Young Statisticians Writing Competition: write with Significance!

Author: Jennifer Rogers

Significance and the Young Statisticians Section of the Royal Statistical Society are once again hosting a competition to promote good writing about statistics. This time the rewards are even greater! All budding writers within the first 10 years of their statistical career are invited to submit articles which would be suitable for Significance magazine.

The winning article will, as before, be published in Significance. But this year, for the first time, the three finalists will also be invited to attend the Royal Statistical Society Conference 2014 in Sheffield and present their work in a special session where we will be announcing the overall winner. It is an ideal chance for them to practice speaking before an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. 

Articles should be between 1800 and 3000 words long and can include tables, figures, images and photographs. Their style should be clear and easy to read – avoid the formal layout of an academic report – and technical terms and mathematics should be used sparingly if at all, and suitably explained. End references are optional, but should be limited to three or four at most.

Anyone is welcome to enter, regardless of membership or affiliation. The only stipulation is that you should be 'young' (in career terms, not necessarily in age) – that is, you must be a student or within the first 10 years of your career. The article could be on work that you have done, or it could explain the work of others. Only submissions in English will be considered.

Some hints: we are a magazine, not a peer-reviewed journal, so people who know little or nothing about statistics read us. Write for your readers: if you can interest them in the subject, your piece will have been a success. Try not to dumb down, but avoid being over-technical: If a schoolchild, a grandmother, and everyone in between can understand it, no matter what their background knowledge, and if they can go away knowing a little more about statistics than they did before, then you can consider yourself one of the best communicators of statistics around – and you should be in with a good chance of winning. And if your topic is of use to the world or to society, or is just offbeat, unexpected, that helps as well. We want to show how statistics is relevant to all kinds of decisions that matter.

Manuscripts must be original and not under consideration for publication elsewhere, though we welcome magazine articles based on work in theses or in papers that have been submitted to or accepted by academic journals, provided the two are sufficiently different. All articles will be assessed by a review committee, the judges will be made up of representatives from both the Young Statisticians Section and Significance.

Three finalists will win a one-day registration to the Royal Statistical Society Conference 2014, which is being held in Sheffield (note that travel and accommodation costs will not be covered). The winning article will be published in Significance magazine. Runner-up articles will be published on the Significance website, or in Significance magazine at the editor’s discretion. As an extra incentive, last year's winner, Damjan Vukcevic, was also featured on BBC Radio 4's More or Less programme. The runners-up from 2013, were John Stephenson, Dane Korver and Altea Lorenzo-Arribas.

Please email your submissions in a text/Word file or as a PDF, to The closing date is May 30th, 2014.

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