Author Guidelines

Significance is a bimonthly magazine published by the Royal Statistical Society for anyone interested in statistics and the analysis and interpretation of data. It is primarily a general interest publication for statisticians, users of statistics and all those interested in statistics. It is not a research journal, and articles are not peer reviewed.

Feature articles are normally be in the range 1,000–3,000 words, with 2,000 words being around average. Tables and graphs may also be accommodated, and if there are many the word-count should be revised downwards to take account of the demands these make on space. Articles may be edited for readability and length and to make them more suitable for the intended audience; all changes will be made in discussion with authors. They will also be illustrated, and authors are encouraged to supply or to make suggestions for suitable illustrations. However, these will not be used unless copyright approval has been obtained.

Significance runs interviews with statisticians working in all areas and with eminent statisticians about the development of the discipline. The Editor welcomes volunteer interviewees, or suggestions regarding suitable interviewees.

News items, puzzles and suggestions for future topics and authors and items to review are all welcome. (However, see the 'terms of reference' below for notes on news and reviews.)

The magazine is available on private subscription, as well as being supplied to members of the Society as part of their membership.

Authors should pay particular attention to making submissions accessible to a wide audience. For example, only the most commonplace technical terms should be used without explanation, and authors should consider seriously whether lesser-known terms may be omitted altogether. If an article could not be understood by a numerate reader with no specialist knowledge of the content—someone who reads, for example, the science or economics pages of a newspaper—it most probably does not belong in Significance.

Significance runs a 'Case Study' and a 'Statistician's Toolkit' in most issues.  These are primarily aimed at working statisticians, and authors can therefore provide somewhat more technical detail than would be appropriate elsewhere in the magazine, although they should still strive to be as accessible as possible.

All articles should be introduced in such a way that readers can clearly see the usefulness and importance of the content. Authors are encouraged to use examples, metaphors, similes, questions, and so on. They are also advised to ask a few friends or colleagues with no special knowledge of the area to read the article and to say what they found difficult or confusing.

Use of tables and graphs is encouraged. Citations should be kept to a minimum; they should be used to help the interested reader to find more information, rather than for completeness. References will be listed at the end of the article and referred to in the text by using indices.

Authors who would like to improve their ability to communicate with non-specialists could not do better than to read Style: towards Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams.

If you think you could write about an area or application of statistics that is of wide relevance or has an important and topical application, in a way that lives up to both meanings of the tagline 'Statistics making sense', the Editor would like to hear from you.

Preparation and Submission of Manuscripts
Submissions will only be considered in English. Manuscripts must be original contributions which are not under consideration for publication elsewhere and should be submitted to

Editor, Significance
Royal Statistical Society
12 Errol Street


Submission in electronic form is encouraged, by e-mail as Word, .pdf, or LATEX file attachments. Alternatively, a paper copy of manuscripts should be posted to the above address with a covering letter, although e-mail is preferred for all communication.

Terms of Reference
The aim of Significance is to communicate and demonstrate in an entertaining and thought-provoking way the practical use of statistics in all walks of life and to show how statistics benefit society. Articles are largely non-technical and hence accessible and appealing, not only to members of the profession, but also to all users of statistics. Students and teachers of statistics will find articles of interest in Significance, as will people working in central and local government, medicine and healthcare, administration, economics, business and commerce, industry, social studies, survey research, science and the environment. As well as promoting the discipline and covering topics of professional relevance, Significance contains a mixture of statistics in the news, case studies, reviews of existing and newly developing areas of statistics, the application of techniques in practice and problem solving, all with an international flavour.

One of the main purposes of Significance is to be an enjoyable way for readers to learn about novel applications, important theoretical developments, current issues affecting statisticians and developments in the roles played by statisticians and statistics right across society. The magazine will help to keep statisticians in academia in touch with those outside and to bring developments in research and practice to the attention of those who may be interested but are not directly involved.

Search Engine Optimization for Your Paper
Consult our SEO Tips for Authors page in order to maximize online discoverability for your published research. Included are tips for making your title and abstract SEO-friendly, choosing appropriate keywords, and promoting your research through social media.

News about members and internal Society business, for example reports on meetings, will continue to find their appropriate home in the Society’s membership newsletter RSS News, which will continue to publish under its current terms of reference.

Book Reviews
Significance will review

  • Statistical books aimed at the general public
  • Introductory undergraduate textbooks but nothing more technical
  • Books on the history of statistics
  • Occasionally, 'popular science' books
  • Software and websites, or occasionally events (e.g. special museum events).

Suggestions for review items should be directed to

Reviews Editor
Royal Statistical Society
12 Errol Street


Copyright Assignment Form
Authors will be required to assign copyright in their papers to the Royal Statistical Society. Copyright assignment is a condition of publication and papers will not be passed to the publisher for production unless copyright has been assigned. To assist authors an appropriate copyright assignment form will be supplied by the editorial office. (Government employees need to complete the Author Warranty sections, although copyright in such cases does not need to be assigned.) The Copyright Assignment Form should be signed and returned to Adrianne Cook at the address below:

Adrianne Cook
Production Manager

For further information or advice contact the Executive Editor at the Society's address. 

Significance Website
For information on how to contribute to Significance online, including acting as a book reviewer, please contact