The Conversation


Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: The Conversation



Purpose, objective, or mission: Begun as a project in 2014, The Conversation publishes articles written by Ph.D. candidates and university-affiliated researchers. Their aim is to promote access to high-quality information and to strive for a better understanding of current affairs and complex issues.1

For more in-depth information, take a look at their charter.

While this wiki profile is for The Conversation‘s U.S.-based website, there are additional sites specific to audiences all around the globe.

Target audience: Members of the general public interested in reading high-quality articles based on academic research. Much of this research may not otherwise be accessible to the general public because it may be published in scholarly journals with limited circulation.

Publisher: The Conversation US, Inc.2

Peer reviewed? No. Authors work with editors, who are professional journalists, to craft their articles.

Type: Civilian publication.

Medium: Online.

Content: Articles based on academic studies of varying topics—arts, culture, science, technology, medicine, and many more.

Frequency of publication: New articles published daily.

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines:

Types of contributions accepted: The Conversation focuses on three priority areas:

  • “Timely, evidence-based analysis of issues making the news
  • Articles explaining new research and its significance for a non-expert audience
  • Timeless, plain English ‘explainers’ of complex issues”3

Submission and review process: There are three steps to becoming published: verification of institute, educational history/qualifications and the creation of a website account.4. In conjunction, “to be published by The Conversation you must be currently employed as a researcher or academic with a university or research institution. Ph.D. candidates under supervision by an academic can write for us, but we don’t currently publish articles from Masters students.”5

Editorial tone:  “Plain English” (for “a non-expert audience”) and “evidence-based.”6

The writing style must be professional yet accessible to general readers who are not subject matter experts. A scholarly or academic tone could be off-putting for lay readers.

Style guide used: Unknown.

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

For authors who are are LIS researchers affiliated with an academic institution (MLIS students should keep in mind that they do not qualify), this could be a great outlet for translating scholarly work research for lay audiences and for providing well-informed content on current issues in libraries, online privacy, intellectual freedom, the digital divide, media literacy, and other LIS-oriented topics that would be significant to a non-expert audience. A four-minute video on the benefits of writing for The Conversation is available here.

Before proposing an article, The Conversation‘s editors ask that you do a keyword search to see what has already been published on your topic.7 (Of course, this is good advice for any publication you might hope to write for!) A list of articles on libraries can be found here.


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: This profile is geared towards readers of the U.S.-based site, but The Conversation has websites for readers in Australia, Africa, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Indonesia, as well as an additional “global perspectives” site.

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: The Conversation has a global audience. Specific editions are geared toward readers in specific geographies, but all editions are accessible worldwide.

Reader characteristics: All published articles feature a comments section with lively debates among readers. Thoughtful, well-developed comments are the norm. Anyone can sign up to comment on articles, but full names are required to help maintain a transparent forum. Click here to read about The Conversation’s community standards for readers and commenters.

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: Varied. Authors would need to assume that readers would not be part of the LIS world and would not be familiar with LIS jargon.

Conclusion: Analysis of reader characteristics and their potential impact on authors

From glancing over the reader characteristics mentioned above, you can guarantee that, if published by The Conversation, your article could very well invite a lively debate among commenters from all over the world. Authors will find a higher level of engagement with readers and will be able to see how their audience responds to their work–a feature not usually seen with publication of scholarly articles.

Last updated: September 29, 2020


Show 7 footnotes

  1. “Who We Are,”, accessed March 14, 2018,
  2. ‘Who We Are.”
  3. “Pitch an article idea,, accessed March 20, 2018,
  4. “Become an author,”, accessed March 29, 2018,
  5. “Become an author.”
  6. “Pitch an article idea.”
  7. “Pitch an article idea.”
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