Thanks for your interest in submitting a guest post! Here are some guidelines to help you put together a great post that helps you shine and connect people with the ocean or coast, and/or marine science and technology. If you have any question at all, please get in touch.
Types of works accepted
As long as your work is in some related to the ocean or the coast, coastal communities, marine science, or technology, tells a good story, and is of good quality, there aren't really any limitations on what you can submit. For example, it could be a piece of science news, a well-researched opinion piece, an explainer, a story of personal experiences, a short story, a piece of poetry, some illustrations, a comic, a photo-essay, or an infographic.
I'd like to avoid advertorial-style pieces, but that doesn't mean you can't works related to an event you are holding or have held, or something you have created. The piece just needs to be a story rather than a sales pitch.
Any work that could be deemed libellous, defamatory, or violate any personal or property rights of any third party cannot be accepted. This is to protect you as well as me from potential lawsuits (scary stuff, but this can happen).
Whether you are writing about science or a work of fiction, your work needs to be accessible to the wide audience Ocean Oculus attracts (which ranges from scientists to industry professionals to the person on the street who has never even seen the ocean!).
There is no word limit for your post, but ideally, it should be at least 500 words. At this time, pieces need to be submitted in English, and must be well written. This means good spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. Ideally it is best if you avoid acronyms and jargon, but if you do want to use some technical terms, make sure you define them. Oh and no plagiarism please.
If you are writing about science in any way or are using pieces of data in your work, you will need to include hyperlinks to your sources - which ideally should be primary literature (peer-reviewed papers or grey literature from reputable sources).
Even though your work is not going in a peer-reviewed publication, it needs to be accurate and backed by solid science. Peer-reviewed papers published in 'predatory journals' will not be accepted as sources. Even though the science itself may be sound, sadly none of us can guarantee they are of the same standard as papers that have gone through more rigorous publication processes.
If you are writing about an experience that involves other people and would like to change some of the identifying features (like people's names, places) please indicate that you have done this (this is just transparency for the readers).
The old saying a picture tells a thousand words is so true. Nevertheless, you will still need to submit some words with your image so people can understand what they are looking at. For example, depending on what you create, you might want to explain some of the background behind your piece - what inspired you, what is the story you are trying to tell? If you created something that involved some special technique you might want to tell us a little about that too.
If your image is in any way based on science or data (as typically happens with infographics), you will need to include links to your sources - which ideally should be primary literature (peer-reviewed papers or grey literature from reputable sources). As with written pieces, papers from predatory journals cannot be used as sources.
Photos, videos, drawings, paintings, infographics and so forth make wonderful additions to your work - or can be work in their own right! Regardless of format, you need to make sure that you have permission to use those images with your pieces and can give full credit to the creator, otherwise you (and I) could find ourselves facing a copyright infringement case! Here are some guidelines for you to follow when sending your images:
If you have created the image yourself: This is nice and easy! Just let me know that you are the creator, and I'll credit the work to you.
If someone gave you an image they created to use: You must have permission from the creator to use their work. Please give me their name and preferably an email (in case I need to get hold of the creator). The work will be credited to the creator.
If you found the image on the web: Only images under a Creative-Commons/public domain licence can be used. Please send me the link to the image so I can grab the appropriate credit.
Short Bio and Headshot
You've put in some hard work pulling your story together, so now it's time to celebrate you! Feel free to send a short bio (max 100 words) and a headshot and I'll make sure it's included with your story. Feel free to add any links to websites or social media.
So a little bit of legal-speak here. By sending me your work, you grant Samantha Andrews/Ocean Oculus the non-exclusive, worldwide right to publish your work and make it available in perpetuity online and in any other format Ocean Oculus uses or may use in the future.
Essentially what this means is that you are allowing me to publish your work, use it in multiple formats beyond the Ocean Oculus website (for example, on social media or in newsletters), but you, as the creator, own the work you have produced and are free to publish it somewhere else if you ever want to.
Submitting your post
Before you put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keyboard) and create your masterpiece, I recommend you contact me first with a brief introduction on who you are, and what you would like to write about. That way we can both make sure your post is on topic, and deal with any questions you might have.
Once you submit your post, I’ll check it over for grammar, spelling, and clarity. If any corrections/changes are needed, I’ll send the post back to you for revision/approval of recommended changes before the post goes live.
Submissions are not guaranteed to be accepted for publication. If your post isn’t accepted, I’ll let you know (with a brief reason why). Most common reasons for rejection are
The post is not in any way ocean related
The post is a sales pitch
The post is poorly written
Looking forward to seeing your work!