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Author Guidelines for Article Submissions
Origins & Design Magazine



Some General Advice

Origins & Design, as the masthead states, has "two related goals: to examine theories of origins, their philosophical foundations, and their bearing on culture, and to examine all aspects of the idea of design." By its nature, this field of inquiry is interdisciplinary, and writing for an interdisciplinary audience creates special challenges for authors. Moreover, the topic of origins (both historically and at the present day) generates deep convictions; whatever the state of the evidence, arguments about how the universe, its creatures, and especially we humans came to be, have never been marked by cool dispassion.

But progress towards the truth is possible, especially if we follow the wisdom of carefully weighing the evidence in the light of opposing viewpoints. "The first to plead his case seems just, until another comes and examines him" (Prov. 18:17). Thus, contributors should focus on the evidence, the differing explanatory theories at issue, and the role of philosophical and theological assumptions in evaluating both evidence and theory--and avoid disputing about motives, personal associations, presence or absence of expertise, or anything that smacks of the ad hominem mode. Contributors should imagine writing for an audience of critically sympathetic peers, who care passionately about the truth and regard other matters (e.g., religious affiliations) as distractions. This is, of course, an idealized readership, but that is the audience Origins & Design has set as its goal to cultivate.

Types of Articles

Origins & Designs seeks Feature Articles, News and Commentary, Book Reviews, and Literature Survey notices.

Feature articles will vary in length, but in no case should they be longer than 7,500 words (including notes and bibliography). In most cases, feature articles will be approximately 3,500 to 4,000 words. In this category, Origins & Design is chiefly interested in publishing (a) systematic critiques of existing theory as well as (b) new theoretical proposals. Under (a), for instance, one might consider critically the concept of "fitness," or self-organization, or optimal design; under (b), one might propose a new way of thinking about speciation, or the relationship between information theory and biology. As already noted, contributors should remember that they are writing for readers who in most cases will not share their specialized training. Submissions should be structured so that a general audience will be able to follow the argument. Keep speciality and disciplinary jargon to a minimum; explain those technical terms you cannot avoid; and make liberal use of clear figures and illustrations.

Feature articles will be sent to outside referees for review. Contributors who request blind refereeing should attach a separate sheet with their name, address, telephone or fax numbers, and e-mail address, taking care that no identifying information is included with the manuscript itself. Include an abstract of 100 words or less, and provide (on a separate page at the end of the article) a paragraph of biographical information, for inclusion in the "About the Contributors" box. Kindly do not submit your article to other publications while it is being considered by Origins & Design. We will make every effort to consider your article promptly.

News and Commentary articles should be 3,000 words or less. These may be reports of a more informal or journalistic character on timely events--e.g., conferences or scientific breakthroughs--of wide interest. If you are planning on attending a conference or lecture which you believe may be of value to the Origins & Design audience, please contact us in advance; some funds may be available to defray your costs in exchange for your detailed reporting. Commentaries on research and theoretical developments are also welcome. Here a critical or interpretative thesis should be clearly stated and defended (take as your model the "News and Views" articles in Nature).

For News and Commentary submissions, please send an e-mail or fax inquiry to the Editors before you begin writing.

Book reviews should be 2,500 words or less. Include the publication information at the head of your review, in the following order: title, author, publisher, city, year, ISBN number, number of pages, and price (hardcover or paperback, if available). If the dust jacket or cover are available to illustrate your review, please submit them (they will be returned). Any book falling within the broad purview of "origins" and "design" may be considered for review.

Literature survey notices provide analysis and commentary on recent scientific and philosophical articles (not books) of interest. Notices should be no longer than 200 words, and should include, in this order, the article author's name, the article title, the journal, volume number, year, and starting and ending pages. When submitting a literature survey notice, please provide a copy of the article being reviewed.

Manuscript and Publication Specifications


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