Information on how to create articles that adhere to our style and standards.

A commentary needs to summarise and highlight a current policy issue or present a point of view on an issue. As well as written articles, we can also publish videos or audio recordings.

Length

The ideal length for an written article is 800 to 1,200 words.

To help keep the word count down, if supporting or background information has already been published elsewhere, link to it rather than repeat it all in your piece. Think about whether it is possible, or indeed desirable, to present some of the content as a graphic.

A video or audio recording should be no longer than 15 minutes.

Language  

Use clear and direct language so you can present information and opinions in a straightforward way. 

Remember that the audience may be diverse; it will include academics and non-academic readers, including the general public. They may not be familiar with the exact field in which you work so try to avoid jargon, specialist terminology and acronyms.  

Style

Do start with the main point you are trying to make; this is journalistic writing where the first sentence ‘tells the story’ and the supporting information follows afterwards. A good way to get started with this is to imagine that a person is there in front of you, then say out loud what you want to tell them and write it down.  

Title  

Try to make the title snappy and engaging. Posing a question often works well.

Writing tips

  • Make sentences short – around 20 words.
  • Keep paragraphs short – three or four sentences.   
  • Use the active voice – use ‘I’ and ‘we’ to refer to yourself/co-authors, and address the reader as ‘you’.  
  • Try to split up the text into sections of a few paragraphs, and explain one main point per section.  
  • Use a sub-headings to break it up the text.  

We use British English for spelling; the Style Guide indicates some preferred terms, spellings, acronyms and capitalisation. It also has guidance on formatting text, using web links and creating document files.

Links and references  

Please provide links to websites for key policy areas, people, organisations and examples.

We use links rather for references. Links to public websites and open access journals are preferred but if the article is not available, then please still provide the hyperlink as we can include it with an indication that accessing it may require payment.

Images, graphics and multimedia 

It’s good to have at least one image in a blog post. If you can provide an image that’s will be helpful but we can also discuss the potential options and try to source an appropriate image.

We will need to check the copyright and permissions on images to ensure that they can be used and what attributions are required.

Displaying data in a graph or chart is also welcome. We can discuss the best way to create the graphic from the raw data.  

We can publish video and audio recordings, but will need the sound and image to be good quality. We can discuss the options for producing this kind of content.

Accessibility

We must ensure that any relevant information in images or multimedia is available in another formats, such as alt text for information-carrying images and transcripts and/or captions for videos, so the content is accessible to as many users as possible.

Biography

We will include a byline with your name, position or title and your organisation, a short biography and a link to your online biography/profile and social media feeds. If appropriate, we’ll include organisational logos and links.

Please supply this information with your submission