- I work in the defence or security industry. What can Shield offer me?
- I’m an experienced author and/or an academic. I’ve been published several times. What can Shield offer me?
- What kind of ideas should I pitch to Shield?
- Why haven’t you published my work yet?
- I have a concern, a complaint or a question that isn’t answered here. What should I do?
New author FAQ’s:
- Why do you have a house style and a submission checklist?
- Why do I have to provide an image?
- Why are you editing my work?
- How long will the editing process take?
1. I work in the defence or security industry. What can Shield offer me?
Shield values your expertise. Our readers are keen to understand more about the defence and security industry, particularly its current challenges, and areas of research that you would like to see investigated. As our readership develops, academics may decide to take these research projects on, generating information that may help you in your job.
Your editor will not expect fancy academic language. You can write in your own voice about a topic that interests you, or that you are an expert on. You probably know most of what you need to know already – you just have to put pen to paper.
It’s a good idea to contact us before you start, to pitch your idea. Just a few sentences outlining what you’ll be writing about, and the overall argument (the point that you want to make to readers), will be sufficient.
2. I’m an experienced author and/or an academic. I’ve been published several times. What can Shield offer me?
Shield is a small, student-run publication, which means we can be flexible and responsive. We offer you a dedicated editor who will be sympathetic to your writing style. Shield aims to complete each editing round within one week, and your editor will always keep you informed of the date by which you will next hear back from us.
We aim to keep the entire editing process to no more than one month. If the changes required are more minimal, we can publish even more quickly.
The main advantage of writing an article for Shield is the fast publication time. Writing a blog article is a relatively quick process that allows you to develop and crystallise your thoughts on a potential research project or journal article.
As our readership develops, we hope that Shield will become a space for debate and input on each other’s ideas. Our aim is that interaction with our readers can become a useful tool in the development of your thinking – provoking new ideas or refining existing ones. As more people who work in the defence and security industry join, it is our hope that their ideas and input may generate new research projects for your consideration.
3. What kind of ideas should I pitch to Shield?
Shield is interested in anything that relates to defence and security, broadly defined. Our emphasis is largely on the contemporary world, but historical articles can be suitable, particularly where they draw out lessons learnt and apply them to a current situation.
You should be aware that the editing process will probably take at least two to three weeks, so unless your article has been produced to an exceptionally high standard (and can therefore be published quickly), it may be wise not to write on very time-sensitive topics.
In general, if an article is superseded by the news while the editing process is ongoing, we are comfortable publishing it (we will merely include a note stating the date that the article was written).
If, despite this, you want to write about a time-sensitive issue, you should get in contact first. We’ll arrange a phone call and can discuss the feasibility of this (including the availability of our editors to work on something fast-moving).
4. Why haven’t you published my work yet?
Probably because it’s going through the editing process. If it’s out of editing, and you’ve received confirmation that it will be published soon, it’s probably because we try to leave about one week in between blog articles (we might have several in a queue to be published). By this point in the process, you’ll have at least one email address for us, so please just drop us a line and ask when your article is likely to be published.
5. I have a concern, a complaint or a question that isn’t answered here. What should I do?
Please get in touch and we’ll do our best to help. The details you fill out on our contact form will be sent to our Managing Editor, Ashley Ryan. She will respond to you from a real email address.
*** New author FAQs ***
1. Why do you have a house style and a submission checklist?
We ask that authors adhere to our house style and submission checklist to provide some consistency to Shield articles. We do this in the hope that readers will therefore have a more enjoyable experience (and perhaps even recommend Shield to their friends!). Ultimately, a happy readership means that more people will see your work – a win-win. If there’s something specific that concerns you, please get in contact. We’re open to making reasonable changes if we can see a rationale for it.
2. Why do I have to provide an image?
Shield is a student-run organisation staffed by volunteers. Our staff, who are engaged in demanding academic programmes, are giving up their free time to edit, publish and promote your article. The team volunteer to do this not only because it will look great on their CV, but because they are genuinely learning and developing their professional skillset (whether that be in editing or social media management). Doing a keyword search for an image isn’t something that will help our staff learn. So, we respectfully ask that all authors provide a suitable image. Several sources of free images are provided on the submissions checklist.
3. Why are you editing my work?
It is normal for work to be edited prior to being published (in any publication). New authors should note that every article published on Shield has gone through the editing process. The fact that your work requires editing is not a judgement on the quality of your work. If we didn’t think it was of sufficient quality to publish, it wouldn’t have been accepted. We only edit articles we intend to publish.
Our editors aim to be sympathetic to your writing style. Their job is to highlight any necessary corrections to the structure, argument and content of your article (as well as corrections to spelling and grammar).
Of course, it’s frustrating when you open a document to see a large number of changes need to be made (and after all the hard work you put in!). It’s completely natural to feel momentary disappointment or frustration. We’ve all been there – but don’t give up. Instead, step back and get some perspective. I like to make a cup of tea or take a few deep breaths.
When you read through the document, you will probably realise that most changes are relatively minor. It is your responsibility to make the requested changes (they might be made using Track Changes, or by inserting a Comment). If you return the document to the editor with any outstanding Track Changes, they will presume that you agree to all their proposed changes. Always try to get the revised document back to the editor as soon as possible.
Even the best writers will see their work benefit when it is edited to make it clearer and more compelling. Please know that the editor is there to make you look good. They will work with you to polish your work and make it the best it can be.
4. How long will the editing process take?
At most academic publications, work is peer-reviewed and edited in a process that can take many months. Submissions are not guaranteed to be accepted, even after considerable time investment on the author’s part.
The editing process for most blogs (in my personal experience of getting published) lasts an absolute minimum of three weeks – and is often four weeks or more. Shield aims to be responsive but is no exception to the rule. After all, editing takes time, and all our staff are volunteers with academic commitments of their own.
When you are allocated an editor, you should expect them to email you with a date by which they will get back to you with any changes. If you do not receive this email, or if they fail to get back to you by the agreed date, please contact us.
Most Shield articles go through a minimum of two or three editing rounds. The best way to make the editing process (relatively) quick is to make the changes that the editor requests and return the work to them as soon as possible.