Writers Guidelines

Thank you very much for contributing to Toxipedia! Please feel free to contact mwilliams@toxipedia.org if you have questions about any of these guidelines. We look forward to posting your piece!

Length

Length will vary depending on the complexity of your topic and your approach to it. We prefer that articles be at least 500 words, and there is no upper limit. Longer articles may be broken down into different pages, and we may request that you provide a summary to help site visitors who are more interested in shorter pieces. The majority of the articles on the site are now at around 2000 to 3000 words.

Format

Most pages are currently written as articles broken down into several subtopics. However, we welcome content in other formats such as fact sheets, charts and tables, and PowerPoint presentations. We encourage you to submit graphics to be posted together with your article.

Our standard topic outline for chemical profiles is:

  • Social Significance / Overview
  • Chemical Description
  • Uses and History
  • Routes of Exposure and Metabolism
  • Human Health Effects
  • Environmental Health Effects
  • Regulation
  • Precautionary Notes

Topics

Please see our topic list to get an idea of the kinds of topics we cover. As of April 2011, we are specifically interested in adding new content on these topics:

  • Climate change
  • Child diseases linked to exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Historical overview of laws and regulations pertaining to toxic chemicals
  • Teaching resources (PowerPoints, etc.)

We also welcome new topics as long as they are related to toxicology and environmental health.

Tone

The tone should be professional but accessible: somewhere between academic and informal.  Our target audience is members of the public who are looking for science-based but readily understandable information on environmental health and toxicology issues. Please minimize use of overly technical terminology but include scientific information presented clearly and simply. We want our materials to be usable as teaching resources, so please also limit your use of slang or overly casual language.

Bear in mind that we are available to help with editing your piece as needed, so if you are unsure about whether your approach is what we have in mind, feel free to ask! We are happy to help revise a rough draft or provide other assistance as needed.

References

Please include a complete and alphabetized reference list (bibliography) at the end of your piece and refer to it through your piece, using in-text citations. In-text citations simply provide the author's last name, the year of publication, and if needed, a page or chapter number at the end of a sentence. For example: "From its earliest use, the Cremophor base has been known to cause allergic reactions (Goodman and Walsh 2001, p. 116)."

We prefer entries in the alphabetized reference list (bibliography) to be in this format:

Book

Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title. City: Name of Publisher, Year.
Example: Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.

Journal or Magazine Article

Author Last Name, Author First Initial(s). Title of Article (in quotes). Title of Journal or Magazine Volume, Number (Year): page #-page #.
Example: Birnbaum, L. S., & Staskal, D. F. "Brominated Flame Retardants: Cause For Concern?". Environmental Health Perspectives 112, 1 (2004): 9-17.

Website

Author. Year. Title of Work. Publisher. URL [access date] (Note: in some cases a specific author will not be listed)
Example: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 2004. ToxFAQs for Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs). http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts68-pbde.html [accessed December 8, 2009]

References to popular magazines or websites are fine, but we encourage you to also include references from peer-reviewed journals, government websites, and nonprofit and educational websites.

Finally, please be sure that any references you include are correct and complete. We will not reject content that does not contain thorough references, but we strongly encourage you to include thorough references in order to make your work more credible and helpful to readers.

Review Process

The level of review for articles on Toxipedia varies depending on authors' preferences. Please review our three review levels and indicate the level of review you would prefer.

Posting Your Piece

Toxipedia is a wiki-based site and you are free to post your piece and create an author page. However, we are happy to do this for you if you prefer. Please email mwilliams@toxipedia.org for assistance. NOTE: Due to an increase in spam accounts, as of April 2016 we require that people who would like to edit or add pages contact us to receive permission. Please first create a user account (from the login box in the menu bar at the top of any page), then email editor Maria Williams at mwilliams@toxipedia.org to request access. Thank you!

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