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 for more topical issues, on the Daily News Agenda.

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.

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 draw far-reaching implications that are not supported by the study.
  10. 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. Unscientific language including miracle, holy grail, missing link and God particle.
  11. 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

Existing Stories

Suggested Resources

Sources of Open-Access Journals:
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

Sources of Preprints (and sometimes official versions)
Research Gate

Organisations that produce science related reports (free access):
The Cochrane Library – search for systematic literature reviews on health and medicine
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)

Community Collaborators


See Also

WikiProject Tech

WikiProject Medicine

Be the change. Support WikiTribune's mission to fix the news - Jimmy Wales

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History for Project "Science"

  1. Angela Long updating existing stories
  2. Angela Long
  3. Paul Ralph minor additons
  4. Angela Long adding plastic pollution project
  5. Paul Ralph extended and refined guidelines
  6. Paul Ralph updated suggested resources and added myself to the list of community collaborators
  7. Paul Ralph Added guidelines, improved section headings
  8. Harry Ridgewell fix formatting
  9. Harry Ridgewell removed story until published
  10. Fiona Apps Removing unlinked title
  11. Harry Ridgewell unlinked story not yet published
  12. Paul Ralph Expanded suggestions.
  13. Angela Long AL profile link
  14. Angela Long Adding plastic oceans piece
  15. Fiona Apps Updating link
  16. Fiona Apps Removing link
  17. Fiona Apps Adding link
  18. Fiona Apps Adding links + section
  19. Fiona Apps Removing heading
  20. Fiona Apps
  21. Fiona Apps Save (not done yet)
  22. Harry Ridgewell removing articles not yet published
  23. Peter Bale Headline changed
  24. Fiona Apps Removing one dead link
  25. Brendan Cawley Reflecting a title change for the Lab-grown meat article
  26. Marc Cortese added to Resources section
  27. Linh Nguyen changed to project
  28. Harry Ridgewell improved
  29. Harry Ridgewell removed links to nothing
  30. Harry Ridgewell added existing story
  31. Harry Ridgewell update
  32. Fiona Apps Re fmt
  33. Fiona Apps Changing link
  34. Harry Ridgewell added community driven story
  35. Peter Bale Changing links
  36. Peter Bale Edits
  37. Harry Ridgewell got sources to appear normally
  38. Harry Ridgewell trying to get sources to appear normally
  39. Harry Ridgewell added more resources
  40. Harry Ridgewell changed number
  41. Harry Ridgewell added few words
  42. Harry Ridgewell added community driven stories
  43. Fiona Apps Adding heading
  44. Fiona Apps (Re)adding links
  45. Fiona Apps Articles to stories
  46. Fiona Apps Adding 'see also' - removing discuss
  47. Fiona Apps Adding discussion which is kinda important
  48. Fiona Apps Adding JSTOR link
  49. Fiona Apps Whoops! It's science!
  50. Fiona Apps Adding articles and image
  51. Fiona Apps Creating new Wikiproject


Talk about this Project

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

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