Editorial Guidelines for SPAGN Blog
1. The Blog’s Mission / Slogan
The purpose of the SPAGN Blog is to cover topics of interest to the wider SPAGN community, with the aim of conveying information, sharing experiences and viewpoints, and strengthening the bonds of the SPAGN community.
Slogans: “Strengthening the international sarcoma community by sharing knowledge and experience” and “Building a Global Community”
2. Target Audience
- Patient advocates of SPAGN member groups
- Sarcoma patients and caregivers
- Members of the medical community treating sarcoma patients
3. Topics and Content
The SPAGN Blog is open for a wide range of topics. Submissions that deal with topics of interest to any/all of the target groups are welcome. Here is a partial list of general topic areas:
- SPAGN News and Announcements
- Advocacy Work
- Sarcoma News
- Profiles of Member Groups / Individuals
- Literature Review
- Living with Sarcoma: Personal Accounts and Viewpoints
- Hot Topics and Burning Issues
All submissions should be in alignment with SPAGN principles and meet the quality
- Subject matter must be relevant and topical
- Text must be accessible and layperson-friendly
- Text must be non-discriminatory and non-political
- Personal viewpoints may be expressed, but should be supported by evidence
- Any persons named in the blog must be notified of this in advance and agree to being named
- Content must be accurate (i.e., accurately reflect source material)
- References and links to sources must be included
Since the audience of the blog is mixed and includes non-experts, care must be taken to provide the background information necessary for laypersons to understand the content presented. When technical terms are used, these must be explained briefly.
While the Editorial Team is open to blog text submissions from SPAGN members and nonmembers alike, they will use their judgment in deciding whether a text is appropriate and in alignment with the aims of the blog, thus suitable for publication.
4. Topic Submission / Review and Editing Process
- Proposal: Authors should send the blog editors a topic proposal or an outline before submitting their draft to ensure that each post is aligned with the SPAGN Blog’s content goals. The proposal should be around 100-200 words long. Proposals will be screened and approved or not approved by the Editorial Board. Authors will then be invited to prepare a full draft of their proposed text. However, acceptance of a proposal does not constitute an obligation on the part of the Editorial Team to Editing process*:
- Author submits text
- SPAGN editor makes corrections/suggests changes and sends text back to author
- Author re-submits edited and reworked text
- SPAGN editor may then make a limited number of final edits to the text.
- Key words: Authors are requested to provide a list of key words connected to their text.
- Deadline: The submission deadline will be agreed upon by the blog author and the editors.
5. Reposting Policy
The SPAGN blog accepts reposts of content from other websites. Blog authors may repost
content on their own blogs or their organization’s website after posting on the SPAGN blog
and should include a link back to the SPAGN blog. Blog authors are welcome to promote the
repost on social media but must mention the SPAGN blog.
6. Linking Policy
SPAGN bloggers are encouraged to include links to educational content that helps teach the reader more about the topic at hand. References to the scientific literature (where appropriate) reinforce the credibility of the text. References to material cited should be in the form of links in the text and not as footnotes.
7. Photos / Videos
The use of photos is strongly encouraged. If possible, authors should provide 1-3 photos with their text. They can use their own photos or photos from Flickr Creative Commons or Usplash, for example. If desired, an author can send a link to a short video on YouTube or submit an Mp4 file to accompany their text. These videos should not be longer than approximately 3 minutes.
Consent: Authors must indicate on the submission form that they have received consent to use a photo from the copyright holder of a photo and/or from any persons depicted in a photo.
Copyright: When providing their own photos, authors should give SPAGN the authorization to use the photos. When using photos from stock websites, they must acknowledge the copyright. The same copyright rules apply to video footage.
Captions: Photos should always be accompanied by captions: What, where, who, when? A photograph must also have the name of photographer or copyright acknowledgement.
8. Blog Templates
A set of simple blog templates is available (upon request) to help authors decide on the type of blog text they want to write and to structure their text in accordance with general expectations of that text type. It is important to note that the templates are merely helpful suggestions provided for guidance, not requirements. Authors are welcome to opt for personal, uniquely structured texts.
9. Format, Structure, Word Count
Format and Structure:
- Opening: At the beginning of a post, the author should consider choosing one of the two types of “lede” or opening.
- A summary lede delivers all the essential points of the text right away, immediately giving the reader everything they need to know in the introduction. Jumps links are used to connect points listed in the opening to the corresponding sections later in the text.
- A feature lede sets the scene, weaves a narrative, and delivers the information to the reader more in the style of a story or anecdote first before addressing the main points; it can appeal to a reader’s emotions in order to hook them into the subject matter. A summary + jump links can then follow the feature lede.
- Sentences: In the interest of readability, sentences should generally be short. Ideally, the text will have a variety of sentence lengths.
- Paragraphs: Texts should be formatted in relatively short paragraphs.
- Subheadings: Subheadings are necessary and help to structure the text. While the subheadings should reflect the content of the section, they should also be “catchy” and “attractive”. Jump links in the introduction will lead the reader to the subheadings.
- Bullet points: Bullet points should be used where possible, as they make blog texts easier to read.
- Abbreviations: Abbreviations (e.g., for organizations) can be used, but must be spelled out in parentheses after the first use of the abbreviation.
- Final questions: If the writer wants to elicit responses in the comment section, the writer can end the text with a question or questions or invite readers to express their views.
- Length: Texts should be around 1000 words long. Both somewhat shorter and somewhat longer texts -- from 800 to 2000 words – will be accepted under certain circumstances; however, such cases must be approved in advance by the editorial team. (Please note that recent studies show that search engines prefer longer blogs of around 1300 words.)
- Spelling: Writers are encouraged to use the spelling, word choice, and grammar conventions of their chosen variety of English; this means that all varieties of English (e.g., UK, US, Indian, Australian, Nigerian, etc.) are welcome. Submissions will be edited for consistency in this regard.
10. Style, Voice and Tone
Since the SPAGN blog will cover a range of topics, the tone and style of each blog post should be appropriate to the subject matter and to the intended audience. In personal accounts, profiles, and opinion pieces, for example, the tone should be friendly, relatable, honest, even occasionally humorous. A writing style similar to spoken style will often be appropriate.
In blog texts dealing with advocacy topics, the writer will want to come across as supportive and approachable, yet knowledgeable. This means that the “I” perspective and the use of features of spoken language are encouraged where appropriate.
When dealing with scientific and medical topics, the writer wants to convey reliability, accuracy and objectivity. To this end, the writer should use scientific/medical terminology and objective language with care. Opinions about scientific or medical topics are welcome, but these opinions should be clearly marked as such. The writer should bear in mind that the SPAGN blog should always be enjoyable for the reader, no matter the topic.
11. Cautionary statement
Caution: This blog intends to provide users with information to help them better understand their health, diagnosed conditions, and the current range of approaches related to cancer treatment, prevention, screening, and supportive care, and to facilitate communication with personal doctors. The information provided should not give any impression of constituting or substituting professional medical advice, nor imply an endorsement of any firms, commercial products or services.
*Once the blog has been established, authors can submit texts in their own language.