We encourage submissions of posts between 500 and 1,200 words long and be communicated in an accessible way which encourages public understanding of mathematics.
Please email your submission and a short bio of yourself, including any Twitter handles or personal websites, to the Mathematics Blog Managing Editor, Sarah Massey, on firstname.lastname@example.org. All contributions that are submitted will be acknowledged by the Managing Editor as soon as possible. Occasionally, an article may not fit our remit; in that case we will advise authors on how best to rewrite articles so that we are able to publish them.
All work published on this blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, unless otherwise requested by an author.
To help authors with the submission process, we’ve compiled a list of some of the main style issues to keep in mind when drafting an article for the Mathematics Blog.
Length and format
- In order to increase readability and accessibility, we aim for our articles to be between 750 and 1,250 words.
- We are also happy to post longer essays of over 2,000 words if appropriate for the topic. If you are interested, please discuss this with the blog team.
- Please send us your draft article in Word format, with your name at the top.
Audience, writing style and language
- Our main aim is to increase the public understanding of Mathematics as a whole and to highlight the work our Department does. With this in mind, your article should be written with a relatively wide audience in mind, including non-academics.
- Our most widely read blog articles are written in a more natural style, so we recommend that you avoid overusing acronyms, academic terms or specific terminology that may not be well known outside disciplinary circles. Also avoid introductory phrases like “In this paper I will…”, or “This paper aims to…”, and go straight into your discussion of the topic.
- Use short paragraphs made up of four or five sentences.
- As with journalistic pieces ‘lead with the best.’ Don’t save your main argument or analysis for the end of the post.
- Write your article as a standalone piece, even if it summarises material in a longer paper or journal article. Try to present all of your argument and evidence within the text and avoid relying too heavily on information contained in external sources. Remember that many journal articles are behind a paywall and not all readers will have access to them.
- We use links rather than citations for references. Links should direct readers to more detailed reports or other pieces of research, news items or other blog posts. Open access sources are preferable compared to those behind paywalls.
- Please insert a hyperlink at the relevant point of your argument that you’d like to reference (using ctrl-K in Word) or simply place the URL in parentheses where you would like it to be placed and we will link it ourselves.
- Please try to avoid using footnotes wherever possible and integrate material directly into the text.
- We use narrative titles, i.e a single sentence that sums up the main argument of the article. The more descriptive and catchy the title, the more likely the article is to be read.
- Try and keep titles to twenty words or less, if possible.
Graphs and Charts
- We encourage the use of charts and figures. Graphs and charts are preferable to tables, as they are easier for readers to interpret quickly. In all cases, please send us the raw data of your chart, table, or figure in Excel format.
- Each chart needs a clearly labelled heading, labels for the X and Y axes or histogram bars, including units of measurement and a readable scale or background grid.
- There should be a clear legend distinguishing multiple data series from each other and a brief note on sources. Lines must be thick enough and distinctively coloured. Charts should use a numerical progression to make comparisons more visible.
- Images which are a major component of the article will be published full size and should, therefore, be 670 pixels wide. Smaller, ancillary images should be roughly 220 pixels wide.
- Adding relevant images to a post helps to break up the content and appeals to visual thinkers. It is also a good way of demonstrating your meaning without ambiguity.
- We must be careful to avoid violating copyright by obtaining express permission from the copyright holder or using pictures which are available from public domain sites or the creative commons. We recommend undertaking a creative commons image search – search Google Images, Flickr and Wikimedia for creative commons images (copyright free, generally need attribution).
- Images which are a major component of the article will be published full size and should, therefore, be 670 pixels wide. Smaller, ancillary images should be 220 pixels wide.
Biography and contributor photo
- We’re proud of our contributors, so we like to give them full attribution. Please send us a three to four line biographical note.
- Please also send us a small colour photo headshot (220 pixels wide).
BPP house style
- Minimise use of bold, underlining, and italics for emphasis.
- We use British spelling – e.g. “organisation” instead of “organization”.
Our editing process
- In most cases submitted articles will be reviewed speedily by the Blog Team, who will edit the piece to enhance readability to the blog’s wider audience. Once these edits are complete, we will send you the final version of the article, and give you an opportunity to make final edits.