HEIR Network

Higher Education Institutional Research Network

Opinion pieces

Writing for the HEIR Network

How to write for the HEIR Network


As well as our well-established annual conference (now running for fouteen years) the HEIR Network also supports the professional development and profile of institutional researchers and those working on institutional through our various publications. We focus on providing content that will stimulate discussion and debate amongst the readership and which will raise the profile of institutional research in the UK and Ireland (and beyond).

The vitality of the HEIR Network depends on the support from our Network members and friends. Therefore, we actively welcome written contributions that will encourage visits to our website and engage subscribers to our social media channels: LinkedIn; Twitter; and Facebook.

We are particularly interested in evidence-based opinions or perspectives on both established and emerging issues relevant to IR. The themes and tracks from our conferences will provide you with a flavour of the types of topics that we cover.

You don’t have to be an institutional researcher nor do you need come from the UK and Ireland to write for us. However, we do seek original content, or a specific IR angle on published research, rather than simple summaries of material available elsewhere.

What do we publish?

We’re currently refining our different publication formats, but we will have three main types of (online) publications from which you can choose, depending on the angle that you’d like to take, and what you’d like to say:

1. Opinion piece series (usually around 1,000 words, 1,500 words max.) – focused on stimulating debate based on authors’ evidence-based opinions on a particular IR topic or wider IR-related higher education issues

2. Research summaries series (again from 1,000 to 1,500 words) – summaries of papers, keynotes, and workshops presented at the annual HEIR conferences

3. LinkedIn articles (usually around 600-800 words, 1,000 max) – shorter versions of the publications above, but only produced online (more like a blog format)

Our longer-form material is produced in numbered series’ using a standard template. PDFs are available free to download on the HEIR web site.

We encourage discussion and debate about all of our publications, so we actively publicise all of our material via LinkedIn; Twitter; and Facebook, and also in our monthly HEIR Network email newsletters.

We link our publications to related files on the HEIR website (e.g. HEIR conference PowerPoint presentations, audio-recordings), and other relevant web content.

Reviewing and timescales

If you have an idea that you think might be suitable for one of our publications, then please get in contact with us. A summary of a paragraph or so is helpful at the idea stage. Your summary should cover the focus and main points of your article, and also why you think it might be relevant for our HEIR Network members and friends. We aim to discuss all ideas for publications with authors within a week or so of submission.

Two members of the HEIR Planning Group review each draft submission. This process should take a few weeks at most, but we will discuss expected timescales with your when you first get in contact with us. Once we have reviewed your article, we will then respond to you with any relevant comments, suggestions and requests for additional information or clarification.

We are a kindly bunch of reviewers, and we focus on working with authors constructively to help you to publish your work. We are therefore unlikely to reject your submission unless we think that it won’t be relevant to our readers.

Technical stuff….

All HEIR publications are in English. We have an international readership, so please use simple language avoid the use of acronyms (without spelling these out), and jargon that might not be widely understood. Please include hyperlinks where you feel that they are helpful and necessary. We are also happy to accept a reasonable number of footnotes (up to 10) for our longer-form articles.

However, don’t worry too much about these details as we do a ‘light-touch edit’ on all our content to ensure that it fits with our house style regarding tone, grammar and complexity of language. We also ask all authors to review the edited text to ensure that they are happy with it before we publish. The publication process typically has a quick turnaround of around a couple of weeks, although this depends on how much editing is required.

For our longer-form pieces, include author bios of a few sentences plus contact details (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn Email). For our LinkedIn articles, we just need your name, your affiliation and your contact details.

How to contact us

You can send your idea for a publication (or a draft text) to our general email address: contact@heirnetwork.org.uk

If you contact us via this address, one of the HEIR Planning Group will get back to discuss the next steps. Otherwise please contact Steve Woodfield (who is responsible for our publications) to discuss your proposed contribution, and also to get answers to specific queries.