Submitting Articles

A Guide for Authors

General

The Editorial Board welcomes submissions to the magazine from members of the software development community, whether or not they are members of the IAP. Typically (but not exclusively) articles will have one of the following three foci:

  1. the presentation of a novel system or technique
  2. the discussion of a procedure familiar in a limited sub-population of software developers but unlikely to be well-known elsewhere. The topic should, of course, be deemed to be of wider interest.
  3. the discussion of a topic that is of general interest among software developers but that is unlikely to be directly useful to their work.

 

Article Length

The Editorial Board makes no stipulation as to article length. It is conceivable that, for instance, a novel data manipulation technique could be described and analysed, with illustrative examples given, in no more than two or three pages. However, a more typical article length is between fifteen and twenty pages.

 

Submitting an Article

Articles may be submitted to any member of the Editorial Board or to Robin Jones, Executive Director for Professionalism and Education, Institution of Analysts and Programmers, jonesr@staff.iap.org.uk. They may be in doc, docx or odt formats. Other formats may be used by agreement.

Please provide a paragraph of biographical detail. This will be included in a section at the beginning of the magazine headed “About the Authors” rather than being appended to your article. The content should highlight, but not necessarily be restricted to, your experience relating to the subject of your article. If you wish to provide contact details, do so here.

Figures should be provided as jpegs in a separate (zipped) folder. Each file should be named fig_1.jpg, fig_2.jpg…fig_n.jpg etc. The text file should indicate an approximate insertion point for each figure with a line containing only: *#*Fig <n>*#* <Caption> (where <Caption> is optional).

 

Style

Generally, preserving the house style will be a matter addressed during the editorial process. Authors should be concerned primarily with ensuring that their message is clear rather than worrying about consistency with others. However, there are some aids to clarity that they may wish to bear in mind:

Sections: Each section of an article should be given a sub-heading in newspaper/magazine style. Outline numbering of paragraphs is not usually appropriate.

Passive Voice: avoid this where possible. E.g. do not write, “If a link is clicked, the system logs the following data.” but rather, “If the user clicks a link, the system logs the following data.” Readers can interpret the latter more quickly, because they need make no assumptions about who clicked the link.

Singular/plural mismatch: many authors use ‘they’ and ‘their’ with singular subjects because, not knowing the sex of the subject, they cannot use ‘he’ or ‘she’. Sometimes they use ‘he/she’ or ‘s/he’. All of these constructs are ugly. One solution may be to use the plural form throughout. For example, instead of writing, “The user can always be identified from their IP address”, consider: “Users can always be identified from their IP addresses”.

Box-outs and Sidebars: the use of either of these forms is dangerous. Their precise positions in the final text cannot be predicted and may be unhelpful. In any case, the reader is left to infer that the author does not know (or worse, has not thought about) the ideal order in which to read the work. There may sometimes be good reasons for such constructs and we do not wish dogmatically to outlaw their use but we do advise authors to think very carefully about whether they really need them.

 

Editorial Process

An author should first submit an outline of  a proposed article. The Editorial Board will consider this and respond within two weeks. The Editorial Board may, at this stage, suggest modifications to a proposal they accept  to ensure that it is likely to be attractive to the target audience. All authors will be offered feedback on their submissions.

Authors will be expected to submit complete drafts of their articles within one month of having been notified that their proposals have been successful.

The Editorial Board will offer feedback, including suggestions for revisions, within two weeks of receiving the drafts. Authors will have a further two weeks to present final versions.