Writing guidelines


nordics.info exists to gather reliable, interdisciplinary information on the Nordic countries and disseminate it to a global readership. It is part of the Nordic university consortium ReNEW (Reimagining the Nordic Region in an Evolving World), funded by NordForsk, and builds on the experience of danmarkshistorien.dk and www.norgeshistorie.no. It aims to provide information and critical analysis within the humanities and social sciences on many different aspects of the Nordic societies, including history, politics, social policy and culture.

Much of the content is written by researchers connected to the six consortium universities (Copenhagen Business School, Södertörn University, University of Helsinki, University of Iceland, University of Oslo and Aarhus University), but contributions are also made by others. If you have an idea about an article or would like to write for the website, you are welcome to contact us. We welcome contributions from early career scholars including PhD students and advanced level Master’s students. We have collected some guidance and useful tips below. Please read these carefully before submitting content. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at nordicsinfo@cas.au.dk.

Content of this page:

On this page, you will find information about 1) nordics.info's readership; 2) Content of material (what type of material to submit to us, with tips and a check list); 3) Images; 4) Publication process; and, 5) Style guide (in brief).

1) nordics.info's readership

nordics.info is aimed at various users, within and outside the Nordic region, as follows:

  • General interest: journalists, commentators, political advisors, civil servants, think tanks, general public.
  • Education: academics, secondary school students and their teachers; students in further and higher education and their teachers.

Information should be communicated in a way that is accessible and interesting to a broad general readership. Consider that the writing has to be understandable to a broad range of people as we have readers from over 150 different countries. Potential readers might include, for example, an American journalist researching an article on Bernie Sanders’ references to the Nordic model, or someone in Britain enjoying the most recent TV season of Scandinavian crime drama. Consider that users of the website will be based outside the Nordic region, as well as within.

2) Content of material

The content of your submission must first and foremost set out the key facts of your subject objectively. The editorial team reserves the right to reject content that is too long or otherwise unsuitable. In the first instance, there will be four types of article on the website, as set out below.

a) Articles

Articles are intended to provide a comprehensive, concise overview of a particular theme, event or area of interest. It is usually expected that articles should be no longer than 2-3 pages of text (up to about 2000 words). Length will be otherwise agreed with the commissioning editor.

Wherever possible, articles should be written in a way that reflects the subject's importance in a Nordic and a global context. For example, an article on social democracy should ideally include reference to the key parties in all or most of the Nordic region. An article on the financial and banking system should likewise take examples from all or many of the Nordic countries and/or look at trends across the region.

However, local and/or short-lived trends or areas of research are also welcome as these too can be meaningful across borders and be useful to readers. For example, how volunteering has grown at one hospital could be pertinent when looking at the debate regarding the historical dominance of services in the Nordic countries vs local initiative, not to mention public healthcare policies, labour rights and the welfare state generally.

Co-authorship is welcomed, when this often means that more than one country or one academic subject area can be included. Feel free to get in touch as we may be able to help find the right co- author.

Articles should present the main facts clearly and above all accurately. Where appropriate, they may include discussion of different research trends or major points of difference within current research or opinion.

Please note the following:

  • Articles must include a summary of the most important points (approx. 5 lines/60-150 words) summarising the content and presenting the most important facts. Ensure it can be read as a stand-alone text.
  • Please use sub-headings to steer the reader e.g. before every one to two paragraphs.
  • Do not use footnotes, but you are welcome to provide short explanations of words that are culturally specific or difficult to translate into English.
  • New paragraphs should be readable in their own right and should not start with "As set out above," or "This meant..." or similar.
  • Include up to about three suggested references for future reading. It is preferable that the references themselves are in English and Open Access, but other languages are accepted. Research literature is ideal, but it can also be links to other websites. Suggestions for cross-references (or ‘tags’) to other content on nordics.info or primary material as well as images are also welcome (see Checklist).

b) Original material, text, images, sound and film clips

Primary source material can be submitted consisting of images, written texts, or other sources e.g. short sound or film clips e.g. speeches, policy documents, archive films. Inclusion is subject to arranging copyright permission which will ordinarily be undertaken by nordics.info, in collaboration with the author where appropriate. Examples may include pertinent sections of the Home Rule Act 1948 regarding the Faroe Islands e.g. with respect to territorial fishing and protection of fish being designated as Special Faroese Affairs, or a Finnish radio clip reporting how Olaf Palme, prime minister of Sweden, had just been assassinated in 1986.

