Writing for Information Matters

Information Matters is a digital-only publication for information science. We publish translational reports, news, reviews, columns, and features of the highest standards. Our publication serves to inform the public, industry professionals, educational practitioners, and policymakers on information science issues of critical importance to a global public audience free of charge.

Already familiar with the requirements of writing an article for Information Matters? Please submit here. If not, please read on.

All articles written for Information Matters communicate the discipline of information science to an intelligent, educated lay reader. We write about information science in a highly informative and authoritative manner, but for a generalist audience.

If you would like to submit an article for publication in Information Matters, please see this recent article as one example of an ideal IM article, and please note these requirements for your article:

  • About 1000 words total – please trim your article to around this length if needed.
  • Please do not use formal, academic-style citation methods (such as APA, MLA, Chicago, footnotes or endnotes) within the text, and do not present a list of references/works cited at the end of the article. Instead, use text links within your writing which point to any supporting texts you wish the reader to reach. An example from a recent IM article: “Fortunately, I have come across some solutions within Emanuel’s article on book publishing. Here are a few of them…” Please feel free to use as many links as you like!
  • Please do not use academic-style section headers such as “Abstract,” “Introduction,” “Recommendations,” “Conclusion.” Ideally, present your article without sections in about 5 to 6 paragraphs of 1000 words total, providing transitions between paragraphs. If section headers are necessary, please use header titles which clearly announce the topic discussed in the section: for example, in this article there’s a section heading “The Place of Books in Incentive and Tenure Systems”.
  • An elevated conversational tone, intended for an educated but non-expert reader who seeks to know more about the information science subject or topic.
  • Avoid technical jargon. Assume the reader has little or no expert knowledge.


Further recommendations for a good, accessible writeup 

Consider your audience. Information Matters is an online platform with digital content and broad distribution. Ideally, it is read by anyone and everyone. Our readers are not just those who work in the field of information science and technology, but anyone who may be interested in learning about topics, issues, and solutions in this space. We recommend that you pitch your writing’s vocabulary and sentence complexity for a high-school educated reader. For this non-expert reader, be careful to boil down complex subject matter to the basics, avoid jargon, and use plain language instead of technical language. Write short sentences with an average of 15 to 25 words each. Work with plain, conversational language, and tend toward a more simple way to say it: “use” instead of “utilize”; “try” instead of “endeavor”; “analyze” instead of “conduct an analysis”; “ready” instead of “prepared to implement the necessary steps required.” Use an active voice whenever possible: “She delivered the results” instead of “The results were delivered by her.”

You may want to write the article’s headline first. Ideally, the headline works as an efficient, active summary of the essentials of your article. It telegraphs what your reader will get out of reading your article. And, writing the headline may help focus the article’s mission for you, the writer. Journalists talk about the headline as a promise to the reader, and the article delivers that promise. For example: “How One Online Knowledge Community Made Us Better,” “Data Reuse: What Everyone Needs to Understand.” A headline may also raise questions which may or may not be answered, or create intrigue: “The Case of the Disappearing School Libraries,” “Can Databases Save the World?”

Next, you could make a rough plan or notes for five paragraphs of 100 to 200 words each. In the rough plan, answer the article topic’s fundamental questions: Who, what, where, when, why, and how? To get the reader’s attention immediately, you may want to write about your most crucial points in your first two paragraphs, and then explore less important items after that. For your article planning, make sure to ask: What is the takeaway? What’s the essential knowledge you want the reader to have by the end of the article? Which may lead to further questions you may want to answer in your article: What did the reader learn that is new? What is different? What has not been considered? What should be explored next? What gets solved? What doesn’t?

Your first paragraph is important. It captures the reader’s interest, defines what is important, and gets to the point you want to make. Some questions to ask yourself about your headline and first paragraph: Do they inspire you yourself to keep reading more? Did you react? (Were you happy, sad, curious, or otherwise?) Are you hooked? Do you care and want to know more?

A Template for an IM Post

While there are many ways one could write for IM, here is one template that we have found to be quite successful.


Something that is free of jargons and not rooted in any particular discipline. It needs to catch an average reader’s attention.

First paragraph

  • Hook: A sentence or two that intrigues an average reader and gets them in for reading the rest of the story. For example, if I’m writing a post on recommender systems and how AI is causing biases in those systems, I could start with “Have you ever seen an ad on a site based on what you had browsed the day or the week before? How did that site know that you were interested in buying running shoes?” As you can see, this doesn’t say anything about recommender systems, AI, or any other technical things. It also provides an everyday life scenario that almost anyone can recognize with. This allows an average reader to connect with the story.
  • General explanation: Now, provide a general explanation of what or why this is. For instance, I could write, “This phenomenon is possible due to different sites, services, and apps sharing details about you and your browsing behavior. This behavior is then used by AI-driven recommender systems to track you and provide you relevant recommendations.” As you can see, now we have introduced those concepts that we want to talk about in details. But at this point, we are not going into those details. They will come in second, third paragraphs. At this point, we want to make sure we keep the reader with us.
  • Invite to a journey: It’s time to get the reader in for a journey. Write a sentence or two to finish up this paragraph. I may say, “These recommendation systems are prone to stereotyping and perpetuating biases. How? Well, we studied this for a population of e-commerce shoppers. Join us to learn more about what we discovered.”


Main story (2-4 paragraphs)

  • Tell the story: In the next 2-4 paragraphs, explain what you did and found. Make sure your tone is friendly and accessible. Don’t use APA or any other kind of citations. Instead, provide links. If you have graphs, charts, or other figures, that’s great. 


Ending paragraph

  • Parting thoughts or call for action: Finish your post with the paragraph that summarizes the story you just told and provide some thoughts or call for action that can stay with the reader.

What NOT to Do

  • Typical journal-style citations.
  • Long sentences or paragraphs.
  • Section headings.


What to Do

  • Links to relevant past and present works. In fact, drop lots of links.
  • Accessible, jargon-free language.
  • Strong first paragraph to draw a reader in and strong last paragraph to leave the reader with something to keep thinking about.


Note that any submission that does not meet these expectations may be rejected or returned for a revision.