That's a good consideration. However,..."

William Johnston

"How about "Give due weight to competi..."

Project: Science is dedicated to providing and discussing quality coverage of science on WikiTribune. For related Projects go to ‘See Also’ below. Guidelines, tips, and ideas are all mutable so please edit and improve. You can pitch ideas on the TALK page, or the dedicated section below. For more general topics, you can pitch ideas on the Daily News Agenda.

Discuss the subject and make suggestions



  1. Choosing a Topic
  2. Suggestions for Researching the Story
  3. Suggestions for Writing the Story (Editorial Guidelines)
    1. Word Choice
  4. Stories in Draft
  5. Story ideas
  6. Suggested Resources
    1. Directory of Open Access Journals
    2. Sources of Preprints (and sometimes official versions)
    3. Organisations that produce science related reports (free access):
    4. Websites with good scientific articles:
    5. Paywall/Student access depending on journal and university:
  7. Collaborators
  8. See Also

Choosing a Topic

Good types of studies to report on include:

  1. Large secondary studies (e.g. systematic literature reviews, meta-analyses, systematic mapping studies), which summarize what is known about a topic and the strength of evidence for different claims.
  2. New, exciting breakthroughs. For these, avoid over-hyping claims and pay close attention to limitations (see Part 2). Scientists avoid making strong recommendations based on a single study.
  3. Old, interesting studies that never received the attention they deserved, or have new relevance due to current events. For example, this 1995 article showed that protein rich foods are not actually more filling than carbohydrate-rich foods, debunking the premise of the Atkins diet, but received little media attention.
  4. Studies from fields that get less media attention including chemistry, criminology, engineering (except robotics and aerospace), geography, linguistics, management, social work and sociology.

Suggestions for Researching the Story

  1. Read the entire paper, not just the abstract.
  2. Contact the author(s). Give them a chance to let you know if you have correctly interpreted the study results.
  3. Get a second (and third, and fourth) opinion on the significance of the paper from one or more experts in the area who do not have a conflict of interest with the author(s); for instance, co-authoring a paper or working at the same university.
  4. Look for how the study fits into existing research. Is this part of a larger body of research? Is a consensus emerging, or are findings mixed?
  5. Avoid using non-peer-reviewed journals where possible. Predatory journals are known to publish misleading information.
  6. Be wary of claims made in press releases issued by universities or other research institutions; they often contain exaggerated or sensational claims that are not in the original paper.

Suggestions for Writing the Story (Editorial Guidelines)

    1. Always link to the official version of the publication (typically on the publisher’s website).
    2. If the publication is behind a paywall, link to an unofficial preprint if available. Good sources of preprints including: the author’s website,, ResearchGate, and the author’s university’s preprint server.
    3. If the study’s data is publicly available, link to the data.
    4. Refer to the author(s) by name. Do not say “researchers at Harvard…”
    5. Report the limitations listed in the study and any additional limitations suggested by other experts you contact for the story.
    6. Consider methodology and report on it if possible. A mathematical hypothesis or animal testing, vs an in-depth meta-analysis changes the story considerably.
    7. Report who funded the study. If the study was funded by a corporation with an interest in the outcome, reporting the funder is critical. If the study was funded by a research council (e.g. the National Science Foundation in the United States) or internally by a university, reporting the funder is good practice but not critical.
    8. Give due weight to competing claims. Global warming denialism does not need to be given attention in a scientific article.
    9. If possible, discuss implications for the everyday life of the reader. However, avoid drawing far-reaching implications that are not supported by the study.
    10. Consider the subconscious effects of images. For example, a picture of a crying baby or a huge needle on a vaccination story subconsciously supports the anti-vax movement. Pictures of fighter jets glorify a military story, while pictures of a soldier’s funeral are sobering. In a story about artificial intelligence, pictures of The Terminator or Commander Data (from Star Trek) imply very different futures.
    11. Avoid the following words:
      1. Prove, Disprove and Proof (unless you are referring to a breakthrough in mathematics) – empirical science neither proves nor disproves anything. Science “supports,” “indicates”, “demonstrates” and “evidences” or “refutes,” “rejects,” “undermines,” and “questions”.
      2. Theory, Hypothesis, Law, Paradigm – these words have different meanings in different scientific communities, and tend to confuse laypersons. Refer instead to a model; e.g., “Prof. Smith’s climate model shows that…”, “Prof. Li modelled the behavior of junior software engineers…”
      3. Miracle, holy grail, missing link, God particle and similarly unscientific terms.

Word Choice

Take care when using words that have different meanings in science and everyday life, as exemplified in the following table.

Before creating your story, remember to check out our how-to guide, style guidelines, and a list of sources most trusted by the WikiTribune staff.

