These are brief instructions to authors of travel, conference and other reports written for BSPP News. It will help greatly to publish your report quickly if you follow these instructions carefully. They are written specifically for conference reports but are generally applicable to other kinds of report too.
Your target audience is readers of BSPP News, i.e. the membership of BSPP. You can assume that readers have good general knowledge of plant pathology, but not that they have specific knowledge of your own area of expertise.
If you have received a grant from the BSPP Travel Fund, the purpose of asking you for a report is so other members can benefit from the experience which you gained by attending the conference or other event and can share some of the knowledge which you acquired.
What should the report be about?
The key question to ask yourself is: what would other members of BSPP be interested in? There’s no standard format and no set of things that must be included or must be left out.
Do concentrate on those aspects of the conference that you found interesting – and say why they interested you. (Just saying that “Dr Smith gave an interesting talk on …..” doesn’t tell the reader anything about why Dr Smith’s talk was interesting.) It might help to start with a first paragraph giving some indication of the scientific background to the conference – i.e. the current “state of the art” – but this is by no means a fixed rule.
Don’t try to mention every session in the conference, let alone every talk. Concentrate on the highlights – the things you found most valuable and would be most interesting to other members.
You might like to think about some of the following questions when writing your report:
- Where is progress being made in the area?
- How has the subject developed in the last few months/years?
- What are the rapidly developing or controversial areas?
- Who is doing the most interesting work and what did they say?
- What are the implications for your own work?
- What are the practical implications, e.g. for agriculture or for disease control?
And please don’t include lists – whether of sessions, speakers, conference organisers, meals, etc. If you do, I will almost certainly cut them out. You might like to include some “local colour” (food? scenery? sight-seeing?) if you wish to give readers a feel for the place where the conference was held. But please emphasise the science more than the tourism!
Don’t forget to add your name and your place of work at the end of your report.
The recommended length is 600 words, which is enough for one page of BSPP News, including a headline. However, there’s no fixed length, so longer reports that will be interesting to a good number of BSPP members may well be worth up to two pages. If your report is longer than 1200 words, please tell me why you think such a long report is appropriate when you send it to me.
All reports are edited. They aren’t normally returned to authors for checking after editing.
For travel reports, please send your report by e-mail to email@example.com (cc:firstname.lastname@example.org).
For travel reports, the submission deadline is 1 month after travelling. In general, deadlines are the 2nd Friday of January, May and September, for the spring, summer and autumn issues of BSPP News (to be distributed in February, June and October respectively).
…are very welcome. Please send images in JPEG, TIFF or bitmap format, at least 300 dots per inch resolution minimum. Please check the size of the file before sending it. A file or a set of files larger than 2 MB in total must be sent on a CD, not by e-mail. Please include a short description of the picture(s).
… in a signed article in BSPP News (e.g. travel reports) is owned by the author.
BSPP News is a private newsletter, not a publication. If someone wishes to refer to your report in BSPP News, they should contact you personally for permission to cite a personal communication. If people want to cite a report in BSPP News as “pers. comm.”, the BSPP Newsletter editor will put them in touch with the author if possible.