# Help:Authors

Welcome!

Scholarpedia is a peer-reviewed encyclopedia written by the leading experts of their respective fields. As an encyclopedia, it does not publish research papers or position papers, but, instead, is meant to serve as a repository for "living reviews" to be maintained by future generations of experts via a process of curatorship.

## Article Style

### Article Structure

"Brevity is the soul of wit", and there is little doubt that the world's leading scientists and scholars are witty -- an effective Scholarpedia article is 2-4 pages long (2,000 - 4,000 words), not counting figure captions or references.

While Scholarpedia articles do not feature an abstract, introduction, conclusion, or discussion, there are common structural elements most articles share. Whenever possible, each article starts with a one-sentence or one-paragraph dictionary-like definition of the main topic (this line essentially serves as an article abstract). The first paragraph of an entry should be conceptually accessible to a broad audience of readers. For instance:

• "A neuronal burst of spikes is two or more action potentials followed by a period of quiescence."
• "A dynamical system is a system whose state in any moment of time is a function of (1) its immediately previous state and (2) any input."

(Please use <strong> ... </strong> to bracket the mention of the article's topic in its definition, as this will improve its ranking in Google search results).

Then, as applicable, each article provides examples, illustrations, and a summary. In addition, wherever possible, articles are written in accordance with the following guidelines:

• Each article progresses from more basic to more advance concepts
• Articles should be concise but not terse, making good use of bullet points, tables, and diagrams
• The end of each article should include sections for references, recommended reading, and related Scholarpedia articles. See References below for more information.

### Writing style

As entries in an encyclopedia, Scholarpedia articles are to be written in "classic style" (as described in "Clear and Simple as the Truth" by Thomas & Turner, 1994, Princeton University Press). The writing must withstand the test of time, and continue to read well in spite of a change in who is responsible for the article's content (e.g., the first-person and second person must be avoided).

Furthermore,

• While Scholarpedia aims to be broadly accessible, content should be sufficiently comprehensive as to be informative for those in fields relevant to the topic of a given article. As a general rule, articles should be targeted to advanced undergraduate students studying in the article’s area or graduate students in related areas.
• Authors should attempt to anticipate common questions a reader might ask about a topic (e.g., for an invention: who invented it, when, where, why, and how? What did the invention replace? What was its impact? Has it led to any notable successes or failures?). Notice that, e.g., Wikipedia articles are generally very successful in this regard.
• Articles here should reflect expert consensus, mentioning any and all widely accepted alternative perspectives on issues of controversy.
• Articles must explain only the terms unique to the article or not appropriately explained elsewhere, and in all other cases provide links the definitions of other terms. For instance, the article on Bursting does not explain concepts such as neurons, spikes, currents, and bifurcations, but links to other articles for definitions of these terms.
• Avoid using abbreviations, as it can make it more difficult for readers to find the article via Google and other search engines.

## Article publication process

### Article proposal

To propose an article, click 'Propose a new article' link (left menubar). Your title should be short and encyclopedic, yet descriptive. The article will be created as a subpage of your user page. It will be there until it is sponsored by an existing Curator of Scholarpedia. You are then free to begin composing your article and inviting co-authors.

To add co-authors, on your article page click on the "Invite a co-author" button (top left) and follow the instructions provided there.

Your proposed article must be sponsored by an existing Curator. For this, you need to click 'sponsor' link on the right menubar. Copy the secret URL and email it to a Scholarpedia Curator who is willing to publicly attest that

• the topic you propose is encyclopedic and worthy a separate article, and
• you are the top world expert on this topic or you are the original inventor of this topic.

Once your article is sponsored, it is moved from your user page subpage to the main Scholarpedia namespace. If there exists another article already sponsored but not approved yet with the same title, then your article will be placed in a queue of articles waiting to take the place of the one currently in development, should this latter one be rejected.

Important: Once your article is sponsored, the deadline for getting the article written, reviewed, and approved is two months from the date when the article achieved "Sponsored" status.

### Peer-review

When an article is ready for peer-review, press 'invite reviewer' on the dashboard. The article needs to be accepted by two existing Curators (an article Sponsor can also choose to serve as one of the article's reviewers).

