Editorial Guidelines

History & Policy has two main online publication strands:

  • Policy papers

Policy papers are substantial pieces which can have enduring impact. They are searchable by topic, author and title. They are actively promoted and publicised by History & Policy when they appear and we often have cause to publicise papers again even years later when the topic recurs in public discourse. They can be downloaded as eBooks and many of them are now cited elsewhere on the web, including in many wikipedia articles and other sources.

  • Opinion articles

The format of opinion pieces allows historians to bring their expertise to bear quickly on current topics. They are searchable by topic, author and title and are actively promoted and publicised by History & Policy. They tend naturally to be less enduring than the policy papers. 

We accept proposals for new contributions in these categories at any time from historians of all periods and themes, based in the UK or abroad. We also approach historians directly for contributions. We are not prescriptive about what themes are addressed: we only ask for clear policy relevance and high-quality history.

You do not necessarily have to be based in a higher education institution or to have completed a PhD in order to contribute to H&P, but we would look for a track record in peer-reviewed or published historical research. We also occasionally accept submissions based on successfully examined postgraduate dissertations.

Once a draft opinion article or policy paper is accepted, our Editorial Committee and public affairs manager work closely with contributors to ensure that they are of the highest quality and achieve the appropriate impact. They are published on our website and publicized through social media on the same day. All pieces carry a short author’s bio at the bottom, so please supply this at the same time as the final draft – a few sentences including your email address is sufficient.

Please also consider putting the Communications and Events Manager in touch with your university's press team ahead of publication, as they may be able to help us promote your paper. 

Policy papers

If you would like to submit a policy paper, please contact our Editorial Director, Simon Szreter, to discuss your ideas in the first instance:  srss@cam.ac.uk.

Please look carefully at the style and format of current History & Policy papers when preparing your own piece for consideration. Our papers tend to share these key characteristics:

  • Open with an executive summary in bullet points, summarising the argument and its policy implications.
  • Accessible, in a style appropriate for a non-academic audience.
  • Between 2,000-4,000 words long and written in several sections, with clear sub-headings and short paragraphs.
  • Do not include unexplained technical terms or concepts
  • No footnotes.
  • Quantitative information should be displayed in graphical, not tabular form. Any graphs must not be embedded in a word document but sent separately as jpegs.
  • There should also be a short list of further reading at the end.

Crucially, policy papers must be historically grounded, with clear policy relevance. They are intended to be a resource for policy makers and to inform debate about current policy. There are two main ways of achieving this. Policy papers can emphasise constructive policy proposals or recommendations for government, civil society or other policy makers. Alternatively, they can focus on 'lessons from history': these may be challenging for policy makers, but should not be defeatist in their implications. Papers which aim to achieve both are welcome: but they must include at least one.

All contributors of policy papers should carefully read the information sheet, Publishing policy papers: H&P editorial process.

Preparing a paper for publication normally takes at least six to eight weeks. We aim to publish papers to coincide with current and emerging policy issues, so please give us as much notice as possible of your intention to submit a draft. Our editorial team is always happy to advise on early drafts and work with historians to make their contributions suitable for publication.

Opinion articles

History & Policy's opinion pieces are intended to be short and clearly written. They take historians' academic expertise and use it to shed light on today's news agenda. It is helpful to read recent press coverage of the issue you are tackling in your piece to make sure your angle is original.

Features of our opinion pieces:

  • 700-900 words in short, clear paragraphs.
  • Accessibly written. You should use a clear style, wasting no words. It is also important to get to the point in the first sentence and hook your argument firmly into the current news story. The last paragraph should reinforce your point and the relevance of the history.
  • If you need to refer to an author, do so briefly in the text e.g. 'As historian David Smith has argued'...
  • You can use hyperlinks to relevant, authoritative sources, but sparingly.
  • No further reading list or footnotes.

These pieces are your chance to give your opinions, based on your historical expertise. You should focus on the current issue - showing how history supports your argument. Feel free to deploy brief historical examples and quotations where appropriate.

If you have an idea for an article and would like to discuss it, or to submit a draft, please contact the Communications and Events Manager: historyandpolicy@kcl.ac.uk


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About Us

H&P is an expanding Partnership based at King's College London and the University of Cambridge, and additionally supported by the University of Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, the Open University, and the University of Sheffield.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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