Author Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in contributing to Significance – a magazine and website all about statistics and the contribution it makes to our world. We hope you find these notes of use in writing your article.

We’ll start by setting out our mission statement:

Significance presents a statistical perspective on life around the globe. It challenges myths, provides a unique take on the stories of the day, and uses statistics to tackle society's most difficult questions. A data-driven world requires evidence-based thinking – and Significance is a showcase for the best of it.

Our mission statement guides our approach to commissioning articles, and sets the scope for the type of articles we are interested in publishing. In writing your article, however, we ask that you adhere to the following core principles:

  • Articles must be interesting, engaging and easy to read.
  • Readers should finish your article knowing more about statistics, or the application of statistics, than they did before.
  • Technical terms and mathematics should be kept to a minimum, and explained clearly where used.

Please keep our audience in mind while writing. Though the vast majority of our magazine subscribers are professional statisticians, our goal is to not only inform and entertain these core readers but to encourage a wider appreciation of statistics and the role it plays in society. As such, the target reader is someone with an interest in data, who is comfortable with it and knows some of the basics but who is by no means an expert.

What does this mean in practice? As set out in the last of our core principles, technical terms should be kept to a minimum and explained clearly. We recommend the use of box-outs and sidebars for any detailed technical explanations that might otherwise distract from the flow of the main article.

We recognise that statistics is a complex area and simple explanations of models, methods and processes are not always possible. In such instances, we ask that contributors explain the underlying concepts – using real-life analogies where possible – to ensure readers of all levels are able to understand the work that was done.

The following are key pointers:

  • Articles can include tables, figures, images and photographs but please make sure you have permission to use any supporting graphics.
  • We’re a magazine, not a journal – so avoid the formal structure of an academic paper.
  • Remember to tell a story. It’s not enough to simply describe a process.
  • The opening paragraph is everything. A strong ‘hook’ at the outset is invaluable for grabbing reader attention.
  • Your conclusion is just as important. What do you want your readers to remember and think about once they’ve finished reading?
  • End references are optional, but should be limited to five…
  • …but don’t rely on references to do the work for you. The article should stand on its own and readers should not be expected to go elsewhere to get the full story.
  • Articles must be original and not under consideration for publication elsewhere – though we welcome articles based on work in theses or in papers that have been submitted to or accepted by academic journals, provided the two are sufficiently different.

Statistical content

The guidance above relates largely to writing style and approach. But what makes Significance unique is our marriage of storytelling and statistics – and getting the statistical aspects of your article correct is as important as telling an interesting and engaging tale.

Articles published in Significance will be vetted by an editorial board of statistical experts, and they will have comments to make and questions to ask that relate specifically to your article, but here is some general advice to bear in mind.

  • Explain your methods, your data, models used, assumptions made, the quantity and quality of evidence, and the limitations of your findings.
  • Where estimates are made, be sure to quantify their accuracy and the surrounding uncertainty.
  • Write your conclusions carefully, ensuring that claims made or discussed are supported by the evidence provided in your article.
  • Keep mathematical details to a minimum.
  • Don’t mistake correlation for causation. It’s easily done, even if it's unintended.

Data sharing

Authors are not required to submit datasets and/or code as part of their submissions. However, the Significance Editorial Board encourages authors to include in their articles any links and/or references to sources of data, and any code, on which their analyses are based.

Word counts

For our In Brief section: 500-1,000 words
For our In Detail section: 1,500-2,500 words
For our In Practice section: 1,000-2,000 words

For website articles: 500-1,500 words

Submitting your article

Please supply articles in Word or Rich Text Format. We do not accept submissions in LaTeX.


Charts and graphs should be supplied as Illustrator-compatible EPS files to allow our designers to update text and colour elements to house style. Editable PDFs are also suitable.

If you wish to use charts or graphs that are not your own work, please ensure that they are correctly sourced and referenced and that you have permission to republish from the original author. A letter or email confirming this is required.

All other images – those for general illustration purposes – will be sourced and paid for by Significance.
If you have questions that are not answered here, please email

Search Engine Optimization for Your Paper

Consult our SEO Tips for Authors page in order to maximize online discoverability for your published research. Included are tips for making your title and abstract SEO-friendly, choosing appropriate keywords, and promoting your research through social media.
More ideas to help maximize the reach of your published paper can be found here.


News about members and internal Society business, for example reports on meetings, will continue to find their appropriate home on the Society’s StatsLife site.

Book Reviews

Significance will review

  • Statistical books aimed at the general public
  • Introductory undergraduate textbooks but nothing more technical
  • Books on the history of statistics
  • Occasionally, 'popular science' books
  • Software and websites, or occasionally events (e.g. special museum events).

Suggestions for review items should be directed to

Reviews Editor
Royal Statistical Society
12 Errol Street

To see the current list of books for review please click here.

Copyright Assignment Form

Authors will be required to assign copyright in their papers to the Royal Statistical Society. Copyright assignment is a condition of publication and papers will not be passed to the publisher for production unless copyright has been assigned. To assist authors an appropriate copyright assignment form will be supplied by the editorial office. (Government employees need to complete the Author Warranty sections, although copyright in such cases does not need to be assigned.) The Copyright Assignment Form should be signed and returned to Mandy Luk at the address below:

Mandy Luk
Senior Production Editor

Significance Website

For information on how to contribute to Significance online, including acting as a book reviewer, please contact