Stories in Draft/Story Projects

Story ideas

You can add ideas for Science coverage to this page


Suggested Resources

Directory of Open Access Journals

Wiley Open Access
PubMed Central – search all open access articles in the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine database
PubMed – results are individually annotated as to open access availability
Physical Review X – covers all branches of physics. Part of American Physical Society’s Physical Review family of journals.
Scientific Reports – covers all areas of natural science. Papers are assessed solely on scientific validity rather than perceived impact.

Sources of Preprints (and sometimes official versions)
bioRxiv (Biology)
Research Gate
PeerJ Preprints
PsyArXiv (Psychology)

Organisations that produce science related reports (free access):

The Cochrane Library – search for systematic literature reviews on health and medicine
The Campbell Library – search for systematic literature reviews on on the effectiveness of social interventions.
Food and Agriculture Organization

Websites with good scientific articles:

New Scientist
Psychology Today
Science Mag
Science Focus

Paywall/Student access depending on journal and university:

ACS Publications (limited number of free journals)
JSTOR (limited number of free journals)
Nature (limited number of free journals)
Science Direct (limited number of free journals)


See Also

WikiProject Tech

WikiProject Medicine

History for projects "Science"

Select two items to compare revisions

02 April 2018

09:54:49, 02 Apr 2018 . .‎ Leo Sammallahti (Updated → I added Campbell Library below it's sibling organization Cochrane Library)

09 March 2018

23:38:11, 09 Mar 2018 . .‎ Paul Ralph (Updated → added links to reputable preprint servers)
23:34:31, 09 Mar 2018 . .‎ Paul Ralph (Updated → Minor improvements to wording)

05 March 2018

16:50:03, 05 Mar 2018 . .‎ Pawel Kozlowski (Updated → Added a few links for open access journals and websites with good scientific articles.)

12 February 2018

13:36:01, 12 Feb 2018 . .‎ Fiona Apps (Updated → No idea how that sentence got removed but put back)

10 February 2018

20:43:24, 10 Feb 2018 . .‎ Jason Crawford (Updated → Added a point about press releases)

09 February 2018

15:00:40, 09 Feb 2018 . .‎ Fiona Apps (Updated → Finishing links)
14:55:13, 09 Feb 2018 . .‎ Fiona Apps (Updated → Removing excess link)
14:53:59, 09 Feb 2018 . .‎ Fiona Apps (Updated → Updating links)
14:45:38, 09 Feb 2018 . .‎ Fiona Apps (Updated → Adding notices and changing section)
14:39:49, 09 Feb 2018 . .‎ Fiona Apps (Updated → )

01 February 2018

( tax ) .. - Tag healthcare created; 19:45:42, 01 Feb 2018.. Charles Turner (talk | contribs)‎ ( created )

12 January 2018

30 December 2017

16:34:49, 30 Dec 2017 . .‎ Paul Ralph (Updated → fixed typo)
16:32:42, 30 Dec 2017 . .‎ Paul Ralph (Updated → Added guideline 10 (misleading images))

18 December 2017

16:08:47, 18 Dec 2017 . .‎ Angela Long (Updated → adding China plastic waste story)

12 December 2017

12:07:43, 12 Dec 2017 . .‎ Angela Long (Updated → updating existing stories)
12:01:20, 12 Dec 2017 . .‎ Angela Long (Updated → )

24 November 2017

19:28:59, 24 Nov 2017 . .‎ Paul Ralph (Updated → minor additons)

23 November 2017

12:16:58, 23 Nov 2017 . .‎ Angela Long (Updated → adding plastic pollution project)

21 November 2017

19:23:30, 21 Nov 2017 . .‎ Paul Ralph (Updated → extended and refined guidelines)

18 November 2017

17:16:48, 18 Nov 2017 . .‎ Paul Ralph (Updated → updated suggested resources and added myself to the list of community collaborators)
17:06:45, 18 Nov 2017 . .‎ Paul Ralph (Updated → Added guidelines, improved section headings)

17 November 2017

12:37:33, 17 Nov 2017 . .‎ Harry Ridgewell (Updated → fix formatting)
12:35:03, 17 Nov 2017 . .‎ Harry Ridgewell (Updated → removed story until published)
11:57:00, 17 Nov 2017 . .‎ Fiona Apps (Updated → Removing unlinked title)
11:53:50, 17 Nov 2017 . .‎ Harry Ridgewell (Updated → unlinked story not yet published)
02:19:57, 17 Nov 2017 . .‎ Paul Ralph (Updated → Expanded suggestions.)

