The primary motivation for beginning to sell ads was that it would allow us to start paying writers. We made this decision for three key reasons:
The first is that we believe creativity and research are valuable, and that both deserve to be rewarded.
Second, we have high standards for what we publish, and everything has to go through a real fact-checking and editing process. Not only is it hard work on our end, but it’s a lot to ask writers to submit to — to have their arguments inspected and their sentences and structures tweaked for clarity and flow.
And third, we talk enough about how businesses should pay for good writing, art, music, information and culture, that we decided the best thing we could do would be to put our money where our mouth is.
To start out, we don’t have a king’s ransom to offer. But what we can provide right now is a small stipend, the support of nurturing editors, and access to thousands of intelligent readers who enjoy long-form articles on music and sound. These are avid readers who are deeply interested in the science, technology, aesthetic choices and economic realities that surround both of these crafts.
We currently publish one all-new issue on the first Monday of each month. Adding new writers will help us grow from here, and with any luck, start publishing bi-weekly sometime soon. (This should help us increase our payouts as well.)
You can write any kind of story you want for Scientist. We only have three rules:
1) That it be interesting to an audience of musicians, audio engineers, producers, or creative professionals in related fields.
2) That if you make big claims, you support them with some evidence.
3) That you try to learn something new in the process of writing that story, and that you share that learning with us.
Stories can run at just about any length— from 500 words to 5,000— but we’ve found our most successful stories are usually between 1,500 and 3,000 words.
So far, we’ve turned away almost as many pieces as we’ve accepted in order to help keep stories relevant for our readers, to keep standards high, and to help encourage new writers to reach for higher goals. Still, we’d like to keep one slot open each month for new contributors.
There are no prerequisites for contributing. You can be 15 or 55, a professional or an amateur, a musician or a mathematician. You just need a good story to tell, a little research or experience to share, and a compelling way of getting the whole thing across.
Know anyone? Maybe you? Email us today, and write for Scientist.