Writing for Renewal
Renewal welcomes contributions and ideas for new articles and essays, or 'feedback' pieces on existing published articles. We also welcome suggestions for articles and potential authors.
Guidelines for contributors
As a general rule it is advisable to submit an abstract or outline to the editors (by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org) in the first instance. This will be discussed and where appropriate sent to external referees for comment, in order to inform editorial feedback and guidance aimed at maximising the potential of the article.
Style and structure
Renewal is read by academics and students, policymakers and political strategists, journalists and broadcasters, politicians and campaigners, social practitioners and active citizens. All members of this audience should be borne in mind when writing for the journal.
The ideal Renewal article is rigorous and original enough to be published in a peer-reviewed academic journal, and readable and interesting enough to appear in a political weekly or newspaper op-ed section. This means that everything published in Renewal should be clear and accessible, accurate and informative, fresh and thought-provoking, abreast of the latest published research and political developments – and a pleasure to read.
Of course writing styles will and should differ, and each contributor will have their own distinctive voice. But all are urged to avoid clichés, repetitious phrasing, excessively complex or over-long sentences, and unnecessary technical jargon. Sexist terminology should be avoided (e.g. male nouns and pronouns when referring to people of both sexes.)
Articles should aim for a transparent and logical structure and err on the side of clarity by signposting and summarising their argument and key messages at the beginning and the end. We usually recommend that, unless very short, articles be broken up into sections, marked by sub-titles, which can be further broken up into sub-parts which can be marked by sub-sub-titles.
Please use UK English spelling, including –ise/-ising/-isation rather than –ize/-izing/-ization, and double-check all non-English words.
The most common length for a Renewal article is around 4,000 words, with shorter interventions and commentaries at 2,000 to 3,000 words and more scholarly essays with a significant element of new research at 5,000 to 6,000. Exceptions to these general guidelines should be discussed with the editors.
Book reviews should aim for 1,000 words and not exceed 1,500, unless more than one book is being reviewed in which case a longer wordlength may be negotiated with the editors.
Blog pieces are usually around 800 words, though there's some flexibility.
Electronic copy should be supplied wherever possible by e-mail Word format to email@example.com.
On separate sheets, please provide a brief biographical note, and contact details that will enable editors to reach you if we need to discuss last minute production issues.
Date of publication
Please be aware that as Renewal is a quarterly journal that aims to respond to topical issues the editors need to retain a degree of flexibility when it comes to allocating less time-sensitive pieces to issues. However it is rare for a piece to be published more than six months after submission of final copy and editors undertake to keep contributors informed of publication plans.
NB. In all matters of house style the best guide is to look at previous issues of the journal and seek to apply the same rule to relevant cases. If in doubt consult with the editors.
Renewal uses endnotes for references to pieces being cited or quoted from. Endnotes should in general be used sparingly. At the end of articles, there can also be a further reading list.
In the endnotes, the recommended style is:
P.Mason, Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere, Verso, London 2011.
Articles in journals
K.Spours and P. Diamond, ‘The Osborne Supremacy’, Renewal, 24:1,2016.
Please ensure you provide comprehensive and accurate bibliographical information.
Layout, punctuation etc
- All articles should be in Arial font, 11 point, single-spaced, and left-justified.
- New paragraphs should be indented except at the beginning of a new section.
- Single space at the end of each sentence after the full stop. Double spaces should not be used anywhere.
- Quotations of up to two lines in length should be included in the main text, enclosed within ‘single quotation marks’. The quotation mark comes before any following punctuation, unless a complete sentence has been quoted.
- Quotations over this length should be given a separate paragraph. This paragraph should be indented. The paragraph should be separated from the main text by a one-line space above and below the quotation. The indented paragraph should not be in quotation marks. Quotations within the quotation should be in ‘single quotes’.
- If any part of a quotation is italicised it should be indicated after the reference whether this is in the original – eg (Marquand, 2004, 47, emphasis added) or (Marquand, 2004, 47, emphasis in original). When words are omitted, there is a space, three dots, followed by a space.
- Subheadings should be in bold, lower case. Sub-sub headings should be in italics. Numbering of subtitles and sections is discouraged but not prohibited.
- Tables, figures etc should be provided on separate sheets, with an indication of where it should appear in the text.
- Dates as follows: 6 September 1972. ‘Nineteenth century’ (or ‘nineteenth-century’ when used as an adjective). Please avoid ‘19th century’. Do not use apostrophes when referring to decades: so ‘1930s’ , and not ‘1930’s’.
- Numbers from one to nine (and first to ninth) spelt out, from 10 to 999,999 in figures if there is heavy use of figures in the text. Otherwise spell out. Then 1 million, 2.7 million, etc.
- Where ordinals are used we do not use superscript – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 27th – not 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 27th
- Percentages use figures and (two words) per cent, e.g. 8 per cent. When a large number of percentages are being used, it is permissible to use the % sign.
- When an abbreviated word (such as ‘etc’) comes at the end of a sentence, there is only one full stop.
- When dashes are used as semi-parentheses, then it is text/space/n-dash/space/text. Hyphens only for hyphenated words.
- N–dashes used also for dates when they mean ‘from x date to y date’, the same rules as for page numbers (i.e., as it is said). When used in this way, they are closed up. Eg 1997–8.
- Capital letters should generally be avoided with nouns unless they are derived from proper names or refer to titles. Acronyms should be capitalised but should not be separated by dots (unless they appear so in a citation), for example: NATO, USA, CPGB. Unless you are positive they will be immediately understandable to any reader they should first appear in brackets after the complete word – for example: ‘European Union (EU)’.
- Please avoid abbreviations of the type e.g., i.e., etc., when possible and choose rather constructions of the type ‘for example’, ‘for instance’, ‘that is’, ‘namely’, ‘in other words’, ‘and so on’, ‘and so forth’. Full points after abbreviations: e.g., ed., pp., cms. and after contractions: yds., edn. except the following: Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, Dr and St.
Within a review, page references for the book or books being reviewed should not be in footnotes, but should be in brackets within the main body of the text after any quotations. The full publication details should be listed at the beginning of the review, with the format title/author/place: publisher, year. Endnotes and references to other works are discouraged but not prohibited.
Some common issues:
- If in doubt hyphenate. Eg neo-liberal and neo-liberalism, not ‘neoliberal’ or ‘neoliberalism’.
- When we talk in political terms about the left or the right we do not capitalise ‘Left’ or ‘Right’.
- If organisations have preferences for the case in which their names appear, we usually respect that – for example we print ippr not IPPR, and UNISON not Unison.
We are constantly aiming to improve these guidelines so please let us know if anything is unclear.