New Mandala is an academic blog.
That means we have the accessibility and egalitarian character of a blog, and an academic passion for thinking about what we don’t know already, and how we can find out.
New Mandala encourages debate and discussion, and welcomes original contributions that haven’t been published in other media. We cover politics and society in the region, and everything in between, across a wide range of formats. We want articles that are grounded in Southeast Asia expertise, offer fresh observations, and ask interesting questions.
So have you got something to say about Southeast Asia? Is there something from the region that more people need to know about, and that you can shed light on? Or has the world’s most dynamic region inspired you? To give your contribution the best chance of being published follow the guidelines below.
New Mandala publishes:
- Analysis, opinion, and polemic
- Photo essays
- Field notes and/or anecdotes
- Research findings or summaries of journal articles/papers
- Reports on conferences, seminars, meetings or rallies
- Book reviews and announcements about new publications
- Conference announcements
- Relevant satire/humour
- Insider scoops/tips
- And anything else you think New Mandala readers might appreciate.
Length and format
We have no hard and fast rules about word count. Your article should be as short as you need to make your point(s), or as long as you need to do justice to a topic. You need to exercise judgement about the appropriate length of your piece. Note that our editors may take a while to read and give feedback on longer pieces, so it is in your interest not to be verbose.
Our readers visit New Mandala because they are interested in Southeast Asian topics, so don’t load up the front end of your piece with unneccessary background information. Either assume that people know the basics, or save space and improve your article’s focus by linking to previous commentary on New Mandala (or elsewhere) and get straight to your point[s].
All articles should be sent to the editor (email@example.com) as a Word document, including a short bio note at the end. Please also send us your headshot (at least 500 pixels), and any social media or other website details.
You may send suggested images, but you must have the rights to them or they must be creative commons. Send photos as a separate attachment. A picture speaks a thousand words, so our preference is for visually engaging photography or illustrations.
Show your expertise, make your point
We want your article to be written in an accessible and engaging manner. They should also be based on your expertise and experience, but also convey your personality and opinion.
An engaging commentary piece needs an opinion. But it’s also backed up by expertise. For us expertise means that you have knowledge and experience about what you are writing about. Opinion means we want more than your dispassionate musings. And don’t take a middle path—nothing is duller than a piece that sits on the fence.
Your article also needs to demonstrate personality and inspire discussion and debate. Ask yourself: why do I care about this, and why should anyone else? This means your article must have a point that you make clearly and from the outset.
Audience, writing style and language
New Mandala does academia for the 21st century. This means descending from the ivory tower and engaging with the wider world, not retreating behind a parapet of jargon and waffle. All articles should be written with a non-specialist, public audience in mind, including policy makers, the media, students, and the general public.
Write in a natural style that avoids acronyms and academic terms not widely used outside of specific disciplines. If you can, avoid phrases like ‘In this article I argue…’ Readers can read between the lines; they know what you’re doing.
Ideally, use short paragraphs (three to four sentences in length), and convert numbered lists or bullet points into paragraphs.
Spelling and punctuation
We prefer minimal capitalisation and punctuation (it’s Testing times in Thailand not Testing Times in Thailand; Dr not Dr.; Nicholas S Farrelly, not Nicholas S. Farrelly). Avoid sub-headings where possible and keep bullet points and lists to an absolute minimum (think about how these can be written instead).
New Mandala uses UK English and the Collins Dictionary for spelling and punctuation (available free online). For example: misbehaviour not misbehavior, specialise not specialize. For the sake of consistency, our editors will make changes to any US spelling and/or punctuation in as they prepare your article for posting on the site.
You must as far as possible back up your arguments with evidence, and make this evidence available to readers to make their own judgments. All referencing should be in the form of links rather than citations. Links should point to more detailed information and, if possible, be open access. Avoid using footnotes or endnotes. Please integrate all content into the main body of your article. If it’s in a footnote, ask yourself: how important is this point?
Terms and conditions
By publishing with New Mandala you agree to our key terms and conditions. That means we may share your article with our regional media partners, and you agree to work with our editorial team to shape your piece for publication. Your article won’t just be proofread, but edited for style and readability.
Responding to submissions
New Mandala is run by a small team (who have lots of other academic tasks) and receives many submissions. We will endeavour to get back to you regarding your submission within two working days (unless otherwise stated). Please make it clear to our editors if your submission is related to a breaking news story so we can try to deal with it as a priority.
If we don’t want to use your piece…
…don’t take it personally. We can’t edit and post every submission we receive, and our editors have to give preference to submissions that we think can really provide our readers with something fresh and interesting.
Any questions? Email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.