Guidelines for original material:

  • Sources may be in any language, but please also supply an English translation. Where funds allow we will consider translating important documents into English, but we cannot guarantee to do this.
  • Include a detailed heading in English and in the original language (where appropriate) with the details about the source: author/copyright details; title; date; and where published.
  • Include an introduction of approx. 5-15 lines (between 100 and 300 words), in English, describing the source and its context, to give the reader sufficient information to understand the source, as well as to make it visible in digital search engines. The introduction should include the following information:
    • Information about the source itself;
    • Information about its significance and interest; and,
    • A short description of the context in which it was produced and should be understood.
  • In the case of longer primary texts, it may be appropriate to publish only extracts.
  • In this instance, footnotes may be used to give biographical data and to explain the meaning of particular words (especially in older texts).
  • If relevant, please consider including a scan of the original document.

c) The Quick Read

Users frequently require quick, evidence-based information on a particular Nordic topic. Short, encyclopaedic entries of between 500 and 1000 words may therefore be submitted primarily on the below topics. Submitted entries should preferably include up to 3 suggestions for further reading and up to three suggested cross references to existing or potential content on nordics.info:

  • Biographical entries. Include a heading specifying the name (surname, first name(s)); dates; and, main area of activity (e.g. politician, dancer, writer etc.)
  • Entries on specific named companies, brands, organisations, themes within a subject area, motifs, events, places etc.
  • Entries on particular terms used in Nordic languages which are not necessarily easily to translate without further discussion.

d) Outlooks

The outlooks section gives a voice to readers who have a legitimate response to what they have read on this website or elsewhere on the Nordic region. It is primarily aimed at (1) researchers who wish to contextualise or critically explore an issue from a particular or innovative angle. For example, a researcher from a Nordic country who considers that national or local nuances are hidden by the tendency to focus on regional similarities; and (2) researchers and others whose perspectives are often under-represented or overlooked in research. This section is based on the recognition that exclusively research-based information can sometimes reflect hidden power dynamics and lead to more qualitative perspectives being overlooked. These may be, for example, voices from underrepresented groups or innovative, interdisciplinary angles. With respect to style and form, this section mirrors that of ‘Articles’ above, but allows greater scope for opinion and individual perspective.

e) Tips

  • Write clearly! The subject matter should be comprehensible to a reader who has no prior knowledge of the field topic. Although your submission will be edited by a native English speaker, please write in plain, clear English prose, avoiding technical terms specific to your research field.
  • Be objective! Differing opinions and disagreements must be reflected objectively and the writer's opinion should not be dominant.
  • Write the most important points first - 'frontload' your article! This applies to the submission as a whole and to each paragraph.
  • Make your work visible! Do not use a clever, difficult to understand heading. Do a Google search of your suggested heading and résumé or introduction and think about using terms that people often use in searches (see the words in blue at the bottom of the Google search).

f) Checklist

Please also include the following with your submission to nordicsinfo@cas.au.dk, where appropriate:

  • If the content of your contribution was directly related to a specific grant or project, please give us the full name and website link to it. This is both for transparency and to allow contributors’ research projects greater visibility.
  • Further reading - Remember to include up to about three references. These must be reliable sources and can include books, articles or links to web publications. These should ideally be in English and have a hyperlinked DOI or are Open Access, but where appropriate may be in other languages. See below for how references should be presented.
  • Cross-references (or ‘Tags’) - Please include up to three suggested cross-references to current or future content on nordics.info, where appropriate.
  • Original material - Where relevant, please include suggestions to links to primary source material, either on nordics.info or elsewhere.
  • Images - You are welcome to send us images relevant to your submission.
  • If you have never written for us before, please provide your full name and a short biography, such as: Phd, School for Culture and Society, Aarhus University. Areas of research: cultural communication in a Scandinavian context. [Link to a more detailed website, if applicable]. (See the writers’ page on nordics.info for examples).

3) Images

Where possible we would be very pleased to include images or photographs either as a primary source or to illustrate your article. You may also send us your own photographs, an image you have found for free on the internet or your suggestions for us to investigate (although we regret we have no funds to pay for copyright). We will advise on the technical format if necessary, but the format should preferably be 300 dpi. If you have not already done so separately or in the article itself, you are welcome to write a caption for your image(s) and include a short description of what the image represents (when, where, who, what). Please also include information about who produced/owns the image. Copyright is normally designated as: Photo: The National Museum of Denmark.

4) Publication process

Articles will not be formally peer-reviewed, but will be carefully checked by the editors and may be referred to appropriate experts where necessary. Nordics.info reserves the right to reject unsuitable material or to return it for amendments. The process is as follows:

  1. An agreement is made for the delivery of material, either in response to the initiative of an author, or commissioned by the editor. The editor may provide exact guidelines about contents and length, and a deadline is agreed.
  2. Material is submitted to the editor. The editor undertakes to respond as quickly as possible within reason (response time may vary however), but may if necessary require amendments or corrections to the content or the style. The editor also reserves the right to reduce the number of words if necessary.
  3. Final version submitted to the editor. The editor’s decision on whether to accept the material or not is final.
  4. A version is published on a preview site for the author to check the layout, captions etc. The final article is published once the editor has received confirmation from the author that they agree with the preview. Exceptionally, publication may happen without this confirmation if the author has been given more than four weeks to review it and the editors have failed to receive a response after repeatedly writing to the author. Contributors will be informed when publication takes place.
  5. Updates to the published version may be undertaken on the initiative of either the author or the editor. Amendments to articles will always be checked with the author before publication.
  6. SoMe posts regarding articles will be carried out by the nordics.info team, but not necessarily immediately on publication. Authors are also encouraged to take part in promoting their content by, for example, circulating their article amongst their network and via SoMe, and informing nordics.info of specific people to contact in this regard. This may include other academics, relevant policymakers and interest groups. nordics.info will endeavour to inform authors when something on Facebook and Twitter relating to their article is posted.

