Science Writing Policy

The Emerging Pathogens Institute offers its members the opportunity to promote their research through science stories on the institute’s website written by an EPI science writer. These stories are intended for educated but general lay readers — think of a newspaper style — and they will frame your work in plain language that readers from other disciplines or those outside of academia can understand. Those affiliated with an EPI member may also submit a story idea to the institute’s science writing team, including but not limited to work involving students, postdoctoral researchers, center collaborators, or publication co-authors. An affiliate must be tied to the institute to work with the science writing team. The team respects all journal embargoes and will act with discretion when working with a member or affiliate. 

The science writing team produces several types of stories (i.e., research feature, career or lab profile, research brief, Q&A piece, photo essay, etc.), and story type selection is up to the science writing team. The team will make every effort to accommodate story requests, but some requests may be declined. When this happens, the information may be considered for promotion via other communication mediums, such as social media or email marketing; potential promotion and the publication medium will be chosen by the communications team. Social media promotion can offer quantifiable exposure than a press release — with the bonus that it can be shared more fluidly and quickly within a researcher’s own social network.

The EPI science writing team understands there is a high interest in press releases. But over time the EPI leadership has noticed releases issued by the university’s various media units often yield low coverage while requiring large amounts of internal resources. The team will consider a news release for certain content and welcomes hearing about member accomplishments, but the science writing team may choose a different story type or refer this request to social media. Alternatively, researchers are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the UF News team’s Research Promotion Initiative, which offers a funding stipend and strong media promotion for successful submissions. Note that researchers must work directly with the UF News team for this content, not the EPI science writing team. 

Submitting a story idea

Members and affiliates can submit a story idea anytime by filling out a request using the EPI Science Writing Request Form. If story ideas are in relation to a publication, requests should be made well in advance of the publication date. The science writing team encourages submitting a story idea or contacting the science writing team when a paper has been accepted for publication or is close to being accepted. Once submitted, a member of the science writing team will respond to the request within three business days. All requests will be considered for the best media channel to promote the research work. However, submitting a form or contacting the science writing team does not guarantee that a science story will be written and published on the EPI website. 

Prompt responses to the writer or editor will help expedite the content production process and ensure the published piece remains timely and accurate. The entire process may take one to four weeks, including time for scheduling, editing, revisions and more. Members and affiliates who submit a story idea should:

  • Be able to provide documents related to the request (grant overview, journal paper draft or final, or Abstract at a minimum)
  • Be available for up to a 1-hour interview with an EPI science writer.
  • Maintain a steady line of communication with the science writer until publication; this includes being available to review the final copy for source approval and responding to follow-up questions that may occur during editing. 

What the EPI science writing team looks for in a story idea:

  • Pathogens research with a significant impact on people, animals, plants, agriculture and/or the environment.
  • Researchers who have work related to, or who can comment upon, trending pathogens news or current events.
  • Projects that delve into EPI mission-driven training and education.
  • Pathogen studies with a local perspective and can be connected to Florida whether by county, region, state or country. 
  • Pathogen studies that showcase the institute’s international reach through fieldwork or collaborations 
  • Unexpected pathogens research findings that differ from current research or accepted opinion within the science community.
  • Pathogen studies that made a novel discovery.
  • Pathogens research that carries human interest and holds emotional appeal, including but not limited to human and animal health, agriculture and human systems. 
  • High-impact pathogens research centering around undergraduate or graduate student-led research.
  • Grants that have a large award amount of $10 million or more.
  • Work that includes multiple institutions and large collaborations with prominent stakeholders
  • Researchers who have work related to, or who can comment upon, trending pathogens news or current events.