Front-section articles

Items for consideration for publication in the front section of the journal, such as Book Reviews and Scientific Correspondence, should be submitted online. All submissions should be accompanied by a signed Publishing Agreement and should conform to the journal format specified in the Guidelines to Authors

The following article types are considered for publication: 


The Leader is a reflection on current (usually important) issues in science, technology and education. The Leader is usually written by the Editor-in-Chief but, when important developments occur that can be better covered by discipline specialists, an appropriate scholar is asked to write the Leader. Leaders are normally about 1000 words.

News and Views

‘News’ items report briefly on important scientific news or developing stories (e.g. progress with regard to the SKA or new power generation systems, early findings from a research team). Currency and relevance are the critical considerations for News items.

News & Views items are most usually opinion pieces relating to current issues in the worlds of science, technology and education: news with a position taken and explained or argued by the author.

Both News and News & Views articles are usually 1000–2000 words and do not include an abstract or summary paragraph, and should contain no more than 3 figures/tables and no more than 10 references.

Research Briefs

Research Briefs are short (150 words) summaries of recently published research findings, primarily from other South African scientific and scholarly journals. The primary material is sometimes provided by the editors of the other journals but may also be provided by researchers who would like their findings to be made available to a wider readership than that of their own disciplinary journals. Research Briefs may also be submitted by readers who feel that a particular research project/programme deserves greater prominence than it currently enjoys.

Each item should contain the name of the broad disciplinary area concerned; an arresting caption; a description in ca 150 words of the main findings and conclusions in the paper, in lay language; and the full citation of the paper.

Scientific Correspondence

Scientific Correspondence items are short/moderate length (1500–2500 words) letters of a generally scientific nature, and should contain no more than 3 figures/tables and no more than 10 references. They are not letters of complaint or comments on previously published articles, but rather letters on interesting and possibly debatable issues such as ‘How long does it take to complete a Phd?’ or ‘Number theory and the unity of science’. 


An Obituary offers an overview of the life, works and scientific/scholarly contributions of a leading South African/African figure in the fields of science, technology or education who has made important contributions to her or his field, whether a member of ASSAf or not. Obituaries are commissioned and unsolicited submissions will not be accepted, but suggestions for inclusion are welcomed. Obituaries are usually not longer than 1500 words and may include a photograph of the person to whom tribute is being paid.

Book Reviews

Book Reviews are reviews of books that are usually of a scientific and scholarly nature and whose subject matter meets the requirements of the journal – i.e. books that are written in a language and style that would make them comprehensible (and of interest) to readers from a range of scientific disciplines. Book Reviews generally are commissioned but unsolicited submissions are considered, as are suggestions of books for review. Book Reviews are normally not longer than 1000 words but exceptions are occasionally considered if the nature of the book warrants greater detail.

Book reviewers should please include a title of their review and the following book information: title of book; book cover illustration, author(s)/editor(s); publisher; city of publication; year of publication; ISBN number; price.


Commentaries come in a variety of forms, but they are most often views regarding scientific challenges or opportunities that have arisen out of research experiences. Commentaries can, however, also present the summarised results of research projects, or comments on such research findings, that have direct policy implications and/or immediate social value. Commentaries of a similar or related nature may also be considered; please consult previous issues for examples. Commentaries should be between 2000 and 3000 words, do not include an abstract, and should contain no more than 5 figures/tables and no more than 20 references.