If you plan to write a book review or conference report for us, please first contact the editor to make sure that the subject matter is of sufficient general interest. Before you write, make sure you know about deadlines, read the guidance below for the particular type of report you have in mind, and make sure to look at submissions guidelines so that you send things in the right format.
Writing Conference Reports
You may be asked to write a conference report in order to receive a travel award, or you may simply wish to write one. Either way, it is crucial that you contact the Editor as far in advance of the actual meeting as possible (up to three months before) to aid planning. It is also crucial that you are especially aware of deadlines, and negotiate new ones if necessary. Our goal is to print conference reports (ie. for them to appear in an issue that is actually published) within four months of the meeting, which means that we may have to stretch deadlines at certain times of year.
In addition you should consider the following:
- Your report must be 900 words or less.
- You should do one of the following with your report:
Describe the three most interesting projects you were introduced to at the meeting (you will have to get copies of the papers for this) and explain why you found them compelling. These projects should not only be interesting from the perspective of your particular sub-discipline, but should be set in a slightly wider context. You may need to fill in this context yourself.
Describe a research trend that became apparent through attending the conference. Explain what it was and describe how various papers (say 6-8) supported this trend.
Describe a new topic that has emerged recently, giving details of three papers in the meeting you attended as examples of this topic.
If you have another idea for the report, feel free to discuss it with the Editor.
Make sure to start the article explaining the content (essentially, this is a newswriting sytle). First lines might include "[This] research trend emerged...", "[Three interesting projects] were presented...", "[This] new area of research is emerging...". The details of the where and when of the conference are less important, and should go towards the end of the first paragraph or later.
Please note that the reader is not generally interested in issues relating to the atmosphere, the hard work of the organizers, the beauty of the location, the way the structure of the meeting worked, and so forth. Unless you feel that your meeting was an exceptional case for some reason (contact he Editor in advance if this applies), you should mention these issues in passing, if at all.
What is most useful is information about the work, research trends and ideas.
Writing Book Reviews
There are several things to keep in mind when writing a book review:
We only plan to run one page of book reviews per issue, so any review should either be no more than 900 words long (full page), or about 400 words long (half page). Let the Editor know in advance before you write anything, both to save space for a particular issue and to allow planning of a second book review where appropriate.
Book reviews should fall into one of two categories:
a) Quite positive reviews of good books published in the last year or two. (The more recent the better). These can be on any topic, including sub-disciplines, but must be at a level that,say, an entry-level postgraduate student could understand. If you're not sure, ask the Editor.
b) Reviews (whether positive or negative) of books recent books that can't be ignored. Such books are likely to be more general in nature. The idea is that it is not productive to run negative reviews of obscure books.
In addition, all reviews must be signed, with a short bio and URL of the author supplied.
The SSAISB is sent books to review, which we make available first to the Editorial Board, then to the membership. A list is available here.