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FAQ: Writing for the Conversation

FAQ: Writing for the Conversation

Q: When should I consider writing for The Conversation?

  • Current Events/News: You believe you could inform the greater conversation around current events or news with your insight and scholarship.
  • New Research/Exhibit: Your academic paper is accepted to be published. If so, contact your college communicator a month in advance of publication.
  • Expert Request: You receive an “Expert Request” from a staff member of the Office of Communications and Marketing soliciting your expertise.

Q: Why should I write for The Conversation?

  • Learning from the Experts: By writing with The Conversation, you will learn how to make your research accessible to the public from decorated journalists and editors.
  • Creative Commons Republication: Your article will be published on The Conversation website, but will also be made available to republish under a Creative Commons License to 1,000+ unique digital republishers, such as Smithsonian Magazine, The Washington Post, Scientific American and many others. For more information, read the The Conversation’s Republishing Guidelines.
  • Full Control: Unlike being quoted in an article or featured on the news, You are writing the article. You cannot be misquoted or have your words taken out of context. Re-publishers must take your entire article, word for word. The article is not published until it has been edited by 3-4 editors and meets with your final approval.
  • Opportunity to Inform: Writing for The Conversation is an opportunity to educate the public about important research, and add insight into current events.
  • Grant Outreach:  If you are conducting research supported by a grant or award that requires demonstrable outreach, publishing for The Conversation is an opportunity to fulfill that requirement.
  • Reputation: Scholars who write for The Conversation are often tapped for expertise by The Conversation editors or republishers on future news stories.
  • Find Collaborators: Sharing your research with such a wide audience is an opportunity for your work to be seen by scholars who share interests and may wish to collaborate. According to The Conversation’s 2021 Author’s Survey, 41% of authors reported being contacted for an academic collaboration after writing with the venue.
  • Dashboard: Every author for The Conversation has their own dashboard of analytics to provide metrics about the published piece(s). For example, you will learn how many times your article was read, in what countries, what publishers republished it, and more.

Q: Who can write for The Conversation?

Boise State faculty members and researchers. The author must have a PhD, or significant expertise in the subject matter area. Doctoral candidates are also eligible if they are writing on the topic of their dissertation (as a sole author) or they can write more broadly within their field of expertise if they co-author the piece with a faculty advisor. Master’s students can also write about their research if they co-author the piece with a faculty advisor.

Q: Describe the process from pitch to publication

Step 1: The scholar drafts a pitch to The Conversation with help from a college communicator or, and submits it using this platform. If the pitch is accepted, the scholar will be paired with the appropriate desk editor at The Conversation. The editor commissions a story with specific instructions.

Step 2: The scholar writes the article and the editor coaches them on writing for the public. They go through a rigorous editorial process of revision to make sure the ideas are clearly expressed. The scholar gives final approval that the article accurately reflects their research.

Step 3: The article is published on The, gets featured in The Conversation’s newsletter and social media, goes out on the AP wire, and is highlighted in alerts to republishers.

Step 4: The Conversation publishes stories through a Creative Commons license that allows any outlet to republish them with proper attribution.

Q: Who can help me write a pitch?

Your college communicators, and the Research Promotions Specialist in the Office of Communications and Marketing are all able to help.

Q: After submitting a pitch, what should I expect?

Within a week to 10 days you will receive an email from The Conversation to either accept or reject your current pitch. If your pitch is accepted, an editor from The Conversation will be in touch to help frame the story and decide on a timeline for the article. If your pitch is rejected, you will receive feedback from The Conversation as to why the pitch was rejected to help with your future pitches.

Q: How long will the finished article be?

Typically, published articles will be 800-1000 words long.

Q: What is the acceptance rate for articles?

According to The Conversation, “On average, we accept about 30% of pitches we receive. It’s important to keep in mind we only publish 7-10 stories a day, Monday through Friday; or 35-50 articles. The Conversation receives 150 pitches a week.”

Q: Can I coauthor an article with peers?

Absolutely! Many researchers coauthor articles with peers at Boise State, or at other universities. Additionally, doctoral candidates may coauthor articles with their faculty mentor.

Q: What do authors have to say about writing for The Conversation?

According to The Conversation’s 2021 author’s survey, “92% said they would recommend to colleagues that they write with us. In addition, 95% said the edits were helpful and 93% had a positive experience.”