In Case of Doubt, Make it Sound Convincing. Finagles's 4th Rule
From the Principal Chief Editor's Desk
The in-house Company journal, the Bulletin of Supposition and Speculation, is published quarterly. The Bulletin Editorial Board welcomes manuscripts on any topics dealing with supposition and speculation including conjecture, assumption, opinion, notion, belief, suspicion, inference, plausibility, presumption, postulation and surmise. Articles based on straight guesswork will be returned unreviewed to the authors.
Most issues are filled with papers about Company matters written by Company staff. However, the Editorial Board has become aware that expertise in speculation can, on occasion, extend beyond the walls of The Company. Consequently The Board is actively seeking manuscripts from outside contributors, including from overseas. Intending authors should consult the guidelines below.
Guide for Authors
The aim of the Bulletin of Supposition and Speculation is to provide a vital long term income stream for The Company and an opportunity for scientists to increase the quantity of their publications. The Bulletin fills an essential niche in accepting speculative papers that might be judged by some harsh critics to be "not necessarily of top quality" and/or for which firm data are pending. The Bulletin publishes original articles, reviews, comments, replies, monographs, memoirs, disquisitions, diatribes, confessions, anecdotes, roastings, accusations, retractions, reminiscences, revelations and autobiographies on local, regional, national, international or global matters. Articles describing especially speculative results are given priority publication and will be published no later than 36 months after submission. A condition of acceptance for all papers is that page charges will be paid in full, in advance and with cash or a bank cheque; we do not mind if papers have been published or submitted for publication elsewhere.
Style of papers
All contributions to The Bulletin should be written in English, Pidgin, Greek, Hieroglyphic or Double Dutch. Pre-submission peer review is not necessary but contributors who are not fluent in the aforementioned languages should seek skilled advice on the composition of their papers. Articles should be written assuming a small, specialised readership that is eagerly awaiting publication of the manuscript. The Editorial Board reserves the right to completely rewrite a paper to make it consistent with The Bulletin's scope, to make its contents more speculative, or to reduce its Flesch Reading Ease Index to <20. The cost of this editing will be borne by the author.
The title should be at least 150 words long. This will guarantee that the proper sense of importance and complexity is conveyed to the reader, and also enable thorough and complete indexing by abstracting journals.
If co-authored, a simple majority of co-authors must agree to the submission. One dog-eared, twice-photocopied, single-spaced, double-sided hard copy of the manuscript must be sent to The Chief Editor; page numbers and staples are optional. The format of the manuscript is pretty much up to the author, but the following main headings are recommended: Introduction, which should contain a comprehensive account of all background material published on the topic since Aristotle; Methods (if applicable), which should allow the reader to guess at the techniques used in the study; Results (if applicable), which should be the shortest section in the paper; Discussion, which should emphasise the magnitude of the supposition and speculation employed and place them in the context of related work. There should be no conclusions. Authors are advised that the recommended page length of articles has recently been increased to 200 printed pages; shorter articles may be considered at the discretion of The Chief Editor if they are accompanied by a written explanation. On final acceptance, authors will be asked to provide a copy of their manuscript on a 5.25 inch floppy disc.
Illustrations and tables
Rough hand-drawn sketches of diagrams are perfectly acceptable. Lettering should be as small as possible to maximise information content. Scales, north arrows and latitude and longitude tick marks should be omitted to reduce clutter. Light lines and screen shading produce visually interesting moire effects in the final published version. Wherever possible, photographs should be in focus, have the horizon parallel to one edge, include family members as a scale and have some artistic merit.
Abbreviations and units
In the interests of cultural sensitivity, local units (e.g. Russian verst, Japanese ri, British/American mile) may be freely used. Authors should note that they can reduce word and page charges by extensive use of non-standard abbreviations, symbols and acronyms.
This can also be spelled "acknowledgments". Authors are reminded to be flattering and obsequious to colleagues, rivals, heads of department, managers, referees, Editors, Cabinet Ministers, funding agencies and clients.
References should follow the author (date) system. Titles of journals should be cited in full and should be listed at the end of the paper in the following form:
- Anderson, M.C. & Green, C. 2001. Suppressing unwanted memories by executive control. Nature 410: 366-369.
- Berlitz, C. 1982. Doomsday 1999: countdown to the new apocalypse. Granada Publishing, London.