In general, it is the responsibility of the team of article authors to find reviewers for their article and to persuade these reviewers to approve the article for publication before the two-month deadline. If the article deadline lapses, it returns to the "proposed" (unsponsored) state and the process of sponsorship and review needs to be restarted.

You may wish to direct the reviewers you invite to instructions for reviewers.

### Publication

After the article has been formally approved by two qualified reviewers it moves to "in-press" status. During this cool-down period, editors of Scholarpedia have an opportunity to make sure that this article did not reach "published" status erroneously. After this period ends, any of the authors can choose to approve the very first "official" version of the article for publication -- when doing so, the person who approves the article must select from among the article co-authors the individual who is the most established expert on the article's topic, as it is this individual who will become the article's Curator. The moment of final author approval is time of official archival publication.

## Wikitext formatting

Articles in Scholarpedia are in Wikitext format, a markup language designed to be much simpler than LaTeX or HTML. Wikipedia's help pages provide comprehensive information on how Wikitext works, but often it is enough to look at an existing article, e.g., Bursting, and inspect the article's source text (but, do not click save, unless you made useful revisions to the article).

Another way to get started is to take a look at Article Template. To use the template, just click edit, then copy and paste the source content into your article. Once you have applied the template to your article, you can change the text to suit your needs (for example, add more tags for sections, bullet points, etc., as explained below).

If you would like to use LaTeX, you can find a simple-minded LaTeX to Wikitext converter here. It uses context replacement to change LaTeX math environments to $...$ brackets; but see also Including math below.

### Text formatting

#### Sections and subsections

To create a section, write the section title on a new line and surround it with two equal signs (==). The example below produces the title of this section.

== Wikitext formatting ==

For subsections, use multiple equal signs. The example below produces the title of this subsection.

=== Sections and subsections ===

Use sentence-style capitalization for section and subsection titles. Separate paragraphs within each section with an empty line.

#### Bullet points

To create a list of bullet points, insert an asterisk (*) at the start of each line. For indented bullets insert two asterisks in front of the line, for example:

*item 1
*item 2
**subitem 2a
**subitem 2b
*item 3


generates

• item 1
• item 2
• subitem 2a
• subitem 2b
• item 3

#### Lists

To create a numbered list, insert a number sign (#) at the start of each line. For subitems insert two number signs at the start of the line, for example:

#item 1
#item 2
##subitem 1a
##subitem 1b
#item 3


generates

1. item 1
2. item 2
1. subitem 1a
2. subitem 1b
3. item 3

#### Bold and italics

To make a word appear in italics, surround it with two single quotes (''). For example, ''hello'' appears as hello.

To make a word appear in boldface type, surround it with three single quotes ('''). For example, '''hello''' appears as hello.

Use bold for definitions and italics for emphasis. For example, "... Washington, DC is the capital of the USA. Do not confuse it with the state of Washington..."

Use <strong>...</strong> brackets at the top of the article when you define your main topic. This improves your article’s classification in Google PageRank and its placement in Google (and other search engine) results.

#### Superscripts and subscripts

To make text appear as subscript, use the <sub> </sub> brackets. For example, I<sub>Ca</sub> appears as ICa.

To make text appear as superscript, use the <sup> </sup> brackets. For example, Ca<sup>2+</sup> appears as Ca2+.

Do not use HTML tags for math equations, even simple ones. In the future, Scholarpedia will feature a Wikitext->LaTeX->pdf converter, so formatting all equations in LaTeX will result in more consistent texts.

#### Tables

Please read Wikipedia help to learn how to produce tables in Wikitext.

Links in articles can be internal, referring to other articles within Scholarpedia, or external, referring to other websites. Wikipedia help provides a detailed description of the many capabilities of links. Some basic features are explained below.

To create an internal link, surround the linking term in double square brackets ([[]]). For example, [[Bursting]] links to Bursting.

Adding a pipe (|) and text, e.g., [[Bursting|autonomous bursters]], results in a link to the same article, but allows you to define the text of the link, i.e., autonomous bursters (click on it).

Only make internal links on the first reference to a term in a paragraph, as if to provide, or remind your readers of, the definition of the term.