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 want articles that are grounded in Southeast Asia expertise, offer fresh observations, and ask interesting questions. To give your contribution the best chance of being published follow the guidelines below.

Submission guidelines

All articles should be sent to the editor ([email protected]) 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 licensed (or similar open licensing). Send photos as a separate attachment. A picture speaks a thousand words, so our preference is for visually engaging photography or illustrations.

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
  • Translations
  • Insider scoops/tips
  • And anything else you think New Mandala readers might appreciate.

Length and tone

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. 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.

Your text should jump straight into the specific issue at hand and your questions/arguments/ideas. Our readers visit New Mandala because they are interested in Southeast Asian topics, so don’t load up the article with unnecessary background information.  If you need to refer to other events, commentary or literature, link to previous commentary on New Mandala (or elsewhere) and get straight to your point[s].

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. We prefer articles that don’t sit on the fence. 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.  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. 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 use 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. It’s important that the URLs do not link to automatic downloads (like PDFs or other files), as this disrupts readers who are using mobile data or limited bandwidth. Please don’t use footnotes or endnotes;  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 three 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 give preference to submissions that are closest to the guidelines above, and which engage with the subject from an original and interesting perspective.

Any questions? Email the editor at [email protected].