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The UK's only independent think tank devoted to higher education.

You want impact? Write for HEPI

  • 1 February 2019
  • By Nick Hillman

Before Christmas, I tweeted that anyone who wants to write for HEPI should get in touch.

>Have you got strong views on higher education?
>Can you write in plain English?
>Do you want to have an impact on policymakers?

By the end of 2018, we will have published more papers than in any year since we were founded in 2002.

Why not become a HEPI author in 2019?— HEPI (@HEPI_news) November 25, 2018

It turned out this was a little risky and rash because it led to offers from people who know nothing about either higher education or the role of a think tank, which is to stimulate evidence-informed debate in the interests of spreading knowledge and improving policy (in other words, to make people ‘think’). Articles about pet shows fall outside our charitable objectives. Paid-for advertorials do as well.

However, while it sometimes feels like there is no shortage of interesting and important issues to cover, we are always on the look out for interesting new authors.

To this end, we are today publishing our new Style Guide, which explains our output to the uninitiated and is also designed to be helpful to more experienced authors who are serious about writing for us. Getting the writing process right from the start makes life easier for everyone involved in the publishing process, especially authors.

There are many ways to summarise HEPI’s output. Above all, our reports are designed to be clear and concise enough that they can be read by an ignorant-but-intelligent person with a busy role on a single train journey. If we can deliver on that, then we are likely to maximise our impact.

We want as broad a readership as possible. Different people are likely to engage with different reports that we put out, but our key audiences include:

  1. policymakers, such as civil servants and politicians;
  2. staff in higher education institutions, including vice-chancellors and pro-vice-chancellors;
  3. university governors;
  4. students, including students’ union office holders; and
  5. the media and other opinion formers.

HEPI has four main outlets for our research:

  1. blogs, which tend to be around 1,000 words or less in length, and which are circulated electronically to everyone who has signed up for email updates;
  2. Policy Notes, which tend to be between 1,000 and 3,000 words;
  3. blue books, which are full-length analytical publications of between 6,000 and 10,000 words; and
  4. Occasional Papers, which are also full-length evidence-based publications but are more polemical than blue books.

All our output is made freely available on our website. It is designed to serve a number of purposes, including:

  • increasing knowledge;
  • bringing together existing knowledge as a way of exploring new policy options;
  • putting other countries’ higher education systems under the spotlight to see what lessons there are for the UK;
  • providing a space for opinion pieces by people with long experience working in higher education; and
  • offering a guide for non-experts on topical and tricky issues.

All these points and more are covered in the new Style Guide, which we hope may serve as a useful guide for people writing for other organisations too.

If you’re interested in knowing more, do take a look and then get in touch via [email protected].

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