13 November 2017

14:16:30, 13 Nov 2017 . .‎ Angela Long (Updated → AL profile link)
14:14:17, 13 Nov 2017 . .‎ Angela Long (Updated → Adding plastic oceans piece)
13:38:07, 13 Nov 2017 . .‎ Fiona Apps (Updated → Updating link)

10 November 2017

• (view) . . Comment: News Sources‎; 11:09:18, 10 Nov 2017 . . Eduard Castellano (talk | contribs)‎‎ ( Comment -> Is that related to your previous comment? )

09 November 2017

16:03:34, 09 Nov 2017 . .‎ Fiona Apps (Updated → Removing link)
15:22:46, 09 Nov 2017 . .‎ Fiona Apps (Updated → Adding link)

02 November 2017

15:04:26, 02 Nov 2017 . .‎ Fiona Apps (Updated → Adding links + section)
14:43:13, 02 Nov 2017 . .‎ Fiona Apps (Updated → Removing heading)
11:27:25, 02 Nov 2017 . .‎ Fiona Apps (Updated → )
11:13:59, 02 Nov 2017 . .‎ Fiona Apps (Updated → Save (not done yet))

31 October 2017

30 October 2017

12:18:46, 30 Oct 2017 . .‎ Harry Ridgewell (Updated → removing articles not yet published)

Talk for Project "Science"

Talk about this Project

  1. I added Campbell Library to “Organisations that produce science related reports (free access)”. Its sibling organization Cochrane Collaboration was already on the list.

  2. I’ve just added some links under the “Directory of Open Access Journal” and “Websites with good scientific articles” sections. Hope no one minds!

  3. Would it be worth adding something about science press releases? I’m thinking of this Twitter thread:

    “Most exaggeration in science/health news was already in the press releases issued by universities”

    Something along the lines of “don’t just read the press release” or “be wary of claims made in press releases”.

    1. Makes huge sense. What we usually try to do is take people back to “proper” research on one or other of the open platforms like PlosOne.

  4. I recommend moving this page to the “Help and FAQs” section. Not sure who can do that sort of thing.

    1. Thanks Paul. In fact we are discussing all that right now. My idea is to have all the ‘live’ projects in one category so people can go straight to the one they’re interested in, with all the how-to material in a separate place.

  5. I’ve added suggestions and guidelines for reporting on scientific advancements. (Hopefully they will be approved.) More specific guidelines are still needed, but this is what I have for now.

    1. The guidelines look great, but one struck me as a bit dangerous: “Give due weight to competing claims. Global warming denialism does not need to be given attention in a scientific article.”

      The statement dismissing global warming denialism could be read as a bias towards exaggerating the impact of global warming. On these politicized scientific debates, people who take “moderate” positions can be ostracized and silenced on the grounds that they are “denialist”. For global warming, I’ve seen people shut out of discussions if they reject any claim about the danger posed by global warming. Similarly, for evolution, I’ve had by own edits at Wikipedia discarded because I used common descriptive terms like “microevolution” and “macroevolution”, because other editors had the mistaken belief that creationists invented this distinction in order to suggest that there is discontinuity between the two. My frustration with arguments like this is actually why I stopped editing Wikipedia.

      1. How about “Give due weight to competing claims that appear in peer-reviewed scientific publications”?

        Moderate, supported positions should be able to defend themselves in the literature. Denialist positions won’t be able to.

        1. That’s a good consideration. However, it may have a few limitations:
          1) For a new claim, there may not be any competing claim in the literature. In that case, it’s more about finding the right expert who will say “I don’t buy it’ or “I think it’s exaggerated”…but they may not be willing to publicly trash a claim until they have their evidence/argument ready for publication.
          2) The claim itself may not be peer reviewed — for instance, it could come from a book by an expert. This may not be a problem if the author stays away from sensationalist reporting to begin with.
          3) The author probably is not familiar with the literature. So the author will have to rely on the guidance of experts. Beware of skeptics pointing to published articles that seem to support their skepticism when taken out of context (a good reason to build on literature reviews and meta-analyses).

      2. Here is some potential alternative phrasing: “Acknowledge informed skepticism and counter-arguments, but there is no need to give attention to competing opinions simply because of their popularity or the prominence of their advocates. Stay focused on criticism that focuses on the specific issue being discussed, and avoid those that make broad claims with minimal support or claim to have a single argument that invalidates large, established bodies of work.”

        1. “Do not assume that criticism is politically motivated without good cause.”

  6. another dead link

    Also, the 404 page tried to open some email app, but that did not work.
    Perhaps a form to report dead links instead?

    1. I think that’s an excellent idea. Also, I will remove that one now.

  7. Harry, nice idea. Can you elaborate on the proposition.

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive news, alerts and updates

Support Us

Why this is important and why you should care about facts, journalism and democracy

WikiTribune Open menu Close Search Like Previous page Next page Back Next Open menu Close menu Play video RSS Feed Share on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Youtube Connect with us on Linkedin Email us Message us on Facebook Messenger Save for Later