Guidance for Contributors

Have you ever thought of writing for the Webmag, but been worried about our expectations? Here are six questions, and our answers.What sort of articles does the Webmag want?

The Webmag’s readership is mainly made up of people who work with children and young people, and the people who manage, train and inspect them. There are also people from other professions and quite a lot of parents and grandparents.

So we want articles concerning children and young people which will be of interest to our readers. They can be academic and serious, or light-hearted, or argumentative ‘soapbox’ pieces. They can be general, aimed at all readers, or specialist, designed for people who work in a specific setting, for example. They can be just text, or include pictures. They can be poems or stories. They can be works of reference.

How long should articles be?

Articles can be literally any length because of the electronic format. We have printed some which are virtually theses and others which are just a few lines. Contributors need to think what will attract and hold readers best.

Usually, articles end up being two or three pages – a thousand words or less – but the best test is that contributors should write while they feel they have something important to communicate, and stop when they haven’t.

Do you publish material that has already been published elsewhere?

Yes. We are happy to reprint and acknowledge the source. Our view is that our readership will probably be different from the original readership, and so it’s worth spreading the ideas in the articles further.

We are equally happy for people to reprint our material, as long as it is acknowledged.

If authors are not good at writing, – if English is not their first language, for example – do you reject material?

We check all material for spelling, grammar and so on. Where a piece needs its English polishing, we will edit it. We will also adjust language where it does not suit the purpose of the piece – whether it is chatty or academic, for example. There are very rare occasions when we simply can’t understand what an author is getting at, in which case we delete to simplify, but we usually edit with the intention of helping contributors get their messages over.

We publish in both American and British English, as long as it is consistent within the article. We have also occasionally published in other languages, but if so a summary in English is helpful, and if it is a language we do not know personally, we need to be reassured by a professional whom we trust that the content is acceptable.

We also edit to suit material to the web, for example by using short paragraphs and subheadings.

Is there anything you refuse to publish?

We avoid things that will get us into legal trouble, such as libellous or indecent material, but we do not mind contention. Our editorial position is that we do not adhere to any particular religion or political position, but we are happy to publish material provided by contributors who do take specific religious or political positions.

We would not want to publish material which is at odds with the Webmag’s professional values – unless it was intended as a serious debate about those values. But we’re certainly happy to have debates; that’s how we come to understand each other better and improve standards of service for children.

Do contributions have to be in a special format?

We can deal with material in a lot of formats, but it makes life a lot easier for us if you make it simple, without any fancy lay-out, as the process of putting the material on the web often takes out special formats anyway. Keep it to 12-point Arial unjustified, with no fancy bits, please.

In particular, for academics, it is best if references are in the text, but if they have to be separate, please put them at the end in the same font etc. as the article.

Remember that readers only have in front of them the piece of text they are reading, unlike a magazine, where they will see a full double-spread. Submitting overheads from a talk may not convey the intended message, as overhead slides tend to be lists of bullet points and do not convey the thread of the argument which accompanied them as a talk.

If you have queries, send us an email.

David C. Lane


2 thoughts on “Guidance for Contributors”

  1. I have an article I would like to submit, titled “More than survival: Towards a youth social ecology. From your web page I’m not certain how to submit the ariticle. Do you receive articles in pdf format? Thank you

    Dennie Briggs


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