Author guidelines

R2A is a community of people working in development research and research communications. Write in a style that you are most comfortable with, but we do encourage contributors to use a conversational tone and let their personality shine through! Even if you are writing on behalf of your organisation there’s no need to sacrifice professionalism to produce an engaging – or challenging – blog post. If English is not your first language don’t worry – we’ll edit your contribution and check any changes with you before posting. You can choose a traditional blog post, or if you are describing something that you’ve done or learned we can post under our ‘Uptake Anecdotes’ series.

  1. Tell us if your post is linked to a launch or event – it’s no help to you if we add it to the site too late!
  2. Choose a good headline – you want to catch the reader’s eye and encourage them to click, but being clear about your content rather than gimmicky is the best way to do that. Try not to make it longer than 50 characters including spaces, and definitely not longer than 70.
  3. Speak directly to R2A readers, as if you are having a conversation – even if your research is deadly serious.
  4. Let readers know straight away what you are going to talk about. ‘I learned something new about targeting policymakers and this is how I did it.’; I found this great network of medical journalists in West Africa.’; ‘I learned how to commission a photographer.’
  5. If you want to share a larger report, explain who will find the report useful, and summarise the key points, as well as linking to it.
  6. Don’t be afraid to keep it short. There are no extra points for long posts. We try not to go over 800 words, but if you’ve made your point in 100 words, just leave it there.
  7. Convey your enthusiasm. If you’ve discovered or learned something that really excites you, tell us!
  8. Illustrations I: We don’t use photos inside the blog unless they are illustrating something very specific in the post, and would only use a graphic if you supply it. Please make sure any illustration or photo has a credit and that you have permission to use it, or it is a copyright-free or Creative Commons stock photo.
  9. Illustrations II: We use a photo or graphic as part of the title block for blogs. It’s great if you supply one that is relevant for your blog, otherwise it will be a generic one. Blog cover illustrations are ideally 550 px x 315 px jpegs, and again you must have permission to use it and provide a credit. You can use your organisation’s logo if you’d like (same specs, or an SVG), but your logo on top of a great photo would look better.
  10. Tell us who you are, what you do, and where you do it. This might be your professional affiliation, or it might describe what you really do! ‘Mario Rodrigo is communications officer for the DFID-funded Halt Malaria project in Bolivia’ is fine, but ‘Jane Dengu is a doctor in Zambia who is passionate about using social media’ is just fine too.
  11. We’ll set up a Contributor profile for you, so let us also have a short bio and a photo (jpeg no larger than 512px by 512px). You can use your official mugshot, but an informal candid pic is fine too! We don’t publish your email address, so if you would like that to be public include it in your bio. You can also include a link in your bio to your staff page, for example, and to your social media account(s).