5) Style guide (brief)

All material should be written in clear English prose, with an emphasis on clarity, ease of understanding and objectivity. Material must be accessible and comprehensible to an educated (high school level) reader, who lacks previous knowledge of the topic. The exception is primary source material which may be published in the original language (albeit with an English-language introduction). Please also observe the following style guidelines:

  1. Main headings: Main headings should accurately reflect the content of your submission. Whilst this should be as short and sharp as possible, it should also be understandable and optimise visibility on the internet (see Tips above).
  2. Sub-headings: Sub-headings should be used before every one to two paragraphs to allow the reader to scan. They should be descriptive of the contents to follow. Avoid sub-headings which include quotations, word play, metaphors or complex terms.
  3. British-English or American-English usage is acceptable, but please make sure that you are consistent in your spelling.
  4. Avoid using highly technical or specialist terms or explain and contextualise where necessary.
  5. Avoid introducing personal opinions (don’t use ‘I’ or ‘we’).
  6. As far as possible, try to avoid using expressions that will instantly date your article, such as ‘today’, ‘last year’, ‘in recent years’. Write instead: ‘in 2018’, ‘during the 2010s’ etc.
  7. Avoid very long sentences or adding too much information in brackets.
  8. Do not underline text. These are usually links on the internet so can cause confusion.
  9. We strive to provide accuracy and the fullest account of names of organisations and other nouns as well as works of art and literature. However, this will be balanced with not making the text too heavy. Where appropriate, it is acceptable to use the name in the original language the first time it is used and this should be in italics. However, the official translation should be added in brackets afterwards, or, if no official one exists, an unofficial translation. Thereafter, the English translation should be used, e.g. Körfuknattleikssamband Íslands (Icelandic Basketball Federation), or Bedsteforældre for asyl (Grandparents for Asylum). The name in the original language can also be added in italics in brackets after the English translation throughout the article, if appropriate/there is doubt.
  10. Where acronyms are necessary, the format in number 9 should be followed adding the acronym derived from the original language e.g. Landsorganisationen i Sverige ((LO) The Swedish Trade Union Confederation). Thereafter, the acronym or the English name, whichever is most appropriate, should be used. For organisations that are generally accepted as bilingual or multilingual, please use both or all the original languages the first time it is used, indicating both acronyms and the English translation. Thereafter, use either both acronyms with a slash between, the most commonly used acronym or the English translation. We have the option of inserting ‘hover buttons’ if the text gets too heavy.
  11. With respect to works of art or literature, the original title in the original language with the original date should be used e.g. Præsten i Vejlbye (1829). If the work has been translated, this is followed by the official English translation and date of publication (The Pastor of Vejlbye, 1991). If an official translation does not exist, then please add a translation in brackets capitalising only the first word e.g. Præsten i Vejlbye (1829) (The pastor of Vejlbye).
  12. Numbers 1-10 should be written as words (one, ten). Numbers over 10 should be written in numbers (12, 56, 491). Sequences should be compressed (42-3 not 42-43).
  13. Dates should be written thus: 9 February 2018.
  14. Titles of books, newspapers, songs etc should be in italics.
  15. Capitalisation: if in doubt please refer to the Chicago Manual of Style.
  16. All diacritics, including Icelandic ð and þ, should be included.
  17. The first time a person is named, include the full name and the dates when s/he lived, for example, Jo Nesbø (b.1960), or Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002).
  18. Place names should be in English.
  19. In-text citations are not used.
  20. Suggestions for further reading should be presented as follows:
  • a. Books: Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, Scandinavian Crime Fiction (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017).
  • b. Articles: Hans Mouritzen, ‘The Nordic Model as a Foreign Policy Instrument: Its Rise and Fall’, Journal of Peace Research, 32, 1 (1995), pp. 9-21.
  • c. Chapters in books: Bo Stråth, ‘Nordic Modernity: Origins, Trajectories, Perspectives’, in Jóhann Páll Árnason and Björn Wittrock, eds., Nordic Paths to Modernity (New York: Berghahn Books, 2012).
  • d. Websites: Thorsten Borring Olesen, ‘Danmark i EF: 1973-1993’. danmarkshistorien.dk.