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Submissions to Politik Insights are accepted on a rolling basis, all year round.

Submission Guidelines

General Guidelines for Submissions

Submissions must be

  • within the word count:

    • Insights (online blog) - between 600-800 words (excluding references);

    • Issues (published online) - between 1000-1400 words (excluding references);

  • written in an academic style;

  • correctly referenced as per the Politik Submissions Style and Citation Guide with Harvard in-text referencing and a reference list in alphabetical order;

  • structured with a title, introduction, body and conclusion;

  • contain subheadings;

  • in Microsoft Word format ONLY;

  • 12 point Times New Roman font; 

  • Include at least one suitable image within the article - fully referenced


For style or citation issues not covered by this guide, please contact the Editorial Team at

Citation Guide

Politik uses the Harvard referencing system. Please find a guide to Harvard referencing on the UNSW website here.


Style Guide


  • Put day before the month (26 April 2015). If you also need to write the day of the week, use a comma: ‘Sunday, 26 April 2015’.

  • Capitalise the names of months. 

  • Years are the exception to the rule that numerals should not begin a sentence; i.e. 2009 was a successful year. 

  • Decades should be written as 1920s, 1990s, 2000s – there should be no apostrophe before the ‘s’.

  • For official/proper names, follow the organisation’s spelling; i.e. 7-Eleven, 20th Century Fox.


  • Numbers from zero up to and including nine are spelt out, including ordinals; i.e. first, second, fifth.

  • Numbers above and including 10 should be expressed as figures: i.e. Six countries agreed to commit 880 peacekeeping troops to the conflict; 10th, 50th.

  • Numbers above 999 should be separated by a comma and not a space: 10,000.


  • References to money should always be expressed as figures: 2, 5,000

  • When writing about currencies that use given prefixes; i.e. AUD, USD, GBP, EUR etc.  

  • Note: There should be a space between the placement of the currency denominator, figure and word; i.e. AUD 24 million, JPY 200,000, CAD 400. 


Percentages, Decimals and Fractions

  • Percentages should be expressed with the symbol ‘%’: ‘approximately 83% of Ethiopians do not have access to electricity’.

  • Decimals should not exceed two decimal points (i.e. 2.34), with the exception of blood alcohol content which is expressed generally in three (i.e. 0.052).

  • Fractions less than one should be spelt out using hyphenation; i.e. one-fourth, five-eighths


Per annum 

  • Figures expressed as per month/year etc. should be spelt out in full; i.e. the plans outlined an installation power of 6 000 Megawatts per annum.



  • The full names of countries are not required where there can be no confusion with a country of a similar name: China. 

  • If there is a risk of misunderstanding, the full name should be used: the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo. 

  • Where countries have made it clear that they wish to be called by a new (or old) name, respect their requests: Côte d’Ivoire and Myanmar.

  • Note: ‘the Netherlands’, not ‘Holland’; ‘Bosnia & Herzegovina’, not ‘Bosnia’; ‘Colombia’, not ‘Columbia’; ‘the people of the United States’ or ‘United States citizens’, not ‘Americans’.

  • Do not use the definite article before Krajina, Lebanon, Piedmont, Punjab, Sudan, Transkei or Ukraine.

People, Titles, Ranks 

  • Titles and ranks are to be kept as short as possible. 

  • Use upper case for ranks and titles when written in conjunction with a name: President Obama.

  • All officeholders when referred to only by their office, not their name, are lower case; i.e. ‘the foreign minister announced today that…’

  • Note: Some titles serve as names and therefore have initials capitalized even when they serve as descriptions: ‘the Archbishop of Canterbury’ and ‘the Dalai Lama’. If you want to describe the office and not the individual, use lower case: ‘the next archbishop of Canterbury will be announced on Friday’. 


Organisations, Conventions, Treaties 

  • Organisations, ministries, departments, treaties, acts, etc. generally take upper case when their full name is used: ‘European Commission’, ‘Arab League’, and ‘Amnesty International’. 

  • A political, economic or religious label formed from a proper name should have a capital: ‘Napoleonic’, ‘Christian’ and ‘Balkanisation’.


Foreign Names, Words/Phrases 

  • Words and phrases from a language other than English are to be italicised:

  • Deng Xiaoping undertook the policy of gaige kaifang (reform and opening up), which saw China’s economy expand to become the second-largest economy in the world.

  • Exception: Words and phrases that have commonly accepted everyday usages in English should not be italicised. As a general rule of thumb, if a word appears in the Macquarie and/or Oxford English dictionaries, then it has such everyday usage: ‘apartheid’, ‘bourgeois’ and ‘coup d’état’.

  • Foreign names should be expressed, as they would be in their respective contexts. For example, Chinese names are expressed with their surname first: Deng Xiaoping.


Inverted Commas 

  • ‘Single’ inverted commas should be used for quotations, turns of phrase, scare quotes, and in any other appropriate situation. 

  • Any quotation or turn of phrase within a quotation should be marked by “double” inverted commas: Ikenberry suggests that ‘the conversion of hegemonic power into institutional strength, the act of “strategic restraint”’ secures the status of the hegemon as the predominant force in establishing international standards.



  • A hyphen is used to (a) create compound words (e.g. anti-aircraft, sixty-six), and (b) to allow a word to be split at the end of a line for neatness in publication. 

  • Several compound words seem to have ambiguous spellings when it comes to hyphens. A common example is ‘well being’ and ‘well-being’. For consistency, go by the spelling in the Oxford English Dictionary.


En-Dash & Em-dash 

  • Dashes have a role distinct to hyphens; they are used to interrupt the flow of a sentence. For Politik, only en-dashes (‘–’ i.e. the width of an ‘n’) and not em-dashes (‘—’ i.e. the width of an ‘m’) are to be used. 

  • En-dashes look much neater and are more common in contemporary publications. A space should be placed on either side of an en-dash: President Putin will not run for re-election at the end of this term – or so he says; All negotiators – with the exception of one or two – approached the talks with positive intentions.

  • Note: dashes should not be used to indicate the difference between figures, full words are required, or the phrase is required to be worded in a way that avoids the use of a dash: new HIV infections have dropped from 3.5 million to 2.5 million; between the 1960s and 1980s, Africa had a reputation for the generous treatment of refugees.



  • Commonly accepted abbreviations

    • i.e. – id est, meaning ‘that is’.

    • e.g. – exempli gratia, meaning ‘for the sake of an example’

    • et al. – note no full stop after ‘et’.

    • etc. – don’t forget the full stop!

  • Subsequent abbreviations: Capitalised phrases or organisations that are to be abbreviated should be spelt out in full in the first instance, and then followed by the abbreviation in parentheses - The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) popularised the concept of ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) in its 2001 report.

  • After the first mention, try not to repeat the abbreviation too often. Write ‘the commission’ rather than ‘the ICISS’. This avoids overuse of capital letters throughout the article and improves readability. There is no need to give the initials of the organisation if it is not referred to again.

  • Exceptions: commonly used and recognisable abbreviations such as CEO, TV, HIV/AIDS do not need to be spelt out in full prior to use.



  • Use of italics should be limited to foreign words where possible. 

  • If you must use italics for emphasis, use it sparingly. 

Capitalisation within text 

  • In addition to all proper nouns, certain other words should be capitalised: Dayton Accords, Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement, Second Intifada

  • If a heading/sub-heading only has two words, capitalise both. Otherwise, only capitalise the first word of a heading, including subheadings within a text.

  • Note: Never capitalise prepositions and conjunctions. Do capitalise proper nouns.

Any further questions, please email