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Column and Discussion Guidelines

Guidelines for invited short-form content
Published onJan 26, 2021
Column and Discussion Guidelines

Columns and Discussion content is by invitation only. This content follows the general guidelines of the full manuscript, with the following distinctions.1


HDSR features several regular columns for targeted audiences (e.g., leaders in governments and industries) as well as for a general audience. The following are guidelines for writing a successful column article in HDSR.

  • Column articles are short, generally between 1500-2500 words (excluding references), corresponding roughly to 3-5 single-spaced pages.  Figures and tables should be used sparingly, but if necessary additional illustrations and materials can be provided through hyperlinks to other online sources.  Articles should be submitted as Word files.

  • Technical detail should be avoided, though in rare cases where such detail is unavoidable it is important to provide enough detail to appreciate the details without belaboring the issue or creating a distraction.

  • A column article is intended to be mainly an engaging and succinct review of a topic or a demonstration of instructional materials (for educationally-oriented columns), not a presentation of original research or a case study.  An ideal column article would explain the relevance (current or historical) of data science to a particular substantive area, or the application of data science to a substantive topic, as well as how to address specific questions or conduct education training in the realm of data science. Articles that discuss review different points of view or different ways of thinking about a data science topic may also be a good fit to an HDSR column. 

  • Despite being reviews and demonstrations, column articles should attempt to have a specific focus rather than cover too broad an area.  For example, a column article that describes all the major applications of data science to baseball would be too broad (such an overview article would be more suited for the Panorama section of HDSR), but a column that describes the development of data science methods to improve fielding in baseball using ball tracking data would be a far better fit to HDSR.

  • Although the intended audience for column articles is an educated but non-technical readership, HDSR column articles are scholarly pieces and should be written with a level of depth, insight, and thoroughness expected of a typical peer-reviewed article.  It is important to provide sufficient context for the material with appropriate citations to supporting work.  That is, column articles need to be engaging but not overly simplifying, and they are not meant to be opinion pieces or perspective articles (which, again, are more suited for the Panorama Section).

  • All column articles should be ready three months in advance of their scheduled release.  HDSR currently publishes quarterly.  Therefore, a column article scheduled for the July issue, for example, should be in its final form (other than copyediting) by the beginning of April. 

  • Column articles will be circulated for peer review prior to publication with an expectation of likely revisions.  Submitting a column article to HDSR, whether solicited or not, does not guarantee its publication.

  • Authors should be aware of several logistical issues that are specific to column articles:

    • Column articles should have titles and 5-6 key words, but not abstracts.  Instead, column editors will supply a short preface (“column editor’s note”) to the article.

    • Sectioning column articles is encouraged.  Section headers should be unnumbered, except for the column “Bits and Bites.”


Discussion articles and discussants are selected by the editors. Authors do not submit articles to be part of discussions. However, editors may choose author-submitted articles for discussions, in which case the editors will contact the authors directly, and will invite discussants. The authors will be provided with an opportunity to prepare a rejoinder.

Discussion articles follow the guidelines for full papers.

Discussion commentaries and original author rejoinders should follow the following points:

  • Use a unique title (instead of “Commentary on ‘Article Title’”)

  • Do not include an abstract or keywords

  • Do not number headings

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