- Chandy, K.M. & Misra, J. 1984. The drinking philosopher's problem. ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems 6: 632-646.
- Geiselman, P.J., Smith, C.F., Williamson, D.A., Champagne, C.M., Bray, G.A. & Ryan, D.H. 1998. Perception of sweetness intensity determines women's hedonic and other perceptual responsiveness to chocolate food. Appetite 31: 37-48.
- Knopoff, L. 1964. Q. Reviews of Geophysics 2: 625-660.
- Mackie, J.B. 1979. Deviation of the vertical in the South Island, New Zealand. DSIR Geophysics Division Report 141.
- Malpass, B. 1993. Bluff your way into science. Ravette Books, London.
- Markl, G. & Hauptmann, H. 1983. Studies on the chemistry of the arsoles. Journal of Organometallic Chemistry 248: 269.
- Oborn, L.E. 1960. The incompetent and elastic nature of the Christchurch artesian system. New Zealand Journal Geology & Geophysics 3: 81-97.
- Pollock, J.J. & Zamora, A. 1983. Collection and characterization of spelling errors in scientific and scholarly text. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 34: 51-58.
- Rolls, B.J., Roe, L.S., Meengs, J.S., Wall, D.E. 2004. Increasing the portion size of a sandwich increases energy intake. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 104: 367-372.
- Rubin, A.E. & Jerde E.A. 1990. The method of multiple working hypotheses for chocolate lovers and petrologists. Journal of Geological Education 38: 243-245.
- Sidoli, M. 1996. Farting as a defence against unspeakable dread. Journal of Analytical Psychology 41: 165-78.
Page and offprint charges
There are royal per-page and per-word charges for articles and offprints.
Guide for Referees
Journal production is an expensive business these days. The seven remaining academic libraries in the world that take The Bulletin of Supposition and Speculation are considering cancelling their subscriptions. It is important that efforts are made to keep costs (i.e. numbers of papers) per issue as low as possible. Referees' comments are of great assistance to The Chief Editor in writing plausible rejection letters.
On this form, referees are asked to try and explain why an author ever bothered to write the manuscript, let alone submit it to The Bulletin. We know that referees are often ignorant or opinionated, but these are not grounds for refusing to review a paper. Even though referees may sometimes agree with the author's opinions, they must provide reasons why the paper should not be published. No criticism need be substantiated. Even for apparently acceptable papers, we are anxious to supply the author with as many trivial, nitpicking comments as possible. You may cover the manuscript with illegible handwritten scrawls if you like; text written in red ink on a train or bus is strongly preferred. Referees are cautioned about being unduly positive in their comments. They should always point out the bad aspects of a paper as authors have come to expect negative feedback, opprobium and unwarranted attacks on their integrity. Remember to focus on personalities, not issues. Finally, referees are reminded that the purpose of The Bulletin is to maintain the comfortable establishment status quo; radical and innovative papers should be severely edited to conform with these standards.
Below is a checklist to assist referees in their reviews. Please select and tick only one box under each category:
[ ] Needs to be more concise and sensational for international audience
[ ] Needs to be longer and more informative for specialist audience
[ ] Paper describes transparently recycled pet theories dreamt up by the author years ago
[ ] Paper uses circular reasoning and unjustified assumptions to desperately resurrect the author's long-discredited ideas
Length of paper
[ ] Too long
[ ] Far too long
Presentation & style
[ ] Annoying, persistent use of first person. Change to third person
[ ] Annoying, persistent use of third person. Change to first person
Balance of data & interpretations
[ ] Excessive arm-waving is based on not a shred of new evidence. Revise
[ ] Far too much data is presented to no purpose. Revise
[ ] Don't forget me, the referee who repunctuated the whole paper
[ ] Readers' eyes will moisten at the mention of babies and pets in paragraph six
[ ] Author's papers are grossly over-cited. Shameless manipulation of the Science Citation Index
[ ] Referee's papers are grossly under-cited. Clearly a major oversight here
Summary: is this paper suitable for publication?
[ ] yes, with minor revision (translation: major revision is, of course, indicated by my comments)
[ ] yes, with major revision (translation: my comments demand a complete rewrite of the paper)
[ ] no (translation: that gives me a few months head start to publish these ideas myself)
All referee reports should be written as if strict confidentiality will